Friends enjoy a fire at the beach at sunst

A Community Of Friends Can Make Anywhere Feel Like Home

Your Chances Of Survival Overseas Hinge On This

“Why don’t I own a four-bed, two-story country home in my native Normandy? What’s wrong with me?”

These were the thoughts that haunted me as I flew back to Panama after my last trip to France.

You see, in Paris for a whole month, I’d spent a lot of time catching up with friends. And, dinner after dinner, it was pretty much the same story… 

Mes amis français were all either:

  1. buying their dream house—that happened to be two streets away from their parents’ nest… or…
  1. after a new job in province (basically, anywhere outside Paris) where they were willing to slow down their career for an extra bedroom and/or bigger back yard.

“What about you, Val?” they’d eventually ask.

“No yard,” I confessed, “but I do get to visit a new travel destination every month.”

Silence.

“No extra bedroom,” I continued, “but I do have two oceans. It’s a tough decision sometimes whether to spend the weekend surfing in the Pacific or stand-up paddling in the Caribbean.”

Looks of incomprehension all round.

Investing in a safe, steady, surprise-less future in France seemed to be the popular choice for my peers.

Hence the minor panic on my long haul back home. Had I made the wrong choice?

Luckily this doubt didn’t last any longer on my mind than the souvenir Bordeaux sat in my Panamanian kitchen. During the next few days, between coffee breaks with my work colleagues and over beer with friends, I was updated on the many waves I’d missed… and briefed on the next unexplored beach we’d be heading to that weekend.

That’s when I realized I was home.

And, it wasn’t the beaches I’d missed the most… or the sun… or even the fresh (and unbelievably cheap) fruit and seafood I live on in Panama

I’d missed my Panama family.

The friends I’ve made here—from France, Panama, Canada, Venezuela, Germany, and the United States—not only understand what my plans (or lack thereof) are… but they share many of the same interests…

I couldn’t have survived these past three years of my Panamanian adventure without this community.

And, I’ve heard this same sentiment echoed by dozens of expats at our events.

In fact, many of your fellow readers cite their adopted community as the top reason they chose their new home.

Of course, everybody’s story is different…

Some have found happiness in an expat neighborhood… where they can still debate the latest U.S. news… and even find their favorite food from home… yet still enjoy a far better lifestyle.

Others have plunged right into the local community where they’ve learned the language right away… and barely speak their native tongue day to day.

And, there are many in-betweeners, too…

But the bottom line is, no matter where you’re considering in the world, your success hinges on community spirit. Before you make any big decisions, be sure to take time to check out your surrounding support… the people who’ll be there for you through your ups and downs…

In fact, you can start this process without leaving the United States at all.

Our upcoming Retire Overseas Conference, Sept. 8–11, is an opportunity for you to start building your own community.

On the ground in Las Vegas, you’ll hear from more than 30 experts and expats who’ve made their move overseas—to 20 different countries between them—each of them with different expectations, different personalities, and different tales to tell.

Pick their brains, chat with them, understand what made them call their new country home. Listen to them talk about the friends they’ve met, the community they’ve found, the family they’ve built for themselves.

Remember, the Retire Overseas Conference is the biggest event on our annual calendar… and this year’s event is on track to sell out.

Some of your future friends and neighbors may be in the room. Don’t miss this chance to join the party…

Valentine Fouché

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