Family challenges of expatriation

August 30, 2010
Frankfurt Airport, Germany

Though I’m penning this letter to you from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, I will likely be somewhere over Nova Scotia by the time you receive it. My father is quite ill– I’m traveling to the United States to see him, as well as attend to some other personal business.

He’s a strong guy and I’m sure everything will be fine, but I think it will do us both some good to spend a few weeks together.

The rather unexpected nature of this trip has led me to think about the nature of family as it relates to expatriation and planting multiple flags.

I have met a lot of people, for example, who remain in a particular location simply because they find it necessary to stay near elderly parents, to be close to the kids, or because the spouse isn’t philosophically ready to take the leap.

I read a few comments about this just in our most recent post from Friday– such as Don’s remarks: Now if I could just get that one person in my life who’s the hold-up in me getting out of here…”

The reality is that sometimes the people closest to us aren’t on board with the same philosophy… or that we have overwhelming family reasons to stay in our home country.

This is simply a personal choice– people weigh the costs and benefits of staying vs. leaving, and major issues like family will (and should) have a substantial impact on the decision-making process.

For some people, the easy compromise is heading to a nearby country, like Mexico or Panama for North Americans, where they’re only a few hours away by flight. For others, a spouse’s unwillingness to leave, or the need to reside in the immediate vicinity of one’s family supersedes all other priorities.

I realize that I fall into a unique category; I’m happy to hop on a plane when necessary to come visit, but I’d much rather spend the bulk of my time exploring exciting opportunities overseas. I do, however, completely understand the logic of staying near family.

Regardless of personal priorities, though, everyone should still be making basic preparations. We are living in an age of turmoil– economic adversity, constant government bungling, resource shortages, environmental problems, social strife, the steady erosion of civil liberties, etc.

Given the social trends and the historical patterns of elected leadership, it looks like things are going to get much worse for a long time.

Don’t get me wrong– I am not making a prediction for doom and gloom, nor am I trying to stoke fear. You know me well enough by now to recognize that I’m an optimist, and frankly I don’t think that there’s anything to be afraid of in all of the coming chaos… if you’re prepared.

Ultimately, the solution to surviving and prospering in challenging times is to take steps towards becoming more self-reliant. Those who depend 100% on the existing systems– corporate jobs, fiat currency, the pension system, our food transportation network, law enforcement agencies, the government’s ability to ‘fix’ things– may find their lives turned upside down.

Making basic preparations does not have to be complicated, costly, or time consuming… it’s simply a question of putting yourself in the right frame of mind– are you the type of person who will wait for others (the government, employer, police, etc.) to fix everything… or the type of person who will solve your own problems?

With the right attitude, everyone can be the latter– self-reliant, prosperous, and solidly confident about the future… even if family obligations are holding you back geographically.

About the Author

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.