Your parameters for moving abroad
Upon deciding you will finally leave your moribund Western country behind and having figured out how to do this, another inevitable question arises:
Where to go?
The world’s a big place once you start to look past your own horizon, and there certainly are a great number of choices.
So many, in fact, that you could be overwhelmed at the onset and become a victim of “paralysis by analysis”.
You might fall into one of two categories.
Either you feel like there are too many choices, too many potential new and exciting countries to choose from, too many opportunities – or you might feel that nowhere is good enough, that there aren’t any good choices at all.
With regards to the first category, many countries will not even “make the cut” once you start to look at them more closely.
The world is a big place, and there are roughly 200 countries.
This massive pool can easily be weeded down to a more manageable 30-ish, once you start to really apply some basic criteria.
And on the other hand, if you feel that there aren’t any awesome options out there, I can honestly tell you that you are most likely correct.
There are no amazing countries to live in right now, if you take all factors into consideration.
Every country sucks to some degree, and you shouldn’t be looking for a special unicorn, the perfect place to live, because it does not exist.
The best you can do is find the least bad country to live in for you, the country that checks most of your boxes, and then do your best to make it work.
You can always find multiple glaring flaws with every single country in the world.
There is no Utopia.
You have to accept that you will need to compromise about some things.
Your personal parameters
What you have to do in both of these scenarios is set up your personal parameters, and then apply them to the list of eligible countries.
Parameters in this context are simply your Haves and your Wants:
- Haves is a list of your assets and your limitations.
Your advantages and your disadvantages.
Examples would be your age, your risk-tolerance, some kind of illness, your income, ties to friends/family, any actual assets like real estate, how well you can adapt to another culture, whether you can (and want to) learn another language, and so on.
This basically describes your current situation and the mental and physical baggage you carry around.
And unless you’re a go-with-the-flow 18-year old, you’ll almost certainly have a lot of assets and limitations making up your Haves-list.
- Wants, on the other hand, is rather obviously a list of what you want in life, your absolute requirements for happiness.
Examples here could be a sunny climate, cheap cost of living, the possibility of sex with younger women and/or men, proximity to the beach or mountains, the ability of natives to communicate in English, and so on.
Let’s take a fictional character named Bob as a simple example.
Haves: Bob is an overweight, 40-year old, newly divorced, self-employed (in an online business) American man without children.
Bob can only speak English and has neither interest in, nor aptitude for, learning another language.
His assets are the fact that he is single and self-employed.
His limitations are his weight and the fact that he can only get by in English.
In spite of his limitations, Bob’s assets are far more important in the realm of escaping the West, and he can honestly move to nearly anywhere he likes.
Wants: Bob wants to live in a sunny country, where he can experience an easy lifestyle by just working part-time on his own business, and relax on the beach for most of the time. He’s really into Latina women and wants to live in a country full of them.
If we put all of these Wants together, we can immediately rule out a lot of countries.
The United States, Canada, Australia and Europe are gone by default, as are the Middle East, Africa, or any northern country like Russia.
A heavy preference for Latina women makes Latin America the obvious choice for Bob.
Moreover, Bob wants to live near the beach, so that leaves only a few eligible countries, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, Panama, Brazil, Mexico and Peru.
(I know there are more, this is just an example)
Depending on Bob’s income, Panama and Uruguay might not be the best options, as they are generally more expensive than the other countries in this list.
Peruvian and Chilean women often do not have the standard “Latina look”, so those countries can be crossed off as well.
This leaves Bob with a choice between Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico.
However, Bob does not speak Spanish or Portuguese, which wouldn’t immediately be an issue, depending on which specific city he decides to move to, but in any case the language barrier could start to be a major hurdle and pain in Bob’s considerable ass, over time.
This leaves Bob with these options:
- Learn Spanish and move to Colombia, Ecuador or Mexico
- Learn Portuguese and move to Brazil
- Increase his income and go to Panama or Uruguay
- Do not learn another language and try to get by with just English, limiting his social life rather severely
- Ease up on his requirement for strictly Latina women and look towards countries where English is more widely spoken, such as the Philippines, which also has tanned women with black hair
As you can see, even for someone with relatively straightforward Haves and Wants, Bob will still have to compromise in some way.
I will repeat it once more:
Do not look for, or expect to find, a perfect country. It does not exist.
There will be things in every country that you do not like.
You might not see them at first, but after a while they will definitely start to pop up.
You’re going to have to accept them, as they are the price you pay for being free of the West.
But as I’ve discussed in other articles, you still come out ahead by a lot because you gain so much more by leaving the Western world.
Simply set your parameters, find a place that meets them, and then go check it out and experience that country.
If you find your Wants are sufficiently covered and you did not have to compromise too much, you’ve found a potential new home.
If they aren’t, consider compromising in some way, or trying out another country.
While you could certainly move to pretty much any country you want, barring oddballs such as North Korea and Sentinel Island, applying your criteria to all of them without any prior filtering will take a long time.
To make this process easier, I’ve got many articles on this website talking about specific countries.
I give some general information, talk about the requirements, the cost of living, advantages and disadvantages.
In addition, I provide each country with a score, based on 7 factors (climate, level of English, safety, cost of living, visa situation, taxes on international income, and economic growth).
The highest score any country has attained so far is Paraguay with 84%, and most other options I talk about here have scores between 60 and 80%.
In comparison, the US scores a measly 53% when those 7 factors are applied to it!
This system isn’t perfect by any means, but I find that it does give you some indication of which countries are great options, and which are shitholes.
Here’s an overview of the countries I’ve talked about so far:
- Paraguay (8.4/10)
- Georgia (8.2/10)
- Armenia (8/10)
- Belize (7.7/10)
- Panama (7.7/10)
- Singapore (7.6/10)
- Uruguay (7.6/10)
- The Bahamas (7.6/10)
- Hong Kong (7.5/10)
- Philippines (7.4/10)
- Malaysia (7.4/10)
- India (7.4/10)
- United Arab Emirates (7.3/10)
- Peru (7.2/10)
- Vietnam (7.2/10)
- Indonesia (7.2/10)
- Thailand (6.8/10)
- Colombia (6.7/10)
- Japan (6.3/10)
To conclude, I’ll share my list of Haves and Wants:
- Self-employed, location independent income
- A few young children
- Can speak multiple languages, able and open to learn more if needed
- Still young (under 35)
- No debt
- No significant ties to my birth nation
- High capacity for adapting to new situations
- Sunny weather
- A relatively safe country, and I realize that many Western nations are in fact more dangerous than several “third” world countries
- Low cost of living
- Attractive women (I’m not very picky, so plenty of options)
- Opportunities to invest in real estate
- Open to foreigners
- English or Spanish can be used to communicate with most people
- Possibility to open a bank account
- Relatively painless visa-process
These parameters leave me with quite a few options, and because I’m pretty flexible with my Wants, I can move to pretty much anywhere I desire.
I’m currently living in the Philippines, and I chose this country for a few reasons:
- It’s very hot here, with many days of sunshine. I like sunshine, it makes me happy
- It has plenty of beautiful nature, especially beaches, clear oceans and underwater diving spots
- The people are generally very nice, I honestly have never had any really unpleasant encounters in over half a decade of living here
- It’s a second to third-world country, and it’s very cheap. My monthly expenses are roughly half of what they were in the West, despite an increase in lifestyle
- English is widely spoken here. Nearly every young person can speak it to a higher degree, and at least in the bigger cities, you’d really have to try to find someone you cannot converse with at a basic level
- Foreign men enjoy an elevated status in the eyes of many women
Those factors were very important to me before moving here. I had previously already spent a few months touring the country, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
That being said, I was also aware of several large flaws:
- It’s a very religious and superstitious country. I follow a philosophy of personal freedom where everyone can do or believe whatever the fuck they want, as long as it stays within the personal realm and does not hinder others or society at large. But unfortunately, in this country religion and superstition have several disastrous side-effects, most commonly the retardation of general education and society at large, and Islamic terror in some parts of the country
- It’s TOO hot here. The temperature by itself is acceptable, but the humidity is what makes it truly a pain in the ass. If you go outside when the sun is up, you can expect to be sweaty within minutes. This really hampers the activities you can do during the day. Going to the beach or taking a trip on a boat is really enjoyable, but if you’re white like me, you’ll get sun burn– even after repeated applications of sunscreen with a factor of 80
- Education is generally substandard, so that means that intelligent and educated people are pretty rare. I’ve met quite a few, but if you compare that to the hundreds upon hundreds of people I’ve met so far, this is a really small percentage. This also means that if you want to settle down here and have children, you’re going to have to keep a close eye on the things they teach your children in school
- Corruption is rampant and pervades every layer of society. The president is corrupt, senators take bribes, the healthcare system went broke because the managers stole the funds, you have to purchase a few items before you are granted your diploma in school, and so on
- Drugs are not only illegal here, possession is punished rather harshly. If you think the US has a strict War on Drugs, you should see what the assholes in charge of this country do to people who sell some cannabis. The ones that get thrown in jail for life are the lucky ones, many just get shot
- It’s generally a third-world country, so random blackouts occur, the internet is of subpar quality, infrastructure is often of laughable quality. It’s infrequent to walk around big cities and not see something broken or under repair
- Natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons happen sporadically
- Diseases like malaria and dengue exist, and while your odds of getting them are very low (even negligible), you do have to keep in mind that in any case mosquitoes are prevalent, disease-carrying or not
Now, except from it being too hot here, these factors do not overly impact my daily life at all.
The occasional earthquake loses its scare-factor after the 4th or 5th time, I see corruption as a surcharge for paying so little for everything else (and in any case it doesn’t affect me directly), and I don’t do drugs so on a practical level it does not bother me (on a moral level, however, I am disgusted with such a policy).
Anyway, my intention here is not to rag on the Philippines too much, because I definitely could go on for awhile.
The point is that, even with all those downsides, it’s still a pretty great place to live.
For me, the pros outweigh the cons.
For you, they might not.
And that’s okay, because there are dozens of other suitable countries where you can move to.
Once I get tired of this country, I certainly plan to just move to another one that meets my criteria.
Currently I’m setting my sights on Latin America, most likely Paraguay or Uruguay.
Other countries in Asia such as Vietnam are also considered, for various purposes such as purchasing real estate and other assets.
If you have a location independent international income, you are truly a citizen of the world, and all you have to do is apply your parameters to the list of decent countries, and hop on a plane.
The amount of freedom this brings is massive, so I would advise you to really start thinking about moving away, because escaping the West might not always be possible in the future (as Australians and Canadians have been discovering in the last few years).
Don’t delay this too much. Get your shit in order, pack your bags, and get the fuck out.