“Mom, they just told us all that the dorms are closing this weekend. We need to leave by Sunday at the latest, but they’d like us to move out as quickly as possible.”
It was the call Lief and I have been waiting for… from our son, a sophomore at NYU.
In fact, Jackson is a sophomore at NYU Shanghai. He didn’t return for his spring semester after Christmas and winter break in Paris because, at the time, China was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. NYU Shanghai closed their campus and made room for Jackson at their school in New York.
Now New York is a new epicenter for the now global pandemic… and Jackson again needs to adjust his plan. As soon as he’s packed up his dorm room, he’ll be on his way to Baltimore to stay with his grandmother.
Meantime, after three-and-a-half months in Paris, I was set to reposition to Panama this Thursday, and Lief was on his way to Chicago to visit his mother. From there he’d travel on to join me in Panama City.
Like Jackson, we’re adjusting our plans in real time as we watch the effects and consequences of the coronavirus crisis continue to play out.
Panama has stopped all flights from Europe and Asia, and the United States has announced restrictions for travelers from Europe. So I’m no longer flying to Panama this week, and Lief has decided against his trip to Chicago.
The Eurozone is closing borders, too, and it seems likely all travel to this part of the world will be halted sometime soon.
Now, today, starting at noon, France is on lockdown. Schools, shops, bars, and restaurants closed yesterday. Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open, and walking to one or the other is the only reason we Parisians are allowed to venture outside our homes.
Well, you can also go out to walk your dog, but you need to print out a letter of permission.
Last week this time, Lief and I were in Ireland, meeting with staff and friends in Waterford, eating out and stopping in the local pubs. What a difference a week has made.
It feels as though the world is closing down and closing in.
And, indeed, it is… physically. Geographic borders are shutting.
But, we remind ourselves, ours is a virtual world.
Lief and I are hunkered down in Paris for the duration. The lockdown that goes into effect at noon today is scheduled for 15 days. But, Monsieur Macron explains, it could be extended.
We’ve stocked up on wine, bread, cheese, and, yes, pasta and toilet paper.
In Panama, too, “Please stay in your home,” is the instruction coming from the powers that be. Our Live and Invest Overseas HQ has closed, as have all businesses in Panama City, and our staff has repositioned to their homes.
We’re lucky, we know. Not everyone has the ability to take their job home with them.
Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re safe and comfortable and that you have enough toilet paper and wine to carry you through.
However, you’re going to need more than that to come out the other side of our current situation sane and strong.
I’m thinking about community. It’s more important right now than ever… yet all the recommendations for social distancing, all the cancelled events, and all the instructions to stay inside are likely making it impossible to remain an active part of your local, real-world community.
For the past few months, we’ve been working on a plan for a Live and Invest Overseas virtual community, with the intention to launch our new Overseas Living Clubhouse in April or May.
Our team is now working overtime to pull that launch date forward. It seems to us that you could benefit from being part of our new virtual community sooner rather than later.
We are creating an exclusive Facebook group where like-minded people who share an openness to all the opportunities this big beautiful world of ours offers for fun and for profit can interact and engage with each other.
Nothing can substitute for connecting with friends and family in person. But we hope our new Overseas Living Clubhouse will be a valuable stand in over the weeks to come.
This is no time to be totally isolated… and it’s definitely not the time to set aside your dreams for living, retiring, or investing overseas.
Our world is right now presenting practical challenges. No, you probably don’t want and maybe would not be allowed to get on a plane to travel to the corner of the world that’s calling your name.
But what if you could connect with someone just like you already living there? Or with others just like you also imagining new lives for themselves in that spot?
What if you could ask your questions of people who have already done what you’re hoping to do… and provide support for others considering their options but uncertain how to proceed?
What if you could connect with your Live and Invest Overseas fellows online and in real time, any time of the day or night.
At least you will be able to very soon.
In our new Overseas Living Clubhouse.
Our New Virtual Community
This is your community. We’ll be posting from time to time, when we have something to say that we think you’ll find interesting and beneficial. But the real point is for you to share your thoughts… your photos… your videos… your questions… your dreams… and your concerns about living and investing overseas with your fellow Live and Invest Overseas readers.
I’d bet that, when you try to speak with family and friends in your local community about your live and invest overseas ideas, your plans and dreams are sometimes or maybe often met with raised eyebrows and pointed questions.
That’ll never happen in the Overseas Living Clubhouse. In our community, your plans and dreams are everybody’s plans and dreams.
Originally, we intended our Overseas Living Clubhouse as a special benefit for subscribers to our Overseas Living Letter. And, if you’re an Overseas Living Letter subscriber, you definitely belong in the Clubhouse. You’ve already set yourself apart by joining a unique group of people who are actively exploring their options for living and retiring overseas.
However, given everything going on in the world right now, it doesn’t seem right to restrict access to our new virtual community. We’re all in this together… and we want to do everything we can, now more than ever, to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with others who are also considering moving overseas as well as some who’ve maybe already done it.
So we’ll be rolling out our Clubhouse early… and we’ll be making it available to every Live and Invest Overseas reader, without exclusion.
Please come connect with your fellows from all around the world… and maybe from around your corner. Come find support and encouragement as you learn more about living, retiring, and investing overseas.
Right now, you have full, complimentary access.
I do not know for how long we’ll be able to keep the doors to our Clubhouse open to every Live and Invest Overseas reader, and I hope you’ll take this chance to join our virtual community while you can.
The current situation won’t last forever. Trouble is, none of us knows how far short of forever we’re looking at.
Our little Paris apartment is comfortable, and our wine cave is stocked… but I admit I’m wondering how long until Lief and I run out of interesting things to say to each other. I’ll sure appreciate other voices in our conversation.
So, for the first time in my life, I intend to participate in an online group. Normally, I don’t do social media. But this isn’t social media. This is our personal Overseas Living Clubhouse.
Meantime, as long as our internet connections in Paris, Panama, and Ireland hold, I’ll also be getting up each morning, as has been my custom for as long as I can remember, brewing a pot of English Breakfast tea, and crafting a dispatch to send to you sharing ideas and discoveries, news and recommendations that I hope you’ll find worthwhile.
Yes, physical borders are closing, but our virtual community is expanding.
At a time when I’d say we all need it more than we ever have before.
We’ll be ready to open the doors to our new Overseas Living Clubhouse within the next day or two.
I look forward to meeting you there.