If Your Friends Don’t Understand, Maybe You Need New Friends
“Why don’t I own a four-bedroom, two-story country home in my native Normandy? What’s wrong with me?”
You see, in Paris for a whole month, I’d spent a lot of time catching up with friends. And, dinner after dinner, it was pretty much the same story…
Mes amis français were all either:
Buying their dream house—that happened to be two streets away from their parents’ nest… or…
After a new job in province (basically, anywhere outside Paris) they were slowing down their careers for extra bedrooms and/or bigger back yards.
“What about you, Val?” they’d eventually ask.
“No yard,” I confessed, “but I do get to visit a new travel destination every month.”
“No extra bedroom,” I continued, “but I do have two oceans. It’s a tough decision sometimes whether to spend the weekend surfing in the Pacific or stand-up paddling in the Caribbean.”
Looks of incomprehension all around.
Investing in a safe, steady, surprise-less future in France seems to be the popular choice among my peers.
Hence the minor panic on my long haul back to Panama. Had I made the wrong choice?
Luckily this doubt didn’t last any longer on my mind than the souvenir bottle of Bordeaux sat on my Panama kitchen table.
During the next few days, between coffee breaks with my work colleagues and over beer with friends, I was updated on the many waves I’d missed… and briefed on the next unexplored beach we’d be heading to that weekend.
That’s when I realized I was home.
And, I realized, it wasn’t the beaches I’d missed the most… or the sun… or even the fresh (and unbelievably cheap) fruit and seafood I live on in Panama…
I’d missed my Panama family.
The friends I’ve made here—from France, Panama, Canada, Venezuela, Germany, and the United States—not only understand what my plans (or lack thereof) are… but they share many of the same interests and ideas about what they want out of life…
I couldn’t have survived these past three years of my Panamanian adventure without this community.
And, I’ve heard this same sentiment echoed by many dozens of expats at our events.
In fact, many of your fellow readers also cite their adopted communities as the top reason they chose their new home.
Of course, everybody’s story is different…
Some have found happiness in expat neighborhoods… where they can still debate the latest U.S. news… and even find their favorite foods from home… yet still enjoy a far better lifestyle.
Others have plunged right into the local communities where they’ve learned the language right away… and barely speak their native tongue day to day.
And there are many in-betweeners, too…
The bottom line is, no matter where on the world map you’re considering reinventing your life, community spirit will be a key to your ultimate success. So, before you make any big decisions, be sure to take time to check out your surrounding support… the people who’ll be there for you through your ups and downs…
In fact, you can start this process even without leaving the United States.
Our upcoming Retire Overseas Conference, Sept. 8–11, is an opportunity for you to start building your own community.
On the ground in Las Vegas, you’ll meet more than 60 experts and expats who’ve made moves overseas—to 20 different countries among them—each with different expectations, different circumstances, different priorities, different objectives, and different tales to tell.
Pick their brains, chat with them, understand why they chose the places to call home that they did. Listen to them talk about the friends they’ve met, the community they’ve found, the family they’ve built for themselves.
The Retire Overseas Conference is the biggest event on our annual calendar… and this year’s event is on track to sell out.
Some of your future friends and neighbors may be in the room. Don’t miss this chance to join the party.