Why I’d Love to Move to a New Country Every Six Months
Six months in Peru, an opportunity to explore the salt flats and visit Machu Picchu.
Six months to tour the stunning national parks of Chile.
Six months to immerse yourself in Argentinian culture, from the incredible barbecue and tango dancing to the wide variety of empanadas.
Where would you go next? Maybe you’d aim for Asia to spend six months in Singapore, perhaps you’d prefer to explore Vietnam or Bali. What about the continent of Africa to visit South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Sierra Leone, or maybe you’d prefer to traverse Europe? There’s a great big world out there and there’s nothing to stop you from exploring it!
Wouldn’t it be incredible to move to a new country every six months? The rest of my life may seem drastic, but there are 197 countries (if we include the Vatican). I’d need the rest of my life to get all of them in.
When you take a two-week vacation to a beautiful destination it’s just enough time to relax and unwind. You do a bit of sight-seeing, and you get around but you miss out on a lot. First of all, there’s no way that a short vacation is enough time to spend anywhere. For example, if you head to Peru to trek to Machu Picchu there are shortcuts you can take, but if you want to do it right… you’re looking at a four or five-day hiking tour. It takes time to enjoy the beauty of this earth and in all honesty, sometimes six months isn’t enough!
The beauty of technology is you can now work from anywhere. With a laptop under your arm and a secure internet connection, you can take your job on the road and work anywhere you want to travel. You can set up a home for six months and between work you can explore the area.
Traveling is an opportunity to meet new people, it’s a chance to enjoy new experiences, it’s immersing yourself fully in a new culture, and having the time of your life while you do it.
Once upon a time, it was a gap year (or two) trip. Students would finish their studies and take off to travel and complete odd jobs if necessary. Now, you can work a full-time job while you do that travel. Heck, you could hop to a new country every three months. With many countries considerably more affordable, you can set yourself up in nice new digs, eat like royalty, and explore without stretching your budget. The cheaper countries allow you an opportunity to build up your bank account to ensure you can live comfortably in the expensive places you visit, too.
You might be asking why? Why would I want to do that?
Freedom, for one.
There’s something spectacular about leaving normality behind and embracing an unpredictable adventure. The opportunity to leave the stress of normal life behind and instead embark on an exploration of a brand-new culture. There’s the language to try and get to grips with, the cuisine, public transportation, and all of the locals and customs! Just as you get used to what’s what, it’s time to move on. While for some that may sound stressful, to me it sounds exhilarating.
For me, the idea of moving somewhere new every six months (or sometimes three, it really depends on the area, how easy it is to get around, and what else is going on) just makes sense. I can live absolutely anywhere provided I have a strong internet connection. There are short-term accommodations available in just about every country you could imagine visiting. Many of those accommodations offer internet service, but even if they don’t, it’s usually not too difficult to get connected with a dongle or other device.
Of course, if the idea appeals to you, you’ll need to do a bit of research before you set off! Many countries offer a three-month tourist visa without much work. Those countries should be your starting point. In fact, many of them are free and have very few restrictions. The reason I’d personally stay three to six months is because it would allow me to settle, be productive in work, and provide me plenty of time to explore. Of course, many places also offer a hefty discount when you stay for three to six months. It might be short-term accommodation, but guaranteed income for much of the year is always a win.
There’s also nothing worse than living out of a suitcase and when you stay for a few months at a time you have the chance to make it a home, even if you know it’s temporary.
There’s something special about moving abroad and country hopping. You become part of a special club, the club where you have multiple currencies in your wallet, you become part of different worlds, grow comfortable with strangers and people of all backgrounds, and you grow as a person.
It gets easier to say goodbye because you do it so often, and as painful as it can be with every goodbye you open a new, exciting chapter in life.
Of course, it’s difficult to leave friends at home behind and then leave new friends behind, but as you depart those friendships will only intensify. People want to send you care packages and they include treats from home and photos, and those thoughtful gifts will sustain you.
Traveling comes with a variety of challenges. There are still bills to pay, you’ll still catch a cold, and when your toilet is clogged you’ll have to navigate the situation in another language. Just because you’ve escaped to a paradise doesn’t mean life will always be a paradise. For a lot of people, moving abroad is a painful lesson that the grass isn’t greener. However, when you jump to a new country every few months you never lose that honeymoon phase feeling. You walk away from the country in question still a little in love with it and the experiences you had. It’s onto something new.
There’s also the bit where you start to see your home country in a brand new light (whether it’s positive or negative is another story). When I travel abroad, I appreciate the conveniences of home, but with every new place I visit I find new conveniences. I find new snacks to enjoy, a new coffee shop to make my regular stop. With travel comes a new perspective. With just six months in every country, I’ll never become a true local, but it’s long enough to learn the best place for particular cuisines and to do as the locals do which ultimately, is the best bit about traveling and exploring a new place.
I want to know where the locals go for paella in the south of Spain. I’m keen to learn which restaurant in Crete the locals run to for suckling pig. I need to know which taqueria offers the greatest tacos al pastor in Mexico City and which clubs have the best dancing. I won’t be able to breathe comfortably until I know exactly where to go for a cocktail in Singapore.
I want to know everything. I want to try everything. I want to do everything.
If the world wasn’t meant for exploration, why is it so darn big? I want to see every bit of it I possibly can and learn about how other cultures worship, eat, live, and have fun. Who wouldn’t?!