100 Reasons to Become an Expatriate

by DeeAnne on 22/03/2010

man of the world

1. You want to be a Friday night regular at your local taverna in Greece

2. You enjoy figuring new things out for yourself

3. You’re addicted to world history

4. You want to speak Portuguese like a native

5. You still have things to learn

6. You want life to be an adventure

7. You want to really understand other types of government

8. You’ve always wanted to run away to a Banana Republic, and write a novel about it

9. You’ve never felt that you truly belonged in the country in which you were born

10. You love to travel, but you want to experience another country as a local

11. You want to prove your belief that people everywhere are more alike than they are different

12. You want to learn how to make the perfect cup of tea in the UK

13. You want to become an expert on the Moscow subway system, especially the ornate architecture of its stations

14. You want to write a book on Barbaresco wine

15. You’ve longed to live the French way of life

16. You love cricket, and you’re an American

17. You want to live in beach hut, and own nothing but swimsuits and sarongs

18. You want to slow down

19. You want to speed up

20. You need a change

21. You want to study Buddhism in Kathmandu

22. You believe absence makes the heart grow fonder

23. You want to volunteer in a country that needs your expertise

24. You want to become an expert on authentic Thai cuisine

25. You want to take advantage of exchange rates to make your money stretch further

26. You want to study the Amazon rain forest

27. You want to be a gaucho on the Pampas

28. You want to be a chocolatier in Belgium

29. You believe working remotely must have more advantages than just working in your pajamas in your bedroom

30. You want to raise global children

31. You intend to write the seminal work on German beer

32. You believe we really are one world and one people

33. You want to prove to yourself that you can

34. Because job opportunities don’t match your skills in your country of birth

35. You’re certain you’ll be the next champion Samba dancer in Brazil

36. You’ve always known that you were meant to live in Barcelona

37. You’ve fallen in love with another country

38. You’ve fallen in love with someone who lives in another country

39. Because time stands still for you in Acqui Terme, Italy

40. You want to hike the Scottish Highlands, over and over again

41. You want to watch the South African wine industry evolve from a front row seat

42. You want to understand why Denmark has the happiest citizens in the world

43. You don’t believe your country of birth does everything best, and you’d like to learn what other countries do better

44. You’ve longed to know the tides off Australia’s coasts as only someone who surfs them everyday can

45. You want to be a shopping guide at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

46. You want to write a book of poetry in a cottage on the Irish Coast

47. You want to learn to paint with the glorious light in St Ives

48. You want to be a fisherman in a tiny Mexican village on the sea

49. You want the simple life

50. You’d like to watch the sunset every night in Barbados

51. You really love a challenge

52. One word…Provence.

53. You want a fresh perspective

54. You’d like to go to the Saturday morning market every weekend in Saumur, France

55. Because you can

56. Because change is good

57. You’ve run out of reasons not to

58. Because sometimes the grass is greener

59. Because you need to learn how to take life a bit less seriously

60. You’ve grown tired of knowing your life “like the back of your hand”

61. You want to appreciate what you have

62. You want to learn about all that you don’t have

63. You want to see the world through someone else’s eyes

64. You want to cross off number 5 on your “Top 10 Things I Want to Do in My Life” list

65. You want more sunshine

66. You want more snow

67. Because life is more fun when you take a risk or two

68. You want to live in the unspoiled natural beauty of Finland

69. You can’t imagine not living in the warmth of Costa Rica

70. You want to become a karaoke star in Tokyo

71. For the lower cost of living

72. For the higher quality of life

73. You want to study abroad

74. You want to bring what you’ve learned back home

75. You want to be able to say that you did

76. You want to make new friends

77. You want to find the love of your life

78. Because you’re a free spirit

79. You want to jump start your creativity

80. You want your retirement to be more than rocking chairs and “Wheel of Fortune”

81. You want greater economic opportunities

82. You want to be a dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet

83. Because your current plan is to runaway from home when the last kid goes away to college

84. You want to escape urban congestion and traffic

85. You want to make corporate life a distant memory

86. Because there’s a whole, big world out there to explore

87. You want to open up the world to your grandchildren

88. Because you know that you can change your mind and return to your own country if you’re homesick

89. Because you’re more likely to regret the things you don’t do

90. Because it will force you out of your comfort zone

91. Because you can afford to buy your first home in many other countries

92. Because people are friendlier, and take the time to know their neighbours in many other countries

93. Because you want to live in a country that cares about global issues, like New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance

94. Because there are obvious places to live to pursue your hobbies (Belize for scuba diving, for example)

95. You enjoy the feeling of being so immersed in another culture that you’re almost disoriented

96. You’re looking for a way to get the children and grandchildren to visit more often

97. You can’t imagine a conventional life

98. You want to face your fears

99. You want to create lifelong memories and experiences

100. For reasons only you understand


photo credit: Man of the World Magazine

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

soulberry March 23, 2010 at 06:45

If only one of those could become my wings


Karen Wallace September 22, 2010 at 14:44

Love this list. What a pleasure to read this. Warmly, Karen


Doniree March 23, 2010 at 13:45

What kind of advice would you give to someone starting to feel that pull?


DeeAnne March 23, 2010 at 17:39

I’d begin by putting a plan in place to make your career mobile, then you open up a world of possibilities for yourself! You can work with an expat/lifestyle design coach to help you with that piece, and with the rest of the details, too. Best of luck! D


Susan Nye March 23, 2010 at 19:21

DeeAnne – I love your list. I was an expatriate in Switzerland for 17 years. I had great success with a Fortune 50 company, managed a big team and a big quota and traveled 60-70% of the time. I loved it … until I didn’t. About 7 years ago I moved back to my childhood home in New Hampshire and reinvented myself. I went from high-tech executive to food writer and chef. I love it … still do. Take care – Susan


DeeAnne March 25, 2010 at 05:47

Susan~Your story is so similar to mine! I loved my time in the corporate world, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much, and made life long friends, but it was time for the next chapter. I’m having a ball, but I’ll save your message to reread when my doubts creep in! Thank you again! D


Cristina March 23, 2010 at 20:34

I have lived in Mexico for 30 years and am as mad about my life here as I have always been. With all its warts and with all its wonders, Mexico is my home.



Lydia Mertz October 11, 2011 at 13:23

Thanks for your post. I’m going to be moving to Mexico next year after I graduate but had previously studied abroad there. Sometimes I feel that I am not making the right decision about going back there but it’s such a lovely country and felt like home too. Blessings


DeeAnne October 21, 2011 at 16:10

Hello Lydia!

Thank you for the comment, and the good thing about moving away is that they don’t shut the gate behind you! You can always go back, if the adventure takes you home.

Best of luck!


Andrea March 23, 2010 at 23:45

Fantastic list!! I became one because of reason number 38 (fallen in love with someone who lives in another country)…now I’m a dual citizen and have never looked back; you’ll never look at your home country exactly the same again if you become an expat for any length of time…marvellous experience: I say go for it!


Phil March 24, 2010 at 14:03

We moved to Belgium in 1996 and cannot imagine ever going back to the USA. The Loire Valley calls us for retirement. All that wine and cheese is hard to leave.


DeeAnne March 25, 2010 at 05:43

Thank you for all of the wonderful stories about becoming an expat! You continue to inspire myself, and others, who are just beginning our journey! Best wishes, D


zagrebcity March 25, 2010 at 18:01

excellent list.. number 48. You want to be a fisherman in a tiny Mexican village on the sea – my favorite


Abby March 25, 2010 at 18:13

Great list!! I ticked off so many of these and got a kick out of 69, which is me. Love it!


Emily March 26, 2010 at 14:40

Wow this is making me want to go abroad NOW! I have alwasy wanted to work abroad but I am a recent marketing college grad and dont know where to begin!? Any Advice?? I just discovered your blog and It is already on my FAVORITES LIST! cheers!


Lisa April 1, 2010 at 21:05

My husband and I have been toying with the idea of living for a year in Europe, and are now seriously considering it. I came across your blog by reading about your 100 Reasons to be an Expat list in Barbara Winter’s ezine. So glad I found it!

I love the entire list, but especially #39 (because time DOES stand still for me anywhere in Italy… love that country and it is the country of my ancestors too!), and #52 because I am visiting Provence for the first time this summer after a 15 year obsession with it from afar (been to France but not yet to Provence — can’t wait).

Thanks – Lisa


LindaP April 3, 2010 at 15:40

My favorite was #85 “you want to make corporate life a distant memory”. I was an expat in Asia and in Europe for more than 5 years and loved it. I changed and grew SO MUCH! Now that I’ve quit corporate America and am reinventing my life, going back to the expat life is one of the plans – but this time on my own terms – with my portable business! Thanks for the list – I loved reading it and thinking how many of those reasons are also my reasons.


Deb Brown April 6, 2010 at 09:14

Great list! You had me at #1 — God I love Greece! http://www.travelwoman.com for my Greek pics. I too found you via Barbara Winter’s ezine and am so glad I did. Thanks for this great list.


DeeAnne April 6, 2010 at 09:20

Thank you for all the lovely, lovely responses! I’ve enjoyed hearing your stories much more than you’ll every know.
Very best wishes on your expat journey! d


Michelle April 8, 2010 at 08:57

I love this list. I’ll bet you could think of a thousand. There are so many good reasons and so many benefits that a nice, tidy ’100′ is just a starting point–but excellent food for thought! Very inspiring and it reminds me of some of the reasons why I remain an expat 20 years on…


JJ May 11, 2010 at 04:05

Having been an expat since I was 5 years old, its great to be able to tick off so many reasons on the list and remind myself that I still love this nomadic lifestyle that I was “given”… even as I contemplate making the jump and building yet another one of my many “lifetimes” … Time to really start to re-think and re-prioritise my very own personal “Top 100 Reasons to (still) be an expat” list.


DeeAnne June 3, 2010 at 11:37

Hello JJ!

What an amazing gift you were given as a child! I’ve just read your email, and I’ll reply to that as well, but what a life you’ve lived already!

Very best wishes!


connie nakamura May 29, 2010 at 09:15

Have been living in Saipan for 30 years….and will soon move to Japan. I would never consider going back to America. Once every 5 years or so I go home for a visit and every time..I can’t WAIT to leave. I guess I now find most Americans so narrow-minded and uneducated about the world around them. …..having lived around many different cultures and peoples all these years I have come to understand that just because someone is “different” does not mean they are wrong! Sometimes we get Americans that come here for a while and all they do is complain about how things are here -often they are heard commenting “In the States we….” my response is…well…then GO BACK to the states…! I don’t hate America…I’ve just grown beyond it. Glad I left and never want to go back.


DeeAnne June 3, 2010 at 11:34

It’s so wonderful that you’ve found that the whole world suits you, and not just one country, Connie! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures!

Best Wishes,



Maryam in Marrakech September 22, 2010 at 09:09

Oh #32 is my favorite far and away. What a great list:-)


DeeAnne September 22, 2010 at 10:23

Thank you Maryam! That’s one of my favourites as well, and the driving force behind my dreams of travel as a young girl. When I was 10 and living in the US during the Cold War, I was just certain that if my parents would let me move to Moscow I’d see that every person I met would want the same things I wanted in life.
Out of small dreams…


diana strinati baur September 22, 2010 at 10:15

Big Surprise. I’m all over Number 98 darlin. :)


DeeAnne September 22, 2010 at 10:24

After our recent conversation, no surprise at all dearest Diana!
Still one of my favourite things about you.


Anastasia September 22, 2010 at 10:39

Thanks for this DeeAnne!

The best part of international life *is* the possibilities…to be able to do things unavailable/impossible/laughable/forgotten/neverheardof where you’re from.


Audrey September 22, 2010 at 10:48

Great list – from the serious to the crazy dreams. To add to what Anastasia said, I think being an expatriate or embracing an international life changes one’s mindset from “no, not possible” to “heck, why not?”


Sanda September 22, 2010 at 11:21

I love all of your reasons, but especially #32, #35 (let me dream…) and #78. My own personal one I would add is ‘because life is too short to get placid and the world is too gorgeous to ever stop exploring’.


Vanessa@Luxuria September 23, 2010 at 19:51

I have been an expat in Spain now for 10 years, and now feeling the pull to return to the UK. I think you always return to your “roots” in the end no matter how fab it’s been. I never thought I would return to the UK, and now I can’t wait to go back!


christina December 6, 2010 at 00:28

Hi I lived near Barcelona for 18 years then I lost my husband and have moved back to were I was born in Burton on Trent. I hated living over there but I went there for my husband I could make a book on why not to live in Spain.



DeeAnne December 7, 2010 at 09:45

Hello Christina,
I’m so sorry for your loss, and that you didn’t enjoy your expat experience. There are many people that feel the same, and I think it would be a great idea to write about it, as a way of helping others avoid (or at least foresee) potential problems. Becoming an expat is not for everyone, but for me it’s been absolutely perfect.
I wish you all the best in the future!


James September 27, 2010 at 00:36

While 17 is most attractive, I think 29 is more towards the truth.
Along with 77, you may have lost the love of your life.


fashion butter September 30, 2010 at 12:43

What a great post! Just stumbled upon it and totally needed something like this today. Number one describes my life best. : )


ashley September 30, 2010 at 18:16

Fashion Butter linked to you on twitter, so I found this list…and I LOVE it.

So glad you mentioned Turkey because that is where I am working to get to!!! :)


Kelly October 8, 2010 at 14:12

Great list! I am living the expat life in rural England since falling in love with a Londoner. But I’m ready for my next adventure pretty soon I think…


Joe Stilwell June 22, 2011 at 17:43

I did it. I escaped from America and now ive in Shenzhen China


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