Map of the worldEver thought about moving to a different country? I’m not speaking of going for a holiday but a permanent relocation, establishing residency abroad.

After leaving the military in my early thirties, by design I chose a profession that was not only something I wanted to do for a living but that I also knew would allow me to retire early with a pension. Twenty years later that became a reality. I relocated to the town where I grew up but hadn’t lived in since I graduated from high school. The first couple of years I stayed busy building the house I now live in, something I’d always wanted to do. After the house was finished I spent some time traveling. On a trip to Europe it first occurred to me that it might really be fun and interesting to try living in a different country. I then started do do some serious research on moving abroad.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my own country and have always taken pride in being an American. I just think it would be very interesting to live in another country and become immersed in another culture. I can’t see a circumstance where I’d ever wish to give up my American citizenship but of course you can become a legal resident of another country without having to do that.

When I first began thinking seriously about moving abroad Belize was the first country I considered and researched. Belize does offer several advantages for the American ex-pat. Except in some of the more exclusive areas, the cost of living is considerably less by U.S. standards. It’s on the Caribbean which means lots of sunshine and beach time. The people are friendly. In addition, since BelizeĀ  (formerly British Honduras) is a former British colony, English is the official language which renders it unnecessary to learn a different language.

As I continued researching countries I thought I might like living in, I eventually settled on Ecuador. The weather, the people, access to quality and affordable health care, the stable government, the beautiful scenery, and a low cost of living were the things I found most appealing. It’s a Spanish speaking country but I think learning Spanish would be an enjoyable part of learning about the culture.

There are of course heaps of places in Europe I’d love living but my modest pension wouldn’t be sufficient in any of the places there I find most appealing because the cost of living is actually higher than here in the U.S.

I had gone as far as to start planning a month-long visit to Ecuador to learn more about the country firsthand but just months before I planned to go I met a woman and we began a relationship so my focus sort of shifted away from moving abroad for a time. The relationship didn’t last in the end, although we remain close friends. After we parted I again started thinking about investigating a relocation to Ecuador but as luck would have it, I met my current partner and once again a relationship became my priority.

I’m happy to say that I’m exceedingly confident that this relationship will stand the test of time. Still, my current relationship doesn’t mean I will have to suppress my wanderlust. My partner lives in New Zealand at the moment although we are making plans for her to relocate here. That is her preference because she is quite keen to try living here in America. I expect however that as time goes by we will likely split time between the U.S. and New Zealand which is great as far as I’m concerned because New Zealand is such a beautiful country filled with some of the most gracious and friendly people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

My partner also loves to travel as much as I do. We already have a rough outline of places we want to visit together in the near future. Our last holiday was spent in Hawaii and she has already proven herself a fabulously fun travel partner. I know we will have fun wherever we end up.

How about you? Ever had the urge to move abroad? Or perhaps you have already done it. In either case, I’d love to hear about it and hope you will share you thoughts about living abroad in a comment.