woman, women, retirement, emigration, Philippines, third world, abroad, expat, immigration, female,
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How women prepare for emigration

The first thoughts that come up in a woman’s head when she is thinking about moving to another country are

  • How about the family?
  • What can go wrong?

Men and women differ in preparing for moving abroad, where women have 1000 questions, men just seem to go and solve issues along the way. Yet many men end up stranded, without money and disillusioned in their (maybe hasty?) decision.

Men and women both dream and make plans, but the actual emigration is done differently

Not every man is the same and not every woman is the same either. There are always exceptions to the rule. But in general, men have different motivations to move abroad than women do and they do prepare differently from women. So preparing for a move abroad as a couple can give a lot of miscommunication and even tension.

Men seek freedom, they look ahead and hate looking back and reflect. When men say ‘yes’ they go for it, there seems to be no grey area, as where we women can drown in the grey.
The ‘what if’s’ can take over some days, believe me, I have been there.

Women grow in the decision to move abroad by thinking it through carefully

Women take family and friends into consideration, but also failure and disaster. It can be very hard for a woman to focus on what is really important: preparing to live her dream.

In the end, women will be emotionally better prepared for times ahead than men. Women tend to be more realistic about expectations because in her head while preparing, she went over so many scenarios.

The downside of this is that it might be very difficult for women to actually take the step and move

Making the decision as a single is not less stressful than when you are preparing to move as a couple. There is a whole extra bunch of stuff that pops up in your head when you think about starting anew in a different culture, let alone a third world country like the Philippines.
After all: Who is going to take care of you when you have moved? You will be on your own, independent. No close family to rely on when you get sick or feel lost.

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Some first-hand experiences:

Family and friends?

Well, you can not take them with you. But you can try to stay in touch. Through WhatsApp, Skype or FB messenger, Google Hangouts, or any other internet medium.
Keep in mind that there is most likely a time difference and the internet in the new country is probably not what you are used to. In some places in the world, it is not. Especially when you do not live in a big city. To stay in touch with family and friends will be expensive, but not impossible.
Also, keep in mind that their lives continue as normal and yours changed drastically. And they might envy you or get right out tired of all the tropical blur in your Facebook timeline. I lost almost all my ‘friends’ in the first two years after my departure.

Female stuff
Finding a comfortable bra, underwear and cotton clothing in Western sizes can be a challenge, for example in the Philippines. While living there, most of the time I could not find it in the regular store or the Ukay Ukay, I used Amazon and an American P.O Box and had it shipped through LBC. I found out that Western sizes are not Asian sizes.

Tampons are not in every country available. If you still have your period you have to bring them yourself or have them shipped. Condoms are available. A female condom is a rare thing to find.

How to handle a disaster?

Getting sick is the worst thing that can happen while living away from family and friends as a single. Yet the expat community is friendly. If there are expats near you, you can always ask for chicken soup, if you know what I mean.
When you are chronically ill, you may want to hire an in-house nurse or caretaker. There are countries where you can hire an in-house nurse or caretaker for less than 3 euro per day, depending on living conditions.

Been in an accident? Well, I luckily have no experience yet (knocks on wood). But my son crashed with his motorbike because of a wild dog one day in the Philippines, and I took care of those things the fire brigade did not take care of, which was very little I must say. 
But how big is the risk that something like that will happen? Right, let’s not go for the worst.

In the end, it is only you that can decide to move abroad and try it. Just book a holiday and travel through the country first. See if you like it, find the right place to return to and build your dream life.

In General:

Moving abroad, especially to a third world country, can give you a more affordable lifestyle. In the Philippines, I could live a good life on half the money I need in the Netherlands. Visa requirements were good, and I could relax and enjoy the country, nature, the beaches. As for in the Netherlands, I would have to scrape by every month to keep the bills paid.

If you wonder if this life can be your life? Start making a plan and follow your heart. Take control of your finances, look for a country that will fit your needs and desires.

Do not make the mistake to believe outdated fora on the internet, stating countries like Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Mexico are cheap. They are cheaper than f.e. Europe or the USA but they get more expensive every year. Information on the internet gets outdated fast. So check dates in the articles and comments you read to check how old the information is.

Some tips for a safe and well-prepared emigration:

  • Watch videos from those living in the country of your choice
  • If you have a home in your motherland, keep it, rent it out, until you are sure you want to break all ties.
  • Make sure you know the visa requirements
  • Make sure you have enough backup money
  • How about insurance, some countries do not allow health or travel insurance for a long stay.
  • Come on a holiday first and explore the country on your own, no fixed trip, but travel by bus and ferry, to explore and discover
  • Know the language
  • Calculate your daily expenses and picture them in the new setting, how much budget do you need?
  • Be realistic, talk to friends, argue and reason on the ‘what if’s’ and ‘how to’s’
  • Make sure you have a backup plan, if moving to a third world country political or economic climate can change overnight, s can visa rules. make sure you have an escape plan to get out of the country fast and safe and back up money to do so.
  • Create a mental toolbox for worst-case scenarios. go over and over them in your mind and solve the issues. This way you will be less likely caught by surprise.

Make lists, prepare well, but stay flexible. I prepared over 1 year before I realized I just had to go. You know it when the time is right, do not linger too long on fear or doubt. Follow your dream and pack up and leave. Set a date, buy that ticket.

Good luck!

Updated November 2019


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