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Why Do We Want to Escape Abroad?

Everyone has their own reasons why they dream of living abroad.  Some are driven by climate. Others by culture, finances, or the promise of a better life. Still others are driven by concerns over their current lives or home countries. For us, it turns out, it’s a bit of all of these.
Here is a break down.  Can you relate?

Wants and desires:

First, we want certain things in life today that we feel we are not getting.  We want a better quality of life and we want to feel free.  This includes the following:

  • We want to become “untethered” from our 8-to-5 lives.
    It seems like we live to work, rather than work to live.  We have a 45+ minute compute each way to work, so we leave home at 7AM and get home 6PM Monday through Friday.  That is 11hours out of each day! This also means that we need to be in bed by 10PM to get enough sleep – which never happens.  We are worn out and tired when we get home and don’t have much energy to do things during the week.  So, we live for the weekends.  We would like to find a way to stop this hamster wheel.
  • We want to escape the cold mid-western winters.
    It’s 18 degrees here at the time of this writing.  Enough said?
    No?
    How about this for our morning commute today:

snowy traffic

Now look at the top image, see?

  • We want freedom to do what we like and as we please.
    It sure would be amazing not to have to stress over taking time off work just to go to a doctor or run errands.  We say here in US that we are free, but are we really?  See my post on mY Perfect Day. That is what we want our lives to be.
  • We want to look back at our lives and say we lived our dreams.
    We don’t want to be filled with regrets for the rest of our lives.  We want to say we lived our purpose, not someone else’s purpose.
  • We want to explore.
    We love to travel and we love to learn.  We want to explore a new culture, life, country.
  • We want to learn a new language.
    I (Joanna) have wanted to learn Spanish for years now.  I’ve taken some beginning classes and traveled extensively around Mexico but have never been able to take enough time off work, to dedicate to this study.  I speak fluent Polish and English and I know for a certainty that only full immersion can make me fluent in Spanish.
  • Don’t wish to spend the rest of our “young years” working.
    Isn’t it ironic that we spend the young, energy-filled years working and we retire when we are old and tired and usually in bad health?  So, what have we worked our entire lives for?  When we no longer have to work, can we really enjoy it?

We believe that the above would give us a better quality life.  Life where work is secondary, and enjoyment is primary.  Life where we live each day to the fullest on our own terms and time and do not live by the mighty clock.  In short, a happy, joyous, and free life.

Concerns

Second, we have some serious concerns about life in USA today and in the future (beyond retirement).

  • US economy has given us a scare.
    The value of our house dropped by about $60,000 since 2008.  Our jobs are currently unstable, there are talks of reorganizations, consolidations, cost cutting, and possible layoffs.  All in an effort to save money.  We are both in middle-management positions and fear that our jobs may be on the line.  We are not happy with the changes happening around us in jobs, neighborhood, town, even within family.
  • No national healthcare available.
    I have some chronic health issues.  I’m only 45.  If I want to retire early, there is no healthcare options for me in the US.  I can’t begin to use Medicare until I’m 65, so if I were to lose my job today, where does that leave me?  And this does not even consider the financial problems both Social Security and Medicare face today.  These programs cannot sustain themselves without major reform.
  • Retirement on Social Security in US looks bleak.
    Not only is the Social Security program meager, it is facing major financial issues.  In The Summary of the 2012 Annual Reports, the Trustees make an open call to the lawmakers to address these issues ASAP.  The report is worth a read and is quite eye opening.  As the aging population and baby boomers retire, will there be anything left for us?  Click image below to read the report:
    SSA Trustee Reports
  • Retirement age is getting pushed back further and further.
    We don’t want to work until we’re 70. When we step out of the work race and retire, will we be healthy enough, young enough, interested enough to enjoy life?

So, for us it all boils down to this today:
We are sick and tired of living in fear and we are going to make a leap of faith that this dream of living abroad can and will come true.  The benefits in our minds far outweigh the negatives.

About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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