26.4.10

Living and Working Abroad

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This is not some theoretical piece about how you might do if you decide to live and work abroad. I’ve been ‘doing it’ for more than 35 years now, it was in 1980 that I left my home country, Germany, and in all humility, I am an expert. I spent seven month in India, lived three years in Greece, another three years in England, and I have been living in Mexico for the past 20 odd years.The years in between I roamed the world.

I have not been with any multinational company that sent me to those places. I’ve been doing it on my own, sometimes with money, sometimes without money, sometimes in company, most of the time alone.


When I started off I didn’t have a profession. I was a laborer, but I was (and still am) disciplined, so I usually had no problems, in England or Greece, to find a job on a building site or in the fields, picking this, that and the other.


I started to develop myself at the beginning of the nineties as a language teacher, since by then I spoke several languages. And over time I turned into a successful teacher and translator.


Let me tell you right from the start, it wasn’t easy. In fact, sometimes I was downright desperate, because I found myself in a foreign country, not speaking the language, not knowing anybody, and on top of it, broke.


But looking back over the past 30 odd  years, I wouldn’t change my life for anything else. If you understand that living your life to the fullest implies taking risks, expanding your boundaries, and yes, suffering, then continue reading.


If you are the type of person who likes to work in a team, you are with a company that’s expanding and which needs to send some of its staff to some subsidiary abroad – do it! There is very little you can lose, and everything you can gain. Unless you are the first team member setting up that new subsidiary or field office, you will, on arrival, be greeted by your colleagues. They will teach you the ropes, what to do and what not to do in the particular culture you’ve been sent to. The human resources department will take care of your immigration issues, accommodation will have been set up most likely, and your new friends will tell you where to go in your free time, which places to visit, which restaurants to avoid.


The drawback here is that you will have left your home country only partially. You will be celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and your lifestyle on the whole will change very little.


Not that there is anything wrong with it, I’ve met plenty of executives who had been sent by their company to Mexico, and they are doing just fine. In fact, most of them don’t want to return, because here they’ve got the best of both worlds – living in a different culture and enjoying all the perks they would enjoy at home while getting paid more.

Maybe you are a schoolteacher, you’re kind of content with your life, but it doesn’t really feel as if you are living your life. Sometimes you have the feeling that you are ‘being lived’, and time just passes by. Maybe your kids have just left home, and you need that challenge. There is nothing worse than looking at your life and feeling ´Is that all there is?’.


There are plenty of openings for teachers all over the world, google it, look for it, find it – and then go for it! You can always come back…….


On a personal level, as far as growing as a human being and learning is concerned, I hesitate to imagine what would have become of me if I’d stayed in Germany. I don’t know what life is about, but I might as well live it while I’m around. And that implies looking for and finding my limits, getting to know myself as I really am, and not some weird idea I have of myself. If you like self-discovery, if you’re interested in finding and developing your potential, go for that ‘stint’ abroad.


Another scenario is that you might either have lost your job or you are worried about losing it. If you have some skill, you’re a specialist whose knowledge is in demand, let’s say in India, then you might not be at all thrilled to leave your home country. But here my advice would be the same – go for it. Most of the times the things we like the least turn out to be the ones that are best for us, particularly if it is something we haven’t done before. If you’re worried about going abroad, your worries are most likely based on hear-say.


Find out for yourself.




199 comments:

  1. Wonderful article. I been keeping up with your posts and having spent much time traveling on a shoestring in India etc, my dream is to relocate wherever that may be.

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  2. Great article, I think I'm gonna translate it to Hungarian if you don't mind and post it on this working abroad blog.

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  3. Thanks GG that was insightful! Devina

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  4. thanks. came from your twitter post. a helpful insight. thx

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  5. Wow! Convincing, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to just pack up yet. My skills are questionable. It would be nice to that though. From what read, the risk is defiantly worth it. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. This post is really informative. I used to work abroad so I know that all of these are true. I have been following your blog too.Thank you and more power to you and to your site!
    working abroad

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  7. Well done! I came to Mexico in 1988 and stayed for a while. I've been back 5 times now, this time I hope it's for good.

    Kudos to you on your successes and I'm sure that will be what you can expect more of in the future.

    Saludos,
    Deanna

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  8. Just found you as a follower on twitter and got your welcome message with this link and let me tell you I agree. I like change constantly, but definitively that creates a lack of belonging to a certain place. Mexico has that, so I understand why you have established here. It is a warm country that makes you feel like home no matter where you are from. I might leave this country once again but I always return. Home sweet home.

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  9. Your blog looks interesting. I'll be reading.
    Greetings from Monterrey.

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  10. I fully agree. Wonderful article! You was right about how to learn languages and I think you are and you was so brave. But ... why 20 years in mexico? love maybe?

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  11. Nope, Miguel Angel. There simply comes a point when moving around is not 'the thing' anymore, a simple question of age. When I reached that point I happened to be in Mexico - so I just stayed here.

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  12. I loved this article!! i think its amazing..those are really advices to always keep in mind..it was very inspirational and useful for me.. congratulations..

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  13. This is very great article and informative man. Working abroad is very good you can learn yourself with your own but it is too risk if you dont know how to fix yourself and prepare foods with your own.
    So on this you must be more willing and always have faith.

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  14. Great, I love people who feel at ease in that world. Greetings from Germany.

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  15. Really nice article, I just follow you by twitter, I took an opposite direction than you. I started off in Peru until 24 years old then I moved to Chile 9 years, Now I am living in Germany almost 1 year and just married. I know what you say, I always had this sensation for traveling, to know new places, new cultures and now I am studying german..I am Industrial Engineer with MBA and I know the principal obstacle now is the language, but I hope learn it. I do not what will happen to me in next years but I am agree with you, wherever I go I have not changed myself I am still the same guy with latin costums and I love it...

    see ya
    abel

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  16. Would love to do something similiar with living and working in Australia (perhaps gaining permanent residency) to be closer to #Aussie born family (son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren) that lives there. Any solid suggestions or tips from anyone that could help convert this dream to reality? Thank you in advance for the help.

    Jake
    idiomofoz@yahoo.com
    jake@voicebyjake.com

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  17. I am living in Portugal for over 2 years now, and it is hard. But the experiences that you receive are invaluable. Taking risks is what life is all about. No risk no glory.

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  18. A wonderful and inspiring post, Thank you. Long may you continue your journeys. I spent 3 years in Spain and 2 in Australia..now in UK.. maybe we'll bump into each other someday!

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  19. Great post! Thanks for info...Maybe when kids fly away I'll find myself somewhere on the road. I have always dreamed of that :)A human always travels to his/her self somehow ;)Only brave ones make their dreams come true. You are really one of them!

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  20. Wow, very interesting write-up, really flows from the heart. I do agree that it's very important to simply "go for it".
    Thanks for the post.
    Vitaliy, found the post through direct message on Twitter (MassBlogger)

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  21. Excellent articles thanks for the share

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  22. Hi Georg,
    Nice said. Myself I lived for 8 years abroad because I never liked my country; too cold too moisty lack of sun.......
    Found a lot of myself in this article.
    Also took the risk, but for me this risk was an opportunity to explore myself and to look for what I was searching.
    Wherever you live, dailly live is everywhere the same. You have to fight the struggle of life to survive.
    But in return you receive a wonderfull feeling of being alive.
    Had to go back for family business but the moment I can, I'll move out again ti find the inner peace.
    The advantage is that you're obliged to learn languages and that bagage nowbody will take you away, you earned that for life.
    Hola, que te vaya bien alla en Mexico
    Un saludo de Belgica

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  23. I have lived in Thailand for 7 years now and love it. You learn so much from seeing a different culture, what was important in the UK is really insignificant here. Too many people are stuck in a rut, it does you good to go somewhere new.

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  24. Living elsewhere / traveling the planet - great stuff. I have a son who is working on a world fishing documentary starting out in Egypt and then going onto Sri Lanka and India for starters. Here's a look at that:
    http://vimeo.com/17449274 What a life!

    Glad to make your acquaintance, Georg!

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  25. Qué gran artículo, una de mis maestros de inglés aquí en Chihuahua, habla como tú, dice todo eso tan interesante y significativo para las personas de todas las edades, muchas gracias por compartirlo!
    Ohhhh y el que vivas en el mismo país que yo, me parece SUUUUUUUPER!
    Karen

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  26. This has refernce to your post on Twitter throgh whic I reached this web post. Wonderful article explaining in detail regarding living abroad.....Thanks and keep it up.....www.webcontentor.com (dynamic web presence for any business vertical)

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  27. Wow! Your post was inspiring.

    Though you do not dwell on it, I am just wondering how you managed to make it abroad when you are "broke". I am sure that it must have been struggle.

    I have different take, I suppose. USA is being abroad for me (not now perhaps!). Despite it's share of problems, I would not trade USA for any other country. Of course, I will not mind visiting and learning about other culture.

    Thanks and I do agree that life is all about exploring. Thanks for great post.

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  28. I love your post, a most interesting journey indeed that rivals my own...

    In 1997 I got a divorce and was planning to move to Turkey, been there before and loved it! I only planned to stay there for 4 or 5 years and then return to the USA, however before I started my trip to Turkey I went on a short trip to the Philippines simply because I had never been there before; life in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart, but it is a land of incredible beauty and the people are just wonderful when you are away from the big cities. So after my 3 week stay, I returned to the USA for about a month and decided to return for an additional 3 weeks! Yeap! I was hooked.

    When I returned from the second trip I cleaned out my accounts and said my good-byes and changed my destination from Turkey to the Philippines where I stayed for over 3 years before returning to the USA, and then over the next 9 years I spent 70% of my time in the Philippines only returning to the USA to work briefly and build a small nest egg so that I could return to the Philippines until I needed more funds…

    While in the Philippines a created a very successful online business and traveling back and forth managed to build a handsome nest egg, but what I did not plan for and totally neglected was a medical emergency!

    The medical care in the Philippines is a D- at best, and if you don’t have money they will let you die! I do not say this to make you scared, it is just a matter of fact! In countries like the Philippines they will not give you medical care until you pay first!

    I thank God I had funds, some $30K I was billed over a four week stay, once released I managed to limped back to the USA and spent another 3 months in the hospital with a 20% chance of living because of what they did and did not do in the Philippines.

    Before this incident I was a world traveler having visited and lived in many countries! Germany for 7 years, Italy for 5 years, and believe me form there I went to every country within my reach…

    I loved to travel and would tell others in a heartbeat to travel, but not anymore. If you are going to travel, stay mostly in “Western Countries”, avoid long stays in 3rd world countries and have plenty of money for medical emergencies when you visit any country.

    There are MediVac insurance carriers, get it, it is worth every penny, stay in touch with someone at home that can assist you if you find yourself in medical trouble, keep up to date information in your country’s Embassy , and have all there emergency contact numbers with you at all times. Write down instructions in the language of the country you are visiting detailing what they should do if you are not able to communicate.

    More than anything, be aware that you are in considerable danger in most 3rd world and Asian countries should you need emergency medical treatment.

    Be prepared!

    Thanks for letting me post...

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    1. I always travel with the maximum health cover. Make sure includes medical evacuation, so you can travel while ill. Hospitals will try and keep there so they can bill your insurance company. I had a friend that died of pneumonia in India, alone in a hotel room. The hospital sent him home to his hotel. Never had any bad experience yet.

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    2. Dear James, I have had some little health issues while I was in New York City (and that's not a developing country), and since I was travelling on a shoestring, I decided to not *pay* for my health insurance during my stay. Well, that only time I did such a thing, I had fever and a severe cystitis, and I couldn't go to the hospital. I needed some urgent treatment with antibiotics, but I couldn't have them prescribed, so one of my friends who lived there, helped me with that, making his doctor prescribing the pills for himself.

      This hasn't stopped me from travelling, and Georg, I think your blog post is awesome and very inspiring. A true traveller shouldn't be scared or turned down by the cons of an adventurous trip - he'd rather make sure to have some health insurance coverage and know someone living in that place, that's it!

      Also, I agree when Georg says " si te toca, te toca" :)

      Antonella


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    3. Dear Georg - first of all, thanks for sharing the link from Twitter to your page.

      Second, dear James, I have had a "similar" experience, except it happened in New York City. I was travelling on a shoestring, so at that time I didn't buy the health insurance. I confess it's been the one and only time I have done such a thing, and after my experience it won't happen anymore. I was bleeding for a severe cystitis , and I could neither pay for the hospital (in Italy emergencies are free of charge), nor for the antibiotics prescription. Fortunately, a friend living there gave me a hand with that, so I managed to stop the bleeding and had a further check up once I arrived back to Italy.

      That said, Georg, I think your blog post is awesome and very inspiring, and I don't think these issues should let a traveller down. I have kept on travelling, except I am more careful now - knowing people from the place and a full health coverage are important, that's it!
      Also, I agree when you say " si te toca, te toca"!

      Ein gutes neues Jahr, Georg!

      Antonella

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    4. Hi Georg and peeps,
      I can only second and support your experience, Schorsch! :-)
      My way exactly and highly recommended!
      Johanna

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  29. Pretty sobering post, James, and even though it might take away some of the enthusiasm for traveling I'd hoped to generate, I have to agree with your assessment. Heed James' advice, folks, always look after the medical insurance aspect.

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    1. I had to go to the emergency ward when in Thailand last year. I was sent to a private hospital. The medical care was unbelievable compared to any European public hospital. The place was sparkling clean, and looked like a luxurious Hilton! The staff, calm and soothing. They were so efficient, had my tests, results and medication ready in a few hours! Spot on diagnosis too. I was very impressed!
      And the cost was minimal, although the meds were a little pricey, (still much cheaper than what i would have paid in the UK, or Germany ).
      Western medicare ( and lifestyle ) is truly overrated, and projected as having high standards. If you have enough money or an insurance to cover private hospitalisation , then it may be decent, otherwise....

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  30. James Finley, Denver, CO


    Hello Georg,

    What happened to me was truly an enlightening experience, and gave me tremendous foresight into an area I did not consider much prior to my incident!

    However, on the other hand, I've seen sunsets in the south pacific that were stunningly breathtaking, met people, and learned a lot about other cultures.

    I was privileged and honored to have met, courted, and married my lovely wife that is the total embodiment of exploration, adventure, and joy! Her insight and point of view is like rediscovering the world all over again.

    Believe me when I say, I will travel once again with my family; we will see uniquely beautiful places and live and work abroad as I have always promised my family, because there is so much history and beauty abroad and I want my children to explore and see the world, work and live abroad, but mindful of the social economic conditions and how it impacts a number of conditions to include basic medical care.

    I have, like you Georg spent some 25 years of my life living and working abroad; in such places as Europe where I worked for various US companies and the US government, and my trips to Asia where I made my own way by farming, I raised live stock, had a grocery store, I even had a small eatery making American food.

    Georg you are absolutely right when you say with the most basic of skills you are easily able to generate an income abroad, and if you are not afraid of manual labor it is always a skill in demand no matter where you decide to live.

    Frankly, as of late I have been keeping an eye on Dubai, a culturally diverse society, steeped in intrigue and a political machine that is appreciative of innovation and unique thinking that is ideal for those of us that dream.

    Also there is a strong economic base with state of the art community and public facilities suitable for families….

    And above all it meets all my basic requirements for me and my family, but for those of you that are single your basic needs differ greatly.

    No matter your circumstance,

    Be careful, plan for the basics, and enjoy.

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  31. I almost died 10 years ago, James, I had literally one foot inside heaven when they kicked me out again. What I've learned is to be, yes, a tiny bit more careful, and, more importantly, not too worry too much. 'Si te toca, te toca', as we say down here (if it's your turn, it's your turn).

    Keep us posted, James.......

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  32. Thank you for this amazing story. Feeling much of the same. ... "like being lived" Been mostly out of the United States for almost thirty year; since i was nineteen. Learning languages has turned into more of a hobby.

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  33. As an emerging Artist who also runs a small business and who has recently turned down some lucrative contracts so that I can concentrate on my art, I agree that taking risks and living in the present is the only way to succeed. Success is to be happy in what you do. Puts me in mind of a Robert Frost Poem ~ The Road Not Taken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzUm0wqhE7E

    Thanks for this insightful post.

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  34. wonderful..i felt that you're author...your words... your feelings.. thank you for this nice article..
    i'll wait your next article...

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  35. Excellent article Georg, telling it like it is. I can personally relate all of this. Living YOUR life is the only way to LIVE. Greetings from Thailand...

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  36. Thanks for your words, thanks for every single drop of bravery that we can find in this post.It's amazing how a lot of people can feel the same that you feel.Have a nice day,Laura

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  37. you've really good work to do.But you also try to understand the real meaning of life and after life.

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  38. If you are a wanderer or an adventurer and you want to live your life to the fullest, working in different countries or relocating sounds fun...for others it may sound scary...Young people may find it more interesting. They adjust easily into a new environment. It can be difficult for older people who are deeply attached to their homes and family.

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  39. Georg-you are my inspiration. My life also was look alike-3 countries-Russia, Germany, U.S.A. Languages, of course-problem, but i overcame. Also-without money or with money-was able to start work for myself as internet marketing. So far-was successful.Coming in U.S.A. with small child was most difficult time. But thankfully-overtime everything went great. I like your article. Thank you very much-i feel better, that i am not alone , who had difficult life. We have to be strong, motivated, etc Bella

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  40. what a way to live life that is incredible that you can live your life that way i can only hope to be able to live my life that way some day thanks!

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  41. Very interesting article. Must say you are not afraid of change, challenges or the unknown.

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  42. Magnífico artículo Georg, La aventura de la vida, "No hay un lugar más seguro que el puerto, pero no es para eso para lo que un bote fué hecho".
    Congrats

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  43. What an amazing, amazing life you've lived.

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  44. Really like your post.Find it courageous and inspiring.I have been away from home country since childhood and feel blessed for it.Speaking the language of a country and living among its people is the best way to understand the culture as well as broadening our own horizons.

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  45. Wow! Loved this article! Thank you for being someone I can't be. You are way.... too... outside my comfort zone; however, it tickles me pink to someone enjoying life and have a fun and crazy time doing it. Good luck with it! I will continue reading your stuff! Thanks!! A.

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  46. I attempted to do the exact same thing in Canada and NYC, I totally understand what you wrote about. As for me, I could not be so successful. I worked a lot, made so many friends, dated guys, learned two languages. I enjoyed all of them but that was it. I think I was seeking something huge, however, did not find anything like that. Maybe I was not good enough as a worker/learner or lucky enough as a lover to get married with someone who I loved although I am still pretty sure that I was right to challenge all of them. Now I am back in my country and working normally but I am okay so far. Thanks for the nice story. That reminds me of so many good things :) Junko M.

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  47. thanks for article!! i lived 3 different countries in my life so i know what does it mean!!

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  48. Georg, I liked very much your blog, things you have to tell. You seem to be like the birds on your layout: free and wise! :) Congratulation!

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  49. It's lovely meeting you here, dear Georg. I too am originally from Germany. I moved to the United Kingdom in 1965. You can find out more about the background of this in

    ‘Astrology in War and Peace – Between Nations’ – Table of Contents

    http://bit.ly/jLzm4d

    With love and light
    und auch mit lieben Gruessen,
    Aquarius

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  50. Thanks Georg for sharing your life experiences with us. It was a great pleasure to read this article!

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  51. Great post, Georg! I'm a fellow wanderluster. Traveling is 'mon dada' ;)

    Sandra London

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  52. Great article! I agree when you say " I wouldn’t change my life for anything else." Thanks for sharing.(:

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  53. "There simply comes a point when moving around is not 'the thing' anymore, a simple question of age." :D
    The majority of people are already living In "that" moment, as a continuous state of mind. They were born too old, but listening to you they have still one opportunity to be reborn. Isn't that great!!! Enhorabuena por el post!! Muy inspirador!!! Keep going! THX!

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  54. Georg, I love your 'just go for it advice'! So many opportunities are missed because doubt and fear get in the way. I always learn and grow so much when I travel. My ancestors are from Sicily, and while I've been to Italy a couple of times, it's time for that trip back to the ol' country... Thanks for the inspiration!

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  55. Great post, George. Thank you for sending me the link. I will be following you.

    I've lived in a several place around the world but returned to the States to raise a family. At 54 my wife and I moved to Thailand-- she is Thai but been away for over 30 years.

    I'm a writer and found it to be the perfect place for my endeavor.

    You're right about the good and bad of moving from ones homeland but I turned a few disadvantages into advantages. I speak the language but if I need peace and quiet I act as if I don't understand and find the solitude I need.

    I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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  56. I've been waiting until I had enough money to travel abroad. Now, at 50, I'm tired of waiting. I'm going with or without money. I've been talking about this for a month, Georg, then you introduced yourself and sent me this link. Strange how things work... Thank you!

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  57. I enjoyed the article, there were some good insights within. It is a different animal living abroad, filled with challenge, the potential for growth, and fun.

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  58. Perfect timing for me to receive this from you! I am currently traveling in the USA and Canada, but hope to travel Europe the year after next. Thank you for ideas and inspiration.

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  59. Thank you for sharing your story and giving us less adventurous souls a gentle kick to explore more and live abroad!

    As the Greek novelist Kazantzakis noted,"a person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free."

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  60. What a great piece. Very interesting. To me, you have such courage. Look forward to reading more. Hope you'll visit my blog http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com I write book reviews and stories about my crazy life. Hope you enjoy. Donna

    Going to post on My Life. One Story at a Time. on Face book.

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  61. Wow, what a great story, living and working abroad. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for what you do. Kim

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  62. Wow this story sounds so much like mine. I too was born in germany but came over at a much younger age, 3. My parents moved back when i was 18. It was sink or swim. I swam, almost drowned a few times, but got the second wind. Im at the age where people won't hire, so i decided to do what i love - work with animals. I recently finished dog training school, and looking for work and a new beginning...

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  63. Hi! I found you on Twitter and am your latest follower. Just like you, I have lived in lots of countries (France, Germany, Indonesia, Usa and now London). I wouldn't have it any other way -it taught me to be more tolerant, which I needed! I look forward to reading your next post. I blog about my struggle to understand the Brits on www.mumuGB.blogspot.com!

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  64. How in the world did you know??!! I just returned from my first trip to London where my husband was working for two weeks - he was on an employee exchange - and I LOVED it! We currently live in middle America and have talked many times about trying to give our girls an international experience. We've no idea where to start, though. While the company my husband works for is willing to do short employee exchanges - like 2 weeks - they've no need to ship employees off for broader/longer experiences. So that scenario would likely not play out to our advantage. At some point we'll need to get serious about this endeavor, form a plan and then start actively working the plan.

    Neither one of us want to be in the same house in Lenexa, KS in 10 years with regrets. Thanks for this post. I'm glad we connected via Twitter!

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  65. WOW this is so inspirational! Thank you for sharing your story (which is beautifully written, by the way). You really put a new meaning to the phrase Nothing is impossible. Because nothing really is impossible, it's just hard and takes a lot of time and work.

    Again, thank you for this wonderful article. It has given me sunshine for a gloomy day.

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  66. Dreaming of living in a foreign, exciting place is something many people do and your article gives some great information and steps to take.

    I live in Thailand and am a writer and I find living in a strange land keeps my mind and imagination active. Nothing else like it.

    Thanks George. Great post.

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  67. Thanks for sharing this. I feel so alive when I travel to foreign countries. It fills my soul, my heart in a way nothing else does. It is one dream to do what you are doing.....along with others :-). You are an inspiration.

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  68. thanks. came from your twitter post. a helpful insight. thx

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  69. Great article, you certainly give food for thought!

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  70. Sounds like you love change and all the positive things it brings. Good ideas and suggestions here. Thank you!

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  71. Super insightful. Thanks for posting this :0)

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  72. Hmm? Kind of ‘Feel the fear and do it...’ I tackled my arachnophobia, threw myself out of a plane. Well, travelled (sounds like a personal ad!), but never lived abroad on my own. Maybe it’s not so impossible. Thanks for the prod. :)

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  73. Georg,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. My wife and I have been recently toying with the idea and have just begun researching it.
    Best,
    Steve

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  74. Come back and tell us more.

    I gave up my job, let my house, sold my car, abandoned my daughters (adult - I'm not that bad a mother) in my 50s, to go round the world, on my own. And it was wonderful - follow my link to see what I got up to. (And the tortuous process of transforming that into a book.)

    You written anything?

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  75. Thanks for this...I'm 26 from Southern California and getting ready to leave for Ghana, West Africa in a couple months. My daughter lives there with her dad (we're divorced), and also I just have a deep love for Ghanaian culture. I'll be there for six months, if not longer. I've been scared out of my mind about it but your post is reassuring. I've never had to live on my own before. But I feel like this is the path I need to take. Thanks again.

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  76. Great Article! I am an Austrian who has been living in England for about 5 years now. It is such a great experience to meet people from different backgrounds. Yes, it is challenging at times, not only having to speak a language that is not your mother tongue but also to get used to a different lifestyle and quite often to new ways of thinking and acting. But at the same time this is the fun part, to explore something new and, at the end of the day, to discover a new you!

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  77. Very interesting article. I admire you for what you've done.

    Blessings,

    Tom Blubaugh
    Author, Night of the Cossack (historical fiction)

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  78. Gr8 thoughts about Courageous, Interesting Life Choices!! I traveled abroad for years.. ONE of the BEST things I have ever EXPERIENCED in LIFE!! BEST to U!

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  79. I left NZ in 1988 and travelled a lot when I was younger. I lived in England for 8 years and used it as a base. it was too expensive to travel from NZ. I would not change my experiences for the world.

    However, now I'm older, there is no place like home. I love New Zealand and being with friends and family.

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  80. I've always regretted not traveling when I was younger. of course, I had very little money, might've lost my job if I took too much time off, and was scared to get on an airplane by myself. But I've already decided that when my boys are teens, I am taking them backpacking through Europe for at least a few weeks. Better late than never! Thanks for a great post, Georg.

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  81. I left my country, Spain, in 1986, and live in the States now.
    Seeing other countries is indeed an adventure!

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  82. interesting article! i have lived abroad in my life. i have a sister who with her husband teaches in the netherlands. i doubt they will ever return to the US permanently. they love europe! they also lived in russia.

    great article for helping people "think outside the box" in terms of careers!

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  83. This is all so true. There is so much out there to explore and many people, including myself, do not take advantage of the opportunities. Your article makes me look at things differently. It's a great post!

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  84. I love to travel, too, and have done quite a bit, living for a while in my 20's in Costa Rica. I hope to live abroad again soon. Some people are born to travel and have adventures. If you are one of those and you don't do it, well, I am not sure you can be as happy as if you live life full-throttle.

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  85. We just returned from 2 1/2 years in Sydney while my husband worked on Happy Feet 2. We LOVED it there. I cried when I left all my friends, and I was beside myself with joy when I greeted all my old friends again. We're living in one friend's spare room between jobs and celebrating American holidays with him and his family. It's AWESOME. There are so many hard parts to moving around, not knowing when or where or how long, but it's an adventure! I think it's a little bit of what Jesus meant when he said that he came so that we all can live an abundant life. Even with the hard parts, I love it. Thanks for a great blog post. :)

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  86. Excellent post, Geor. Very inspirational. I hope to live my life to fullest as well, without feeling like I'm "being lived". I want to write, more than ever, to tell stories. You've inspired me. Thank you.

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  87. Hi Georg, wow so true!To find in life your "destiny" isn't easy. Good article! I found mine about 7 years ago, started painting to conquer the world ; ) Best wishes, Sonja

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  88. Thnks GG, your article is very useful for alot of people working and living abroad.what is so great! amazing man?

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  89. Very cool article. I'm curious to see if I follow through with what I'm wanting to do next year. I'm really looking forward to pushing myself.

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  90. You have a very good blog that the main thing a lot of interesting and useful!

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  91. Writers are the most fun to follow. We all have our little idiosyncrasies .
    Jkathleenlove-author.com
    My Beach Today Blog.spot com
    jKathleenlovefacebook.com
    K9 Concessioons twitter.com

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  92. My 21 yr old son is an adrenalin junkie and gypsy he works abroad cooking and skiing or climbing in his spare time ...he's so happy doing what he is doing but as a mum of Mr Invincible, calls at odd hours have me turning prematurely grey...he's happy thou and doing what most of us dream off what more could one want for their children !

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  93. Hola Georg, me encantaría saber por que escribes en ingles si llevas 20 años en México. La gente de habla inglesa te sigue mas que la gente de habla hispana? Gracias por compartir parte de tu vida. Es interesante. Un saludo

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  94. Hola Beth, pregunta fácil de contestar: El 99.99% de mis seguidores en twitter hablan (y twittean) en ingles. De hecho, toda mi presencia en el Internet la desarrollo en inglés. Es circunstancial, mas que nada.

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  95. Love your blog and I look forward to following your posts!

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  96. Followed the link from Twitter and I needed to hear these things right now and I mean right this very second. I'm not looking to live abroad, though I would consider it, but its more the part on taking risks and living life for who you really are and not the "weird idea" I have of myself. Thank you! I so needed this to light the fire!

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  97. Wowww, what a blog ! I surely can identify myself in some ways.

    Uprooted from my native country, the Philippines, to this so-called country of milk & honey USA, regardless of what you're used to originally, there's still the feeling of being away from home.

    True, medical care needs to be a priority in anyone's plan to go anywhere in the world. Can't rely on any institutions out there.

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  98. Love this article, Georg. I'm a British ex-pat living in the US and did it like you, by myself. No expanding company, HR dept or welcoming colleagues to show me the ropes or help me find my way. It was a desperately lonely start. I struggled for a while with things I took for granted in Britain, like getting a drivers license, establishing credit and getting a credit card, learning the laws etc. I definitely agree with you that, given the opportunity, it's a fantastic experience; however, it comes with many emotional challenges and I was unprepared. 14 years on and I'm looking to re-patriate, although I've had a great time.

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  99. Wow, terrific post Georg. My company has a division in Germany and I've been close to going there to work before. It hasn't happened yet but I keep offering. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, it was eye opening.

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  100. Very impressive, Georg. You speak the sooth of a world traveler. By the way, I'm from the U.S.A. but living in Ecuador and learning Spanish. I'm getting it, but poco a poco. BR

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  101. Learning new and other languages does not happen overnight.If I would have taken the safe road always travelled commonly,I wouldn't have seen the magnificence of the deepest valleys and mountain tops.
    I truly admire your travels and adventures.
    When you are ready to learn another language,come to my resort in the Philippines 2 hours south of Manila.I am looking for an English teacher and a business partner for English class boarding school for foreigners young and adult in a resort setting.
    Julie Cox

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  102. I'll keep that in mind, Julie, and, who knows, one of these days I might take you up on that offer.

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  103. harleypyrate02@yahoo.comJanuary 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Hmmm...New Follower on Twitter......Language Man.....I may not be the best to follow especially if'n you are grading papers at the time!!!!! You may want to use me as an example as to How not to speak! Or even Tweet! But I have an excuse......Yep(not in Websters) I'm Texan.

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  104. Georg. love this article. My husband and I moved here to Mexico 10 years ago. We lived in Oaxaca for the first 6 years, and have now settled in Puebla. Honestly, we have never been happier. I love this culture and its people.

    Pamela

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  105. Good post! It's true, traveling really does expand your horizons, especially when you take the risk to interact with the locals. Sounds like you've been all over the place.

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  106. Inspiring post, Georg! I haven't traveled near enough. One day...

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  107. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  108. What an amazing article and your experiences are fabulous!!! No matter what has happened financially, you have lived life to the FULLEST--that is what counts!!! I am totally inspired.

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  109. Excellent. There is no substitute for just doing it...but, it isn't for everyone. We each have different comfort levels for risk and uncertainty. For me...it was all, or nothing. And I've done it in the highlands of Panama. Thanks for sharing this.

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  110. Georg, I just started following you on Twitter and followed your link here to your blog.
    This article is full of insight, honesty and encouragement. Having read this, it prompts me to stretch beyond my current "comfort zone" and step out. Thanks for writing it.

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  111. Georg, Thank you for your generous spirit in sharing this. Having lived abroad in several countries for extended periods over the past 20+ yrs. I appreciate what it must have demanded of you in courage, persistence and wisdom to write this from such a balanced place. Happy to follow you my friend. @BorjeMelin

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  112. I like this article. Moved from Romania to the US to Germany. Back to the USA then Cambodja and now Australia. Elia @twitter

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  113. Hello, I too find myself overseas, albeit just for the summers. My wife is a Spaniard and I don't have a strong command of the language. It's a challenge, but worthwhile...kind of. Seems like you've had some interesting experiences...

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  114. A touching post. Thanks for sharing. M.Moussalli

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  115. Everyone should travel, and work abroad. Otherwise you do not who you are, and see people for people.

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  116. i have always wanted to travel your article just motivates me.. a great read... thanks for sharing :)...

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  117. My whole life I've wanted to live "abroad" and am spontaneous enough to do it. My only question is how do I find a job "abroad"? there aren't job boards. It seems the best way is being a teacher or a doctor. I have a psych degree. How do I do it?

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  118. Very inspiring article...I believe it takes great courage and strength to reinvent urself every time and prepare for the new difficulties.
    + If u managed to live in Greece after being raised in Germany respect ;)

    Greetings from Greece!

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  119. Very cool. Some people's birth, in a way, is a version of The Big Bang--going "back" just isn't on the menu.

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  120. wow!that was inspiring georg!really,there is no place like home.i've been here in japan for 25 years,and believe me,i know how you feel.living in my own country (Philippines),was really difficult,and i believe that she is still suffering,and needed a grace from her Creator to survive,but i miss her,and still hoping to spend my last moment there.
    in the other hand,my adoptive country japan,is a very shy ,mysterious and quiet place,nice to work here especially for teachers(english)many are from different countries ,you'll try here someday,people are nice ,and you'll experience the peace they can offer here.More power to you and may God watch over you wherever you are.
    mary rose(@riryle)see u around.

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  121. I've done some of that living both in parts of Europe and USA, yet the hamster trapped feeling leeched my free nomad soul and spirit, it is the pseudo sense of responsibility that roots us into "secure"
    emptiness. Thanks, Georg, I'm heading to Germany, Regensburg Danube, and then further...

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  122. An impressing article - includes alot of truth about life and shows that whatever you really want to do you can manage to do. Sure it is a lot easier to walk on smooth path - but..
    Wish you good luck !
    Regards from good old Germany :-)

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  123. Great review.
    Just like you, lived in Russia, moved to Hungary then Germany, UK and now again in Hungary working on my own Private English Teacher search website.

    Regards from Hungary!

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  124. Georg,

    Great content here --- an impressive mini-bio. You've got a part of all us guys inside you. Jolly good show. My sincere compliments, and very best to you.

    We are connected on twitter.

    Billy Ray Chitwood (Twitter: @brchitwood)

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  125. Thank you so much for this article! I'm in the process of a "self-pocalypse" which includes redefining myself and my passions. I doubt I'll ever satisfy my thirst for experiencing new places and other cultures. As of right now, I haven't figured out the best way to start a new adventure abroad- through studying, teaching, with an NGO, the military, or on my own using luck, hostels, and a backpack.

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  126. You're leading such an interesting life! Congratulations for savoring the depths life has to offer. Best wishes for your present and future! James

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  127. Great advice that anybody in the position to do it should follow. After ttavelling around the world for work, I ended up marrying a foreigner: I moved from Italy to the US. Then my hubby got relocated in China, so we packed our lives and moved again. After a few years we are back in tne States. Should I ever write a book about my expat experience, the chapter about China would be a very interesting one...I gave birth to my second child there and I still have chils when I think about that time. But in all this moving in and out of countries, I never felt dislocated. And that's the beauty of it.

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  128. This sounds so exciting! I have always wanted to travel and never have been outside of the U.S. I would love to experience new cultures and meet people from other countries. Money has always been an issue, but this blog makes me want to pack up and take off!

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  129. Really good article. I, like you, have lived in several countries and speak a few languages. Most of the moves were for personal reasons but a couple were for work. I have loved the adventure of getting to know a new culture, learning the language when possible and exploring new ideas. Teaching is a great way to get started.

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  130. Hola Georg,

    I am just reading your article today, 20 August 2012. It is a timeless piece and will always be appropriate.

    I second your recommendation to your readers to just go ahead and go for it.

    I am from Haiti myself and I have been living in the US since 1965. Back in 1971, I took off to Europe and stayed for nine months traveling from country to country and staying mostly in youth hostels.

    Many of the people I would meet at these hostels would invite me to visit them in their own country and that was my excuse to go explore yet another foreign land.
    In all, I have been in 14 countries not including those I stopped at on cruises in the Caribbean.

    I am now living in North Carolina, but longing to go back to Haiti. It's funny, of those European countries I visited, Germany is my favorite one. At one time, the thought of living there crossed my mind. Although I speak french, I made more friends in Germany in 3 weeks than I made in France in 6 months.

    Thank you for making me reliving those happy times through your article.

    Auf Wiedersehen.

    Harry.

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  131. Wow! You lead the life I always wanted to live, but just never had the guts! So I'll just live vicariously through your blog! Very cool.

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  132. Georg, I just saw the old '71 movie Cycles South, in which 3 guys blast off from Denver to Panama on motorcycles, in a break-neck do-it or be damned fashion. Have you ever seen it? Thanks for your blog; you have an awesome, inspiring life:-) -elizabeth

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  133. No, I haven't seen it, Elizabeth. Must be good.....

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  134. Hi Georg. I've been traveling around Europe for about 15 years myself and I totally agree with you, I wouldn't give up being an expat for anything. Your blog seems quite inspiring! Until now I've mostly been teaching English to make my living with a few translations, but would like to do translating full time. A friend of mine who follows you on twitter gave me your blog link and told me to get in touch with you. Apparently you have written an interesting new book on the matter. Could you tell me how/where I might buy it? Thanks. Ron

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  135. Hi Ron, It's not my book, but it is a very helpful resource: Business Tool Kit For Translators http://tinyurl.com/8rqcd4f

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  136. Thank you very much Georg! I'll be following your blog now too. Cheers!

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  137. Georg, I have just begun to follow your blog. I just read this post and admire that you worked abroad, having to learn the languages, culture, etc. How I would have loved to do that if given the opportunity some years ago. Special!

    I hope you will visit my primary blog, and follow, also. I'm at http://happycolorsandgrannygee.blogspot.com I'm happy to have found your blog. Granny Gee/Gloria :)))

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  138. You're an interesting man, Georg, and I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.

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  139. Great read - so much I can relate to in this, but also on a analogous level

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  140. Thanks Georg great blog thanks for sharing on Twitter. I always enjoy reading travel logs and intend on doing a bit more travelling too. Well done.

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  141. Hi Georg,

    Thanks for the follow on twitter, and I just followed your blog. Amazingly, I have the same history as you. I left a job in sales and went to work as an engineer on a private yacht, then moved between Mexico and S. America for years, before coming back to the US to complete a degree. I look forward to reading your posts on the blog and twitter.

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  142. Thanks for your spirit of working.We can learn from your experience

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  143. Sehr schön Erzählung :), Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch aber ich liebe das Sprache.

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  144. I really enjoyed your essay, and I think you've made a good choice. I have visited Oaxaca a few times and I love that city; could happily live there but for several things that keep me in US: children, grandchildren, and --no gift for languages. I can learn to read them, but have no ear; can't sing on key, can't repeat sounds I hear. Never mind; Writing in English, reading, listening, keep me quite busy. Hope to see more of your writing.

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  145. Thanks for Sharing! This is helping : )

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    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias por compartir esta historia que recorre una parte de tu vida... un pedacito de tu corazón! Bendiciones!

      Julieta.

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  146. I started to travel the world - got to south west France and stayed. I don't regret it , I have a lovely life teaching English and a lovely daughter. I do envy those who went further though. Maybe when daughter leaves home ......

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  147. Thanks for the share. My husband has been trying hard to convince me to leave the country by 2015. I have the option of trying to do it the corporate way or trying to build a new more mobile career path. I appreciate your advise and your experiences on the subject.

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  148. Nice post. I was born and brought up in India but never could consider myself an Indian. Life now has become challenging for anyone the comfort of outmoded ideas of nationalism or social identity. Individual liberty is much more than fool's talk of patriotism or national character. If nations fail you to a decent life because some outdated political ideology that is weighed heavily in favor of the rich it is time to cut your life loose and make for the broader life experience. I can speak from experience. It is time we stopped this charade of keeping up with the Jones's and learn to live your life to the full intelligently and open mind.

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  149. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  150. Totally with you on this- done the same all my life!

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  151. Excellent article. I feel inspired [again] as I used to travel a similar path. One difference: at the time I liked to have things lined up before hitting the road/tarmac/what-have-you. Now I'm 45 and the prospect feels a little more daunting. Fortunately my skill set has increased by quite a bit. AnyWho... it's a small world. Maybe we'll meet on the road.

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  152. Amazing post and I just loved reading it from the top to the bottom...yeah now my dream to come true now is to let go of africa and live either in europe or america.but the problem I always hear is racism..say. countries like russia.and others..I do some cool writing .but here we writers .it's very hard to stick to writing even if you want to publish your book..it's really hard to find readers..now I'm hoping amd praying to travel to such amazing countries to expand my talent as a younger writer.

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  153. Hi Georg

    A nice tale and a good life you have led. We too, as a family are great travellers, and have travelled all over the world but 8 year ago my wife and I decided to buy a 2nd home in the Vendee France and now we spend our time between the two countries. We lead a great life also and recommend it to others.

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  154. I have dreamed of traveling my entire life. Most girls want to get married, and have a family, but I wanted to see the world for all it's possibilities. Now I have had the dream of most girls, and my divorce is final in just a week. I graduate college in December, and I want to sink my teeth in. I want to go for it. I want to see these places I have been reading about for so long. But as a parent, I need a little more stability than I would require by myself. My youngest is only four years old. Wherever I go, she would need to go with me. Where would you recommend that I start?

    By trade, I am a writer. Already, I speak three languages. One could say I have been training for this my whole life.I just need a starting point, to go forth, and make my dreams come true.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

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  155. Very nice piece; I enjoyed it! Good for you!

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  156. Inspiring, Georg. From all the comments, you've hit a nerve.

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  157. Powerful post Georg. Makes me miss my years abroad -- the one sure daily reminder that you're alive.

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  158. Such a great story Georg, danke! You are very inspiring to me as I am working towards a similar career path. Disfruta la vida siempre!!

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  159. Thanks for this article It gives lot of energy and hope!

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  160. That's a very interesting Post , I love traveling all around the world, and meet new people and discover new cultures, i have been to Russia, Poland, Sweden, and next summer i'll go to London =) for me traveling is a knowledge and something that make you discover a lot of things , like they said "The World is a book and those who do no travel read only a page"...
    Thank you for this cute article , you can visite my blog at http://w8loss2013.blogspot.com/ don't forget to tell me what you think =)

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  161. I send my greetings and congratulations for the blog.
    I read with interest and teachings are beautiful and easy to apply in everyday life, especially help those in a position to leave their country in search of better and work and life.
    I'd be curious few lines about your impressions and experiences from Romania.
    Sincerely, I wish you a good day.

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  162. Thanks for your comment. However, I've never been to Romania, so I can't really help you there. All the best......

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  163. Thank you for a wonderful article. We have much in common. I my youth, I lived and worked many years in different countries. I see that we have some friends in common.
    Congratulations on your following and lifestyle! Will share.

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  164. Living and Working Abroad, the dream of lot of people.

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  165. Inspiring. At a sort of crossroads myself and this helps.

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  166. Great advice, George. See the world. The best takeaway of a lifetime.

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  167. "I might as well live it while I’m around." - I like the way you think. That's perfect.

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  169. Blimey! You've been pulling in the punters for a long time with this post: excellent. It's a good one and one of the few I've ever felt I could relate to. I did 30 years in Asia, funded by this 'n' that but, for about half of it, by lucrative teaching jobs in the Gulf. I'm in a bungalow, knitting, writing and gardening now, though, and I'm happy with that too.

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  170. Thanks for that article. I can relate after teaching English in China, and I think it's great that you continued to teach and travel. Every now and again the travel bug jumps around in my soul trying to get me to leave everything in the US again and just GO! :)

    I agree with Georg in that the opportunity to teach English is prevalent, and it's a wonderful way to travel while getting the support you need in a foreign country.

    Oh, you'll think of every excuse not to go unless you just listen to your heart and have faith that everything will work out one moment at a time if you decide to go. Squash fear with the boot of unforeseeable adventure & love that is yet to come from the most wonderful people you have yet to meet.

    In China, they paid for my apartment, including repairs. I only paid utilities. They reimbursed me for my plane ride to China and back. But most of all, they provided me with someone that I could call at anytime who was more than happy to help me out!

    I can't vouch for every school abroad, but the chances are if they're accustomed to having people fly across the country and live away from their families for months at a time, they're going to treat you well.

    On a different note, if anyone here enjoys inspirational piano, you can listen free at my website: www.tomharing.com

    Make it a great day.

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  171. What a wonderful "can-do" attitude you have, Georg. I think your "go for it" theme can be applied to anyone, anywhere, anytime and at any age. I'll go further, because I have experience with this one, "where you're at right now, in the moment." I say this because my life took an unexpected turn, a near death experience that changed how I live. Rather than focusing on what I've lost in terms of career, health and lifespan, I choose to "live the adventure of life, beautifully", maximizing what I do have--a great mind and an unquenchable spirit. Thanks for encouraging others to live life and live it to the fullest.

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  172. Wow, this is a good pep talk. I feel motivated to just pack up my backpack, grab my guitar and head for a random foreign location.

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  173. WOW we've actually had quite similar life! The result in my case now being Spain and dabbling in teaching and translating (English/Greek/French/Spanish) but mainly social marketing!!! We should chat on Skype sometime! Lee :)

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  174. I studied in Freiburg, (West) Germany (back when there was still West and East Germany) for a semester in college and loved it. I went there with other American students but several of us immersed ourselves in the local community to truly experience the culture. It was incredible. A couple of years later I was married and my husband studied a architecture for a semester in Italy. It was another exciting adventure. Now one of our daughters is studying in England and our son is working in Australia. I have no idea where our children will end up eventually, but we've tried to show them there is a whole world out there...go out and discover it. Glad to meet someone like-minded...although I will say you've been much more brave in setting out as you have to just go and live and work there. Thanks for your article!

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  175. Fascinating! I never even thought about traveling when I was younger being happy to settle down, get married and have kids right after college. To do it again, my path may have been very different.

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  176. Loved this article! So romantic to think of living abroad! No matter which country you are from and which country is abroad to you!

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  177. This is a very nice post of encouragement. It sounds like you have lived a very exciting life thus far.

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  178. Hi Georg, your article, although I see not a latest post, has arrived at my screen today, exactly when I fight with my thoughts of leaving my home country (Poland) forever. DOn't you think it is curious?:) Thank you so, so much for sharing your thoughts and experience tah give me courgae I need so very much now.

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  179. Hello Georg, your wonderful article made me remember the following: "There is no hill for a climber." Thank you!

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  180. Thank you for the article, I live abroad my self, your article has made me think to go back to my home land Mexico after been out for 20+ years, I think it has been a great experience, made many friends and saw many places. I am ready for another adventure :)

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  181. Interesting. Maybe I should add your site to my overview of inspirational sites. Will check more later.

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  182. Admiration Georg... Respeto y admiro mucho a quienes logran sus sueños y viven sin dejar de soñar. Gracias por inspirar.
    Thank so much my friend. (Merthea)

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  183. I must say, you are great. It take lots of courage for a person to do something.

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