Articles for Teachers
The developing world conjures images of poverty, violence and corruption. While its true that there are quite a few problems in that other world, nowadays there are parallel societies within it that offer all the amenities of "first world" living. Here's ten good reasons why pondering a move to a developing country might not be so crazy...
1. You will Escape from Winter: Most of the nations in the tropics are poor, yet are blessed with year-round sunshine and warm temperatures. Most of us dream of lying on a beach in front of a turquoise sea. Why fulfill that wish only during vacations when you can live it every day of the year? As a Canadian, never seeing another winter was enough to get me going!
2. You will Live Cheaply: Most things cost much less in developing countries because incomes are only a fraction of what they are in developed nations. A 40,000 USD a year income is not much in the USA, Canada, or Australia, but it could represent a fortune in poor countries, affording you a very comfortable living. Your medical bills will also be just a fraction of what they used to be. Imagine being able to buy a condo apartment in a major city for just 40 or 50,000 USD!
3. You will Abandon Boredom: Let's face it, for many, privileged life consists of working, eating and sleeping. Move into a country with a completely different culture and way of life and you've certainly given the old routine a swift kick!
4. You Could Pay Low or Zero Income Taxes: You can live in your new country and not pay any income taxes if your money is not earned locally and your country of origin doesn't require you to file returns if you are not a resident and have no income there either. To boot, a lot of third world countries allow you to stay for up to three months at a time with no yearly limits, so you could reside there yet still be a tourist in their books (a permatourist in my book!)
5. You will Become the Interesting Guy/Girl: Back home, everybody will be talking about you for being so bold and adventurous, while in your new country you will likely be the exotic one all the locals chat about. That was not one of my motivations, but it's absolutely what happened! Additionally, living abroad gives you a lot to talk or write about.
6. You will Grow as a Person: Unless you are so self-centered you cannot see beyond your nose, you will learn to count your blessings and put the trivial in its proper place. This will invariably happen when you witness firsthand how the rest of the world exists. Also, you will likely learn to relax more and enjoy your life, once you acquire your new sense of perspective.
7. You will Meet Real People: Sincerity often goes out the window in a dog eat dog society where almost everybody is bent on accumulating personal wealth. In your new country, you are likely to encounter many genuine, down to earth people who work themselves to the bone yet value their families and friends more than anything.
8. You will Become Fit: Your diet might currently consist of canned and frozen goods, as well as eating in junk food restaurants. You likely will not be able to maintain that deadly routine in your new country, where the grocery list is primarily fresh produce and meats. Most frozen or canned goods are much more expensive than in your home country, and fast food is not as readily available as well as pricier. Lastly, hot weather is not conducive to eating a lot of fatty foods, and your cold weather body fat will be physically transformed into the thinner tropical type.
9. You will be Inspired: A change of venue almost always leads to new ideas. Perhaps you will finally write a book!
10. You will Fall in Love: If you are single, there is a good change you will meet someone, as frequently happens to expats. Opposites do attract and the cultural divide fosters strong attractions!
Of course, the decision to switch countries rides on more than just a whim, as you do have to support yourself. Ideally, your work is Internet-based, or you have a large bank account. Getting a job in your new country will likely mean a big income drop and longer hours. So, if your situation allows you, there is no reason why you too cannot become a "permatourist".
Tom Germain is a Canadian who in 2001 decided he wasn't going to put up with any more winters and moved to Mexico. He never looked back and moved around the world every couple years, making his home in Argentina, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and now Colombia. In his 2 blogs, Permatourist http://www.permatourist.com and Ocolombia http://www.ocolombia.com he tells of his experiences and offers invaluable tips on how you can live the life of a "permatourist".