Today, I'd like to talk about something a little different.
Against my better judgement, I've been spending more time on Twitter, and I couldn't help but notice a trend.
For various reasons, a lot of people think the West is going to shit.
And a lot of people want to get out and relocate to greener pastures.
But, is "Escaping the West" due to cultural decline really a legitimate reason to move abroad?
Here are my thoughts.
Feminism, Cultural Marxism and the General Decline of Western Culture
Yes, this is a problem. There's no denying it any longer.
You've got people punished for sharing their opinions, regressive "equality" laws, men acting like women, women acting like men and transgenderism being inexplicably made to seem like an important world affair (I have nothing against transgender stuff, but it is an entirely disproportionate issue).
Everyone is divorced and/or depressed. The most important thing in people's lives is the jobs they hate but must remain in to pay for the house or apartment they can't afford.
Anyone who's reasonably perceptive can see there is immense cultural degradation occurring in the West.
Coming from the most liberal province in Canada (aside from Quebec), I had a front row seat.
So, is this decline a legitimate reason to move abroad?
But, before you book that ticket, here are a few things to consider.
1. Where will you go? What are your expectations?
If you're fed up enough with the West for the above reasons and feel you need to get out, you need to think long and hard about where you plan to go. If the recent attacks on free speech have got you fuming, I query the logic behind moving to a country like Nicaragua or Thailand, where free speech can get you imprisoned or even killed.
Are you unsettled by high divorce rates? Eastern Europe has among the highest in the world.
Don't like all the transgenderism? Well, cross Argentina off the list, because public support for transgender rights and recognition is higher than in the USA. And Mexico isn't far behind.
...Brazil is full of transgendered people!
Feminism? Well, there are plenty of countries where you can go where it hasn't taken hold as strongly as in the United States, Canada or Western Europe. But you'll never escape it entirely - the most fervent feminists I've met in my life haven't been Americans, Canadians, Brits or Australians.
They've been Brazilian.
Point is, you'll never find the perfect country. That's why it's important to figure out what you're willing to put up with, and what you're willing to give up.
We'll get to that later in the post.
2. Can you move somewhere in your own country?
If you don't like what you see culturally in your city, can you move somewhere else in your home country?
I've done two massive road trips through the United States. I've seen more of it than I have my own country, or perhaps any other place on earth aside from Mexico.
The United States fascinates me. It's so diverse. People in Louisiana are vastly different than folks from California. If you don't like the weather in Oregon, you can move to Florida (us Canadians don't have such a luxury).
Don't like what you see in San Francisco, what's stopping you from moving to Boise, Idaho? Or Fargo, North Dakota?
Shit, why not go to Puerto Rico!?
If relocating in your own country seems like too much of a sacrifice, I doubt you'll be happy in another country.
3. How much does social justice affect you?
If you spend a lot of time on Twitter or Internet forums, you might be convinced that the "Decline of the West" is a bigger issue than it actually is.
Ask yourself if this is something that is really affecting your everyday life.
Sure, I know the future implications of it all - misguided equality laws leading to communism, feminism getting so out of control that men are treated as second-class citizens, transgenderism becoming normalized to the extent that parents don't bat an eye when their kid says they want to chop off their cock...
But, I'm talking about right now. Is this shit really affecting your day-to-day life? And, if so, how much? If it's a lot, is there anything you can do about it?
While living in Canada, I noticed a lot of things related to the above that pissed me off. Taking a couple of Women's Studies courses in university for easy credit woke me up to how crazy folks have become.
But I can't say it infringed on my life all that much.
My inner circles didn't subscribe to it, nor did the girlfriends I had.
I took a couple jobs where I had to work under women, and I can tell you that it wasn't ideal, but I left those jobs and started working for myself.
Without being conscious of it, simply by following my own tastes and values, I managed to arrange a life largely free of social justice warriors.
In Vancouver, Canada of all places.
If I can do it, I'm sure you can as well.
Are You The Problem?
You need to do some introspection and get down to the root of the issue.
Does your dissatisfaction have to do with your environment?
Are you not attracting the women you want?
Maybe try hitting the gym or working on your social skills before moving to another country where your value is higher simply due to your skin colour. You might find that life at home gets better.
(P.S. I'll admit that I enjoy a slight boost in sexual market value when I'm in Latin America, but it's not THAT significant. Certainly not so much that I'd consider it a reason to leave Canada).
Not making enough money?
Instead of moving to a cheaper country, why not do what you can to make more? Being middle class in the United States is much more enjoyable than being middle class in South East Asia or Latin America. If you get stuck in the mindset of getting by on less money, you might eventually find yourself broke in a foreign country.
Not a good situation to be in.
Bored with your routine?
Try something new. Western countries are the best places in the world to pick up a new interest. You have everything available at your disposal. Christ, just about every hobby you could ever want to pursue can be found on Amazon.com these days.
While moving abroad will force you to shake up your routine, it won't last.
At first, it will feel "right." You'll find that being bored is impossible. Everything from buying bread to taking a bus will be vastly different from what you're used to.
But what happens after six months? A year? When all the new experiences suddenly aren't so new anymore and become part of a... boring routine?
You may find your old sense of dissatisfaction creeping back.
What will you do? Move again?
Don't count on a move abroad to be the catalyst for positive change if you haven't defined what needs to change in the first place.
The simple act of relocating won't fix anything about who you are as an individual.
Sure, it can be a meaningful and/or necessary step on a long journey, but it isn't the only thing you need to do. Before you decide to move abroad, make sure you've done everything you can to be happy in your own country.
If you've done that and still feel a void, consider relocating.
What Do You Value? What Are You Willing To Sacrifice?
If you're considering a move abroad, you must clearly define your reasons for doing so. Only then can you determine if a certain country out there might better suit your needs.
A good first step is to realize all of the things Western countries provide that you may be taking for granted.
For instance, efficiency and customer service.
It won't take more than a day in any Latin American country to realize that customer service is horrible and efficiency is non-existent. It may seem amusing and even charming at first, but it will grind you down. Even picking up a package from the post office can take more than an hour.
Another thing is not getting fucked over.
Say what you will about Western countries, but at least people aren't trying to fuck you over each day. In Latin America, every time you order a meal or take a taxi, there's a decent chance someone will try to rip you off.
Oh, and watch out for people stealing the electricity from your apartment. That happens a lot here, too.
One thing I love about Canada is that I can walk around alone, at all hours, wearing the clothes I want, with very little fear of getting robbed/assaulted. In most developing countries, that's a luxury you'll have to give up.
Not to mention language.
Are you willing to dedicate yourself to learning another language? Even if you are, keep in mind that it will take ages before you're able to understand and communicate at a high level.
I've been learning Spanish for a few years now, and I still have moments where I'm like "what the fuck did that guy say?"
And moments where people look at me like "what the fuck did that guy say?"
There are many places where you can get by in English, but you'll be closing yourself off to most of the culture and community (which are likely two big reasons why you moved abroad in the first place).
Also, there's pollution, corruption, dirty tap water and food poisoning to think about.
Of course, there are advantages, too.
The cost of labour in developing countries is cheap. So, even if it takes three electricians over the course of 2 weeks to get lights in your house, at least it will be more affordable than it would be in the United States.
The cost of living in general is much cheaper. This is a big plus. Fresh fruit and vegetables, rental prices, nightlife and transportation are much more affordable than in Western countries (well, they will be for you...not as much for locals).
Finally, the lifestyle is more favourable. In Latin America, people seem much happier than they do in Canada. There is a larger focus on family, friends and community. If you make an effort to integrate into your adopted culture, you'll be rewarded in this sense.
But keep in mind, although you may find meaningful friendships and relationships, you will be viewed as an outsider by most people.
If You're A Man, Ask Yourself This Simple Question
It will seem ridiculous, but as a single man, this is the most important question you can ask yourself before deciding to move abroad.
Here it goes...
Imagine if you had some sort of accident that meant you couldn't lay pipe.
Or (if it's easier) imagine that you're married and you don't want to cheat on your spouse.
Would you still be happy living in your adopted country?
An honest answer to this question will immediately throw things in perspective and help you work out if you legitimately like the place, or if you're seeing it through pink-coloured glasses.
If You Do Take The Leap, Here's What You Should Do
If you're sold on moving abroad, but aren't yet sure where to go, here's what to do.
Make sure your finances are in order.
If you want to live in a foreign country, you're going to want to make sure you're earning a higher salary than the locals. Ideally, you'd be in the top 10 or 15% of income earners in the country if you moved. Even if you're young and can get by on less than $1,000 a month, chances are your personal income requirements will rise as you get older. Even for me, at 27 years old, I'm finding I need more money than I did at 23. I expect this will increase every few years until I'm 40 or so. You're going to want to account for a standard of living increase. People's needs change.
Whether you're working online, got some passive income or a good chunk of savings, make sure it's enough to keep you well above the local average.
Narrow your search down to a continent or two.
This can be done at home. Even if you've never been to a place, with enough research, you should be able to decide on a few places that could be a good fit for you. After that, narrow down some cities.
Book a trip.
Visit the places you've narrowed down. Spend as much time as you're able in each. If you hate one, move on. If you like one, stay awhile to see what's up. Talk to locals and explore as much as you can. Research apartment prices, figure out how hard it is for a foreigner to get a visa or residency (or what tourist visas are like, i.e can you border hop and come back without issues?), get a feel for the nightlife, the women, the food, the traffic.
Take a great deal of fucking notes to keep things fresh in your mind.
Be Conscious Of The Honeymoon Period
Don't mistake a new experience for the promise of a better life.
When you arrive to a new country, there will be a honeymoon period. During this time, the pros will overwhelmingly outweigh the cons.
- Waiting a few extra minutes in the grocery store checkout cue will mean nothing when you're surrounded by beautiful women.
- The risk of being robbed will seem petty in comparison to $1.00 beers.
- Having intermittent Internet won't seem like a big deal when you live walking distance from the beach.
But an accumulation of these little things will wear you down.
In Mexico City, my honeymoon period lasted for about a year. Sure, I immediately noticed blatant inefficiencies, but they didn't bother me; I was having too much fun.
But, once I settled into life in the capital, things like the excessive traffic, horrid pollution and waiters trying to add a little extra to my bill started to piss me off.
It's important to be aware of the honeymoon period. Particularly, when it ends. Only when it ends and you can see the city more objectively will you know if the pros truly beat the cons.
Of course, there will be flaws in every city - I'm not saying you should look for perfection.
The kind of expats that have no negative sentiments about their adopted home have either fashioned a way to completely sidestep the frustrating aspects of living in a developing country (i.e. they have a good income or nest egg that doesn't depend on the local economy or business environment...and they never leave their house), or they're lying to themselves.
Nowhere is perfect.
And that's OK!
A country doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be the best fit for you based on what you value. If you find that you're not suited to life in a Western nation, moving abroad is a perfectly reasonable choice. But it should not be taken lightly.
You Can Always Go Home
If you don't like living abroad. Remember, you can always go home. You don't have to feel like you've "failed."
Any expat who says shit like "Well, I guess life in Colombia was too hard for him," is projecting like a motherfucker.
Chances are, life in the United States, Canada or Australia was "too hard" for them, which is why they relocated to a country where they could live off $1000.00 a month.
Sometimes, it takes leaving to truly appreciate what our home countries have to offer. There is no shame in turning back if things aren't working out to your preference.
My motivation for moving abroad wasn't complete dissatisfaction for Western culture, but rather a fascination with Latin American cultures and countries. I believe this helps a lot with mitigating some of the objectively annoying aspects of living down here.
I'm of the mind that one should have a legitimate interest in the country/city they move to; something that extends beyond the beaches, beautiful women and cheap cost of living. Superficial things aren't sufficient to keep you happy when the going gets tough (and it will get tough).
Remember that when you're deciding on a place to live.
In closing, "Escaping the West" is a legitimate reason as any for moving to another country - if those of us living abroad weren't at least a little bit dissatisfied with life in our home countries for various reasons, well, none of us would be abroad.
But, in and of itself, it's not going to be enough. You have to know where you want to go and the reasons for it.
(And be ready to put up with some bullshit once you finally get there).
At the end of the day, you'll never know until you try.
Thanks for listening.
Until next time,
Want to read more about Expat life? Check out this post.