One morning you wake up and grab your coffee and watch the morning unfold in front of you. But as you gaze out across the paradise that has become your adopted home, an odd new feeling nags at you.
But it's not really a new feeling, it's an old one that you keep pushing aside. But every time it comes back. And each time it's a bit stronger.
Memories of your time in paradise come marching past in a dizzying collage. Each frame reminds you of some remarkable experience. But toward the end of the slide show, the experiences are ever more troubling.
By the time you finish your second cup of coffee, it comes clear. It's time to leave.
We all faced that possibility when we decided to expatriate. It didn't seem very probable then. We left our jobs, sold our homes, said goodbye to friends and family and looked forward to an important new chapter in our lives. How many times did you tell yourself or your friends that you would spend the rest of your days as an expat?
Your investment in paradise may be financial, emotional or spiritual. Some of us invested in hobby businesses. Others built their dream home. A number found a new life partner and started a new family. A few did all of the above.
Maybe you have been deluding yourself for months, perhaps even years. But something makes you realize that the time for repatriation is now. You may be able to identify several reasons for your decision. Sometimes it's can be one major incident.
Financial Reasons for Repatriation
- Overspending - A remarkable number of expats decide to "live a little" when they arrive in paradise. A few weeks of high living become months or even years. Cash reserves can deplete very quickly.
- Bad Decisions - More than one expat has been played for a sucker by a pretty young wife with expensive habits. A divorce forces some from the house they built for cash, and there is no realistic way of recovering their investment.
- Misfortune - A pension or investment that an expat relies on for his income is suddenly no longer sufficient or available.
- Medical - As you get older, medical insurance is no longer available, or the premiums become exorbitant. A medical condition is not covered. Returning to the public medical care assistance of your home country is your only financial alternative.
Cultural Reasons for Repatriation
- Laws Change - Visa regulations change. Financial requirements for visas change.
- Cultural Change - When you arrived in paradise the country's culture fit nicely with your perception of how things in life should be. But some cultural aspects of developing countries tend to change much more rapidly than in developed countries. Those changes often make the culture more like those of developed nations.
- Perception - When you arrived you saw only the top layer of the culture. Time lets you peel back layers and see more of the reality. In the early days it was much easier to make excuses for negative experiences. As time marches on and the layers come off, making excuses for cultural negatives becomes much more difficult.
- Friends & Family - You may start missing friends and family so much that moving back will make you a happier person. Maybe you need to go back home to take care of someone.
Fallback Plan - Do you have a plan to deal with a decision to leave your adopted country? If not, you should probably be making one. But that's a different discussion.