Yesterday I detailed the nine critical questions you must answer before launching a new life in a new country.
Today I’d like to follow that broad overview thinking with a more personal challenge.
Today I’d like to ask you to print out the following questionnaire and then settle into a comfortable spot.
That’s right. We’re going old school.
Print out this list, find a pen (remember those?), and have a seat.
Then take your time thinking through responses to each of these questions. Write out your answers completely and then post them somewhere prominent in your home or office. They’ll serve as regular reminders of your go-overseas dream.
One more thing…
If you’re intending to make your move with a spouse or partner, I recommend that you respond to all questions together. Better to identify differences—of opinion, of priorities, of agendas, etc.—right now… rather than months from now after you’ve already invested time and money traveling down what, it turns out, is a path that works for only one half of your happy duo.
Without further ado… here you go… the questions you should answer as you work to conceive, formulate, evolve, and realize your plan for launching a new life in a new country…
Part I: Climate
- Do you enjoy a change of seasons?
- Do you need regular sunshine?
- Do you mind rain?
- Can you handle heat? Humidity?
- Do you prefer a varying length of day?
Part II: Health Care
- Do you have a preexisting health condition?
- Are you older than 75?
- Would you be uncomfortable seeing a physician whose first language is not English?
Part III: Infrastructure
- Do you lose your cool if you can’t send an email the first time every time you try?
- Does your work require reliable internet service 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- Would you mind living on a dirt road?
- Would you mind your road access being temporarily cut off during the rainy season?
- Do you need American television? Would you be unhappy without American football on Sunday afternoons?
- Are you afraid of the dark? That is, will you mind if the electricity goes out?
- Would you be comfortable owning a car and driving yourself around in a new country? If not, think about places where you could afford a full-time driver or where a car is unnecessary.
- Would you want to travel outside the country often, either to visit family back home or generally? If so, consider how far it is to the nearest international airport.
- Would you be unhappy without your favorite comfort foods? If so, consider places with access to international-standard grocery stores.
- Will chaotic, uncontrolled, unregulated traffic make you nervous?
- Do you require disabled access?
Part IV: Accessibility To The United States
- Do you have children or grandchildren you want to see regularly?
- Are you going to be keeping a home in the United States?
- Will you have some ongoing business concerns back home?
- Do you have a health condition that could necessitate a quick return Stateside?
Part V: Language
- Do you speak a second language?
- Are you terrified at the thought of learning one?
Part VI: Culture, Recreation, And Entertainment
- What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
- How would you rather spend a free Sunday afternoon—in a museum or taking a long walk in the woods?
- How regularly do you want to be able to dine out? To watch a first-run movie in English? To visit an art gallery or attend the theater?
- What would you like to see from your bedroom window? The ocean? A mountainside covered with wildflowers? A vineyard? A busy street scene?
Part VII: Taxes
- From where will you derive your income in retirement?
- Will you have earned, pension, dividend, interest, rental, or capital gains income to account for? The source of your income has a lot to do with your ultimate tax liability, both in the United States and in your new jurisdiction.
Part VIII: Education And Schools
- Will you be moving with school-aged children?
Part IX: Safety
- Are you a woman moving alone?
- Are you moving with children?
- Do protests bother you?
- Do you speak the local language? If not, you may sometimes feel uncomfortable even if there’s really no cause for worry.
- Have you spent much time outside your home country? If yes, you’re probably better prepared for situations that, again, might otherwise seem worrisome.
Part X: Other
- Are you afraid of spiders? Snakes?
- Will you mind adjusting to the metric system?
- Will you mind having to pay rent and utilities in person?
- Are you patient? Will you mind waiting 20 minutes for a 3-minute egg?
- Are you generally adventuresome? Do you like to try new things?