Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Overseas Exile Expat Survey Results — Politics

Today is part 4 of the Overseas Exile survey results. It's all about that subject we love to hate: politics. The answers may surprise you. As usual, click on the images for larger versions.

If this is your first time reading the survey, see also:

Starting off with the last US presidential vote, 63% of expats said they voted. This contrasts with 57% of the general US population voting.

234 participants by voting in last presidential election

Monday, November 25, 2013

Overseas Exile Expat Survey Results — Emotions

Today's summary of expat results revolves around expat's emotional responses to being an expat. In other news, I'm learning more about Excel's pivot tables and am doing a better job labeling them. As usual, click on imagine for a larger picture.

See also:
Fully three quarters of expats are very or somewhat happy to be an expat. Only 15% of expats are somewhat or very unhappy.

234 participants by how happy they feel being an expat

Friday, November 22, 2013

Overseas Exile Expat Survey Results — Living Abroad

This is the second entry in my Overseas Exile 2013 US Expat Survey results. Click here for the first entry, covering "Personal Information" about expatriates. Click on any image to see a larger version.

The second part to the survey was about "life abroad". Slightly more than half of participants felt that the local's had a better quality of life than in the US, with slightly less than a quarter feeling it was about the same and only 20% feeling that locals were worse off than the US.

235 participants by local quality of life

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Initial Overseas Exile Expat Survey Results

Image by Mizunoryu
As of this writing, the US Expat Survey has 235 responses. That's after removing obvious "joke" responses and duplicate responses. Duplicates were determined by seeing all 50 questions answered identically, with freeform responses required as those require people to type in an answer and those are unique enough to say "yup, this is a duplicate". The survey's only been running for nine days, but almost all of the responses were in the first three days. I'll leave the survey up, but I don't expect significantly different results.

Keep in mind the following:
  • Internet surveys are notoriously unreliable
  • Publishing results is more likely to bias subsequent results
  • Internet surveys are notoriously unreliable
In other news, consider this information "fun" rather than useful.

Friday, November 15, 2013

An American's Adventures in London

The unglamorous Hayes and Harlington Train Station
Photo by Sunil060902
If you're an American living abroad, please complete the Overseas Exile expat survey.

It's not always glamorous being an expat. Rather than give you a proper post today, I'm going to take us back in time to March 2007. I was "living" in London (the quotes will become clear in a moment) and wrote a rather odd blog post. Back then, I was blogging to tell friends what I was up to, rather than blogging for a general audience. As such, the tone of my posts was considerably different from the material you get today. Before I share the post, I should explain the circumstances that my readers at the time understood.

I moved to Nottingham, a small town a couple of hours north of London, in June of 2006. Just over half a year later, the company I was working for announced they were shutting down the Nottingham offices and if we wanted to keep our jobs, we had to move to London. To make a long story very short, the company put all of us up in a hotel for three months — a hotel in Hayes, a suburb of London once described by George Orwell (yes, that Orwell) as "one of the most godforsaken places I have ever struck."

Case in point: shortly after we were herded into this hotel in the middle of nowhere, someone was murdered in the pub next to the hotel. The pub was packed, but there were no witnesses. Those of us in the hotel started referring to it as "the murder pub." We avoided that pub and either we made the long trek into London via the miserable Hayes and Harlington train station or we sat in the hotel bar, night after night, drinking. Sometimes startled guests would walk into the common area of the hotel to find my colleagues wearing pajamas, watching "footy on the telly" with a lager clenched in one hand and the remote in the other (to prevent people from changing the channel). Living in this hotel is how I came to write the following blog entry entitled "Gustatorial Adumbration and the Sheep of the Universe".

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Red State France Is Doing Fine, Thank You

Released under GNU Free Documentation License
Standard and Poor's has cut France's credit rating, apparently concerned that France can't rescue itself from its current financial troubles. For would-be expats, this is important. When my wife and I were considering options other than Paris, Cyprus was one location that I was looking at because it looked great: it was inexpensive, great weather and part of the EU. And then the financial crisis hit and it looked, at one point, like everyone with a bank account in Cyprus was going to have funds stolen by the government. Cyprus would not have been a particularly brilliant move on our part.

So yes, you want to know if the economy in your target country is stable and many people may be legitimately concerned about France. In fact, I regularly get email from people who are worried about Europe in general. With half of the US poor or in poverty, it seems strange to think that Europe is worse off, but when S&P and others sound the alarm, people get nervous.

There's only one problem with Standard and Poor's credit rating cut for France: S&P is full of merde.

Unfortunately, to understand their error, you need a lot of background.

Monday, November 11, 2013

US Expat Survey

Image by Mizunoryu
If you are a US citizen currently living outside of the US, please complete the 2013 Overseas Exile US expatriate survey. Identifying information is not collected and if any is provided, it will not be made public.

Please share this survey with any other Americans living abroad, including on forums.

I will start publishing initial results as they come in. Full results will be published later when it's clear the response rate is dying down. Raw information may be made available, but only after I have removed any potentially identifying information.

Due to the nature of Internet surveys, the information shouldn't be relied upon. Further, it's a given that many US expatriates living in countries with limited internet access are unlikely to see this, possibly skewing the results.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Future Expats: Emigrating to Mars

Natural color image of Sol 52 on Mars
Photo courtesy of NASA
Forgive me for today's flight of fancy, but given that I love being an expat and I love science fiction, the two naturally converge from time to time.

There are currently two different companies who have long-term plans to colonize Mars. SpaceX, long-term, envisions a colony of 80,000 people on Mars. Mars One, on the other hand, plans to colonize Mars and use reality TV subscriptions to pay for it. With an increasing number of space-based companies, sooner or later someone is going to try to colonize another celestial body. As it turns out, expatriation to Mars has interesting social and legal consequences.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Are You Ever Going Home?

My home is wherever they are.
I'm routinely asked if I'm "ever going home". The presumption that people would know where my home is perplexes me. I've lost count of the number of times I've moved. I do know that by the time I had my first, clear, concrete memories — aside from fleeting will-o-wisps of memories of Japan — I had already lived in five "homes". By the time I had graduated high school in Texas, I had attended six public and one private school. My sister, Gayle, left home when I was 12 or 13, and I lived in the middle of nowhere without so much as a phone, so I lived in isolation for many years, with no long-term friends, knowing only that there's a huge world out there and I wanted to see it.

So no, I'm not "going home." I wouldn't even know what that is, aside from my happy life with my wife and daughter. Were I alone and to leave France and had to settle down permanently, I expect I'd go to the UK. I have lots of friends and family there (not to mention work), but in reality, I'd probably keep traveling.

I've already lived in Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and now France.  But I want to see Malaysia. I want to swim in the Atlantic off the beaches of Montevideo. I want to see if Australian BBQ can hold a candle to what I grew up with in Texas. I want to live in a high-rise in Hong Kong. I want the rain pouring down as I walk along a neon-splashed Tokyo street, carrying bags of groceries. I want to see the look of joy on my daughter's face when she sees the start of the great wildebeest migration at Ngorongoro. I want to have a romantic dinner with my wife in Santiago.

I am home and I always will be, no matter where I am.

PS: I'm looking for a new contract. If you're looking for a strong Perl developer with extensive database and testing skills, let me know.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Moving Abroad by Getting Married

Your author and his wife, married at Tower Bridge
Because I no longer live in the US, I've been called a traitor more than once. This is generally from people who probably give amusing definitions of what a traitor is. Were my French wife to live with me in the US, I wonder if they would call her a traitor too? Probably not. But at the end of the day, if you marry someone from another country, at least one of you is going to wind up living in a different country. Damned traitor.

In the years of writing this blog, I have never specifically written a post about moving abroad via marriage. Though it may come as a surprise to some, this lack has been deliberate. Not only did I assume that most people knew about this route, but I also didn't feel the need to write on some rather unsavory topics in this area, but I think the time has come to talk about it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to get a job in Sweden

Stotorget, Stockholm, Sweden
Photo by Mastad
Please share this post with any of your friends who would like to find a job in another country.

Yesterday I posted about a Swedish job site that was possibly a scam, but I know that many people would love to get a job in Sweden. For some reason, my 20 Things to Know Before Moving to Sweden is incredibly popular (in that it draws a lot of traffic), even though it's merely a link to another Web site, and I often get email from people asking me about Sweden. It's also well known that the Swedish people are very happy (as are Scandinavians in general).

So how would you go about getting a job there? Thanks to changes in the law in 2008, Sweden is actually one of the easiest countries in the world to get a job in if you're a foreigner.