Over the last decade hundreds of thousands of US Citizens have relocated to other parts of the world. Some to take jobs in stronger economies, some to take advantage of lower costs of living in their retirement years, some to protect their wealth from exorbitant US taxes, and some to reclaim the Liberties that were the promise of a United States that no longer exists. Former citizens of the States are surrendering their passports and citizenship at a record setting pace in recent years. Why? Because the Promised Land no longer lives up to its reputation. This is not just a phenomenon in the US, Western nations are bleeding citizens that seek to better themselves and their families in faraway lands, often it is the best and the brightest taking control of their destiny through expatriation.
Support Systems for Expatriates
Numerous businesses have emerged to aid citizens of Western nations relocate to new Promised Lands, which stretch from South America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe and smaller principalities in Western Europe.
As you might expect, these services are geared primarily to individuals and families with the financial means to undertake such an adventure without jeopardizing the wealth and income of the adventurer. But what about those of us with more modest means? While there is plenty of advise for budding expatriates available online and through email subscription for free; how actionable is it for someone to just go for it on a wing and a prayer? More importantly, how successful are such efforts. I plan to find out.
A Historical Perspective –
My grandfather, Nicolai (Nicola) Zayachkowsky left Ukraine sometime during the Russian Revolution a hundred years ago. Three of his brothers also left Ukraine and/or Poland during this time, but I don’t know whether they escaped together or separately – grandpa’s English wasn’t the best although he was fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Yiddish and probably Hebrew (more on that another time). What I do know is that at least one of his brothers died in a camp or Gulag, which still brought my grandfather to tears over sixty years later.
What his route to North America was, I may never know, but by the Roaring Twenties, Nicolai was building a family in the frontier of Manitoba, Canada where there was a robust Eastern European immigrant population that was creating the Bread-Basket of the Great White North. Nicolai arrived with little more than his Trade skills as a cobbler, but in short order he had accumulated enough wealth to purchase my grandmother Anastasia, who somehow acquired the nickname, Nellie. I say “purchased,” because that was the way things were done a few generations ago, as I recall, a cow a sow and a couple goats were offered to Nellie’s family for her hand in marriage at the ripe old age of 14. A crime today, a cultural norm one hundred years ago in traditional Slavic cultures. Nicolai was at least twice her age, more likely closer to three times her age.
They farmed and raised five sons as well as half a dozen foster children when their own were grown. They survived the Great Depression, though they lost their farm and wound up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where they completed raising their sons and foster sons. Nicolai owned and ran a shoe repair into his eighties, while Anastasia remained the touchstone of the family, even when their sons had families of their own.
Each of their five sons, eventually emigrated to the United States as they came of age. All but one as illegal immigrants at first, he joined the US Airforce after graduating from University. The others were welcomed in time for being industrious and successful. Their accomplishments include the founding of multiple small and medium size businesses, a career in Electrical Engineering, and of course service to the US.
So I come from a continuing line of expatriates. From Eastern Europe, Northern Canada and now the United States. Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I still believed in the American Dream that had brought success to my father’s generation. While my father dropped out of school in 8th grade and eventually turned his ambitions into a small fortune, those of us who came later were, and are held to higher standards. Proving your value with multiple pieces of paper framed on the wall is de rigueur today, while proving your worth in the market has become a rare occurrence in the centrally controlled US economy. So I completed my degree on the 20 year plan, explored opportunities across NorthAmerica from the Great Lakes to California, Oregon, Toronto, Arizona and Louisiana; started numerous businesses that were both successful and not, raised my daughter on my own and am ready for my future in a faraway land.
I may be getting a late start compared to my forbearers, but I’ve been preparing myself mentally and emotionally for this adventure. Where will I go? How will I get there? What challenges await a Bootstrap Expat with few resources? What assistance and guidance will prove worthwhile?
You’ll find out as I establish and publish my plans,
You’ll see what the actual costs are for such an adventure,
You’ll share in my frustrations and successes,
You’ll travel with me as I share the sights, sounds and foibles of my journey from the US through numerous nations,
You’ll have a front row seat to what ultimately happens when a man puts his entire future on the line to create a new life in a foreign land.
Through regular updates on this Blog, through photos and videos of what I encounter along the way, you’ll travel along with Max, New Moon and I.
To support my efforts, donations through PayPal can be made to: email@example.com
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