….slips into the background and the comment topics take over. Comments are where the conversation REALLY starts.
Yesterday I wrote about my vague feeling of being duped by ‘the news-of-the-day’ (Coronavirus) when, in fact, I should remain focused on the biggest topic of the past three years (Mafia takeover of the White House). But that’s just me wondering about me….
People wrote in and the topic morphed to greed and avarice and morality and all that….
Of course, I cannot write about Trump and other diseases all the time. I am inclined to, I admit, but real life, Off the Grid life, real adventures and the extraordinary derring-do of the Mighty Sal is what the blog title above promises and I really should stick to that the majority of the time.
But I am in a parked moho right now……sitting like a giant lawn ornament on my friend’s front yard….not much in the way of OTG to actually write about. I am not even really moho-ing. I am parked! So, let us today strike a compromise topic: foreign travel.
As readers know, I love living OTG and I will never ‘go back’ to so-called civilization which I now perceive as ‘incarceration-with-more-space’, enslavement but with benefits. I truly see ‘modern life’ as having most of the real choices taken out. It seems you are programmed, managed, ruled, taxed, penalized and bored-out-of-your-gourd for at least your typical forty working years – even longer for some folks lately. (OK, it wasn’t that bad but you get my point)
I honestly believe that even those who love their profession, do not love all that goes with it. I think we self-restrict with debt and obligations. I think we believe the First World is the best (and so we don’t have to think what to do, we just follow the herd) and, it is not the best – not for the health and happiness of the majority and definitely not for most of the time. I truly think that urban life and the money-chase is simply a choice amongst many lifestyles but most people enter that lifestyle unconsciously. By default. They are pushed. And then, over the years feel trapped but don’t know why.
The answer is: you had choices but did not know what they were* so you went with the default position, the office, the cul-de-sac and the dysfunctional family. You joined the herd.
*And you did not know your choices because the TV fed you the system, your school taught you the system, the community ‘sold’ you the system, your country brainwashed the system into you and any free thinking out. Your peers get cars and girlfriends. So…you want one. For many people, a taste of free-thinking came only from a foreign travel adventure and most people do not travel.
The good news? Your choices as you age are less but there are still some and that brings us to the topic of travel. Over 9 million Americans are living as ex-pats. And more and more are looking into it. This year alone (maybe it was last year) the number of applications for US passports jumped a record 50%. People ARE getting out! Or, at least ‘looking to get out’.
To be fair, 9M is not a huge dent in a 350M population. A little under 3%. But, that is 9M who are already officially relocated. And, really? That number is easily twice more than that because a huge number simply live overseas for the length of their vacation visa. Or ‘temporary resident permit’ or whatever. Many ‘Mericans call Canada their second home without actually committing to residence or landed immigrant status.
Why did/do they leave?
With Trump touting ‘the greatest economy’ (which is so much a lie) and the US long and universally perceived as the land of milk and honey, why would anyone leave? The reasons are as you would expect…..mostly. But reason #1 is (surprisingly) l-o-v-e. Seems people fall in love with a foreigner and then the couple stays in one country or the other. Nine million of those romantics choose to live in the ‘other’ place.
I forget the ‘countries of choice’ but some were surprising. Nigeria is right up there but that is likely due to younger Americans working in the oil fields. Ecuador and Panama and Costa Rica are right up there amongst recent retirees and, of course, Mexico is high on the list from longer-established retirees. And, so it goes. The reasons those people give for leaving are what you’d expect. It’s always cheaper. Health Care is always WAY cheaper. People are friendlier, the pace is slower, the wine/cafes/housing are better. And, naturally enough, there is a percentage of US quasi-political refugees and Canada, Europe, New Zealand seem to get many of them. So does Mexico, still.
Trump is the likely reason for the 50% record increase in passport applications, tho. That seems to be what was being said by ex-pat comments. Still, GW Bush generated more than a few evacuees. My guess is that, if Bernie gets elected, a lot of rich Republicans will be spending more time out of the country.
Would I leave Canada and OTG? Abso-bloody-lutely! But only in January, February and maybe a few weeks tacked on either end. I have definite snow-bird tendencies. Well, ‘flightless’ snow-bird tendencies…..(yes, I know that the Dodo was flightless). So, I have been looking.
Panama seems appealing but is getting more expensive (like Costa Rica). Uruguay is pretty good as far as being inexpensive, rustic, healthy and safe but that is relatively recent, I suspect. Chile has been a stable, modern and still an inexpensive country for a very long time. And I have an attraction for Argentina. For me, the most attractive option would be to go to Santiago, Chile and then travel across the Andes to Mendoza, Argentina. And I can get to Chile by boat! I can motor-bike (a la Che) from Santiago to Mendoza in six hours!
“Dave! You and Sal going to Chile?”
I dunno. Like all our adventures, I have to talk it up. Lots. I’ve just started. And, if I have talked myself hoarse over a long enough period of time to have made a dent in her general interest, she may deign to say, “Hmmm…you been nattering on about Chile for awhile…..waddya got?”
That is when it all really starts.