Some years ago, back home in Baltimore for the holidays, I caught up with an old friend.
Bill had a dilemma at the time.
“This gets complicated, this live overseas lifestyle,” he told me. “We’ve been living abroad for the better part of two decades. Now the children are all grown, and they’re choosing to settle Stateside. As I get older, I realize that what matters most to me is being near them. So we’re working now to organize a life that allows that.
“Another funny thing I’ve realized lately,” he added. “I enjoy being back here in Maryland. Of all the places in all the world where I could be, I’m comfortable here.”
I share this anecdote today because it reminds me of two important lessons.
You can never predict how your overseas adventure will play out.
When I left Baltimore behind 22 years ago, bound for Waterford, Ireland, I had no idea where that single step might lead. No idea that seven years later I would swap Waterford for Paris… and then Paris for Panama City.
Had I tried to plan for the long term, I may never have left home in the first place. Looking too far into the future can be overwhelming. There’s a certain leap of faith involved in taking that first step… and then being willing to let it take you where it takes you.
Of course, it’s a different path for each of us…
Unlike Bill, it looks like I won’t be basing my life around Baltimore… or anyplace in the United States… any time soon. As things are turning out, both my kids have fully embraced the adventure of a life overseas…
Kat, as you know, relocated from Panama City to Paris last year where she and Harry have set up home and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby daughter. I count myself lucky to be able to base myself here in the City of Light for the next few months to spend time with my first grandchild.
Meantime, Jack continues his studies at university in Shanghai. For years, China had been on my list of places to visit. Now, thanks to Jack’s move, Lief and I have a reason to spend a little time in this part of the world… adding a new layer of contrast to our lives, which, before Jack took us to Asia, had been diversified between Latin America and Europe.
You really don’t know how things will play out…
Luckily, for someone like me—who gets restless being in the same spot too long—my global adventure shows no signs of slowing down.
But, 5 or 10 years from now, who knows how things might change?
Which brings me to my second important point for today…
Get out there while and when you can.
If you’re serious about moving overseas, now is the time to take action… before circumstances conspire against you.
For Bill—and other friends and colleagues who have lived overseas over the years—personal circumstances have called them back to the United States.
Sometimes it’s children and grandchildren… sometimes aging parents… sometimes personal health reasons… sometimes just the lure of home comforts.
And it’s entirely natural to want to go home. As I’ve said, it could happen to me at some point in the future.
But, I guarantee you, by spending some years—even one year—overseas, your life will be richer for the experience. You’ll not only get to appreciate a new culture… but you’ll appreciate more things about your own home, too.
That has certainly been the case with me and Baltimore.
More than two decades ago, I couldn’t wait to get out of B-more. I’d dreamed of living in Europe since I was a young girl…
Today, I find myself admiring Baltimore’s quirks. This city is one of the most historic in the country. It boasts some of the best architecture you’ll find anywhere in the United States plus a lively harbor and a great baseball stadium. I look forward now to any chance to spend a little time back home, soaking up the familiar.
So I’m excited to be hosting this year’s Retire Overseas Conference in my hometown… to be returning to the place where my own journey began… with the entire far-flung Live and Invest Overseas team in tow…
I’m looking forward to introducing my LIOS team to Baltimore… and I’d love to show it off for you, too.
If you’d like help deciding where to begin your own adventure… and the opportunity to pick the brains of hundreds who’ve gone before you… then I hope you’ll join me for our biggest event of the year, taking place Sept. 23-25 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Over three days together, my global team of experts and expats will introduce you to your top 14 options for living the best lifestyle overseas—on a retiree’s budget—as well as tackling the big-picture issues that may be keeping you awake at night… like whether you’ll need to learn a new language… your best options for health insurance (and affordable, quality health care)… how to manage your banking… what you should bring with you (and the best way to ship it)… how to make new friends… and so much more…
I very much hope to meet you there.