Why Move Abroad?
Among the more frequent questions posed to us is why we are interested in living outside the US and how we will feel about living far away from family and friends. At the moment, the best answer to the second question is “We are not sure.” Roque and I have 3 living children between us — the loss of one of our children, the brilliant and beautiful Sophie, who passed away while home for Thanksgiving her freshman year at Drexel University, is certainly among our lives’ wake-up calls and part of our inspiration for retiring as soon as we are able. When life sends curve balls like losing an 18 year old child, it’s hard not to take stock of where you are, where you want to be and how very precious life is.
Neither Roque nor I are the kind of people who live recklessly and with wild abandon – we are uber responsible, honor-driven, professionals who have, for the most part, taken care to travel through life conscientiously, taking minimal risks, and leading lives where following the law and, for the most part, the rules, are hallmarks of our existence. We have both owned homes in suburbia, have been soccer coaches and soccer moms, planned celebration parties for loved ones and have more than several suits apiece in our closets. Underneath these exteriors, however, live a couple of free-spirits who have big-world views, enjoy traveling off the beaten path, love tent camping, experiencing new foods, new landscapes, and new stuff.
For us, traveling provides perspective and insight into our lives and ourselves. Our travels remind us of how wonderful life can be in the US and makes us aware that the wonders of life cannot be experienced in just one place.
A couple of years ago, I spoke with a colleague at work who was retiring in her mid-50’s, a couple of years shy of a full retirement. When I asked her why, she responded that she had always wanted to enter the Peace Corps and she believed that as she aged, her ability (or willingness) to undergo the rigors of a Peace Corps volunteer existence would wane. She felt it was more important to do the things that you want to do before you are too old to do them than wait for her full pension just a couple of years away.
She reminded me that there are things in life worth grabbing when you can and are still able. Many times since this conversation, I have been reminded of the same thing by others in different contexts. Life is short. Grab the brass ring, the bull by the horn, go for the gusto. Despite the many ways of saying the same thing, many of us don’t grab for that ring, horn or gusto.
If we do, we often realize that there really is little to lose and much to gain. And because why not try? Roque and I have learned that from lemons, we can make lemonade.
But why abroad? Why not just here where we are? Because I want to be a citizen of the world.