There Must Be Some Way Out Of Here; Dreams of a wannabe ex-patriot
Every presidential election year, you hear stories of Americans declaring that if so and so wins they are going to leave the country. That's right, just pack up and move out of America. Screw this place, I can no longer live here. Canada will love me. Puerto Vallarta seems like a good place to settle down... etc. It all sounds great until you get down to logistics. Believe me, I have been there. I would have left in December of 2004, but the powers that be (my wife) and the threat of quarantine, (my 2 dogs) prevented that from going anywhere but fantasy.
Why did I want to leave my own country, my extended family and friends, and everything I had worked for my whole life? Because I had lost complete faith in the American political system. The fact that America had been so completely, unbelievably, inexplicably duped into believing that George W. Bush was a good President and deserved to be re-elected made me sick and embarrassed. I lost all faith in the media and our electoral process. The fact that corporations and billionaires and lobbyists can control our elections as they do is not something I want to be a part of. And that goes for both parties. The game is rigged by the country club players on both the Democratic and Republican sides.
So I would have left, and, given my positive experiences outside of the U.S. vacuum, I'm sure I would still be there, laughing out loud at the absurd and scary election of 2016. And I would still leave, TOMORROW, but those powers that be still like it here, so I am stuck with my fantasies, far, far away.
Now, many more Americans are stuck in this quandary, as our two choices this time around piss off just about everybody. To the right, Hillary Clinton is evil and communism personified, and to the left, well... Donald Trump is just beyond a bats--t crazy narcissist and will literally bring down the world economy. And, NEITHER party likes it's own candidate. That is a recipe for disaster that will be fascinating to watch, but as I said, I will not be watching from far enough away. My blast shield will not contain it from within the borders.
Where to go?
So, let's say your candidate loses, and you have sworn to all of your loved ones that you are DONE and getting out of Dodge. Where does one expatriate? My first choice was Victoria, Canada (an island gem on the southern west coast). I am from Oregon, so staying in the Pacific Northwest seemed like a good idea. Victoria is gorgeous, and not anything like the arctic wasteland that is most of Canada. It's kind of (and literally) like choosing between Washington State and Alaska. It is rainy, yes, but not butt cold like the remaining 98% of the country for most of the year. They call it the 'Riviera" of Canada for a reason, it doesn't get much nicer anywhere else.
But it is, Canada, nonetheless, and not the cabana filled, tropical oasis some of us dream of. We have discussed Costa Rica, and Panama, both very popular with ex-pats because they are American friendly and have affordable tropical beauty. But when you look to the tropics of Central and South America, you also have to consider the dicey politics and the billions if insects that also want to live there.
If you have money, the obvious choice is Europe. If you want to find work, the obvious choice in Europe is Great Britain. If you are willing to learn French, France would be a fantastic choice. You can pull off visiting France knowing only English, but I would never live there without a decent understanding of the language. That would be embarrassing.
Italy, on the other hand, doesn't give a crap if you know Italian. Most of them speak English on one level or another, and if you cherish food and wine, as I do, it is the perfect escape. Their politics are so screwed up that you don't have to worry about offending anyone, because they are too busy offending each other. It is the ideal place for ignorant bliss. If you want to escape the worlds' problems and just hang out at a local ristorante and sip Chianti and eat great food, this is your final destination. You could learn Italian for fun, just to find out what they are all arguing about.
I have not been to Southeast Asia yet, but there are many Americans living in Thailand and Vietnam, and if Anthony Bourdain is right, the scene is very happening and the food is fantastic.
I would like to to hear from any ex-pats who have read this and get some feedback and ideas, so please comment and give me your views.