I picked up Robert Nelson’s new book with great anticipation, and I was not disappointed. This is a really absorbing read. Adventurers Abroad is a compilation of narratives from fourteen different expats, discussing everything about the experience of living and working abroad. While this is something of acute interest to me, it should also prove worthwhile for the armchair traveler.
Nelson opens the book with an introduction that includes some statistics about expats, from a study that he commissioned. He was surprised to learn that there are more Millennials out there in the expat world than there are Boomers, meaning that it is more of a phenomenon for young working people than for retirees. What surprised me was that there are 7 MILLION American expatriates! That’s up about 75% since 1999. This makes the dream of living abroad seem suddenly much more feasible. Everyone is doing it, so why can’t we?
The personal narratives cover the map, literally and figuratively. There are single people, couples, and families with children of various ages. There are people who have chosen one particular country for a new home, and others who plan to relocate periodically. There are small-town Middle Americans and those who have emigrated multiple times. Some are entrepreneurs and some were placed by their employer. People moved for education, romance, professional opportunities, or simply because they were enamored with a special culture.
Anyone who has any level of interest in relocating to a foreign country should consider reading Adventurers Abroad. It has a lot of “if only I had known sooner” tidbits. One theme mentioned by several people was either that doing a year of research had really paid off, or that they wished they had spent more time researching than they did. In one sense, relocating is more straightforward than we think it is: pack and go! In another sense, it is a very complex undertaking, and it’s impossible to be too prepared. Reading an upbeat, detail-filled book like this helps make the dream seem much more approachable.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.