Expats & Finding Your Life

Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?

Maybe you are perfectly content where you currently are. Three of my friends and a cousin weren’t. Recently they moved away from Los Angeles. I feel the holes they have left behind as they start anew in California’s Central Coast, Mexico, and Portland.

If you could work or retire in the city, country, or atoll of your heart’s desire, and plop your family, friends, and loved ones in a suitcase and take ’em along, what would the stamp in your passport (and visa) look like if your ideal new home is in fact across a border or ocean?

And if you can’t take them along, what is the emotional price to pay for to re-rooting? That is the big question that Expats must answer before making the leap into a new life, likely a place where you’ll end up boosting Expedia’s stock and earning lots of points on your AmEx card.

This desire to relocate stems from more than just wanderlust. It is born from the longing to live in the vortex of energy of a place that charges the mind, body, and spirit. A feeling I try to emulate while walking the dog in my home city, Los Angeles, or exploring new neighborhoods there. Sometimes I am successful and other times not so much. I have often craved, and sought that kind of energy from life in LA.

I wonder, could I abandon practical reason and logic to lay a new foundation?  Could I even breathe without being near to my grown children, my anchors, who are a few minutes or a couple of states away? My kids are a safe harbor of comfort and love. I have a grand-daughter. How could I possibly not be woven into her daily life? Or my sister’s and mother’s. And my friends who are extended family. And, and, and. How in the world to not be actively engaged in their lives? This is the utmost of obstacles in the course of big hairy hurdles.

The bug was planted forty years ago when I was a student in Madrid. Its easy, apart from aforementioned big hairy obstacles, to imagine spending the rest of my life here. The pace and culture suit me well. The possibilities to enhance knowledge are endless; classes in art and cooking, visits to the Prado, better fluency in Spanish, study history though architecture. And the cost of living is less expensive. Madrid offers me a rich quality of life.

The sacrifices seem unsurmountable. How deeply must someone crave change in order to reinvent as an Expat? It’s the desire for growth and challenge that comes with change, that pulls me closer to this idea, to even be able to entertain it.

And, to complicate the matter (or make it easier), what if, just what if, you find the person you’ve been asking and searching for, in this place? What if you really find love? Not vacation love, or a flash relationship, but the real deal. I am well versed on bi-coastal relationships, but am a novice regarding the concept of a bi-continental one.

The Expat I am contemplating, pondering, to one day become is not running from life as it is, but rather calmly walking towards a different one – beckoned, seduced, gently pushed forward by passion, and some certainty in my heart that this feels so right.

I don’t have to figure it out now. It will unfold in time.  And when that day does come, I’ll make sure to have a guest bedroom.

So, where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?  I’d love to hear from you!

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