Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The definitive guide to moving abroad and whether it's right for you

Why Leave?

This is a preview to the chapter Why Leave? from the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Paul Allen.
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Why is it that when so many other people – often from less economically developed nations – are so desperate to get into our home countries that millions of us are equally keen to get out?

Perhaps we should all simply feel grateful for the good fortune that has enabled us to be citizens of where we are. It’s certainly worth bearing in mind when we feel the urge to gripe.

Nevertheless, there are sundry legitimate reasons for wanting to emigrate.

It may stem from disgust at whatever happens to be the current political environment/government. It may be due to fears about the state of the healthcare or education services in your home nation. Perhaps it’s a straightforward question of economics, spurred by the relative cost of living and income generating opportunities where you are compared to your target destination.

Relationships are a common motivation too.

Julia Fuini was 18 years old when she left her native South Africa in 2001 to go travelling. She now lives and works in London, something she is able to do by virtue of being part-Italian and having an Italian passport, which gives her freedom of movement throughout the European Union. Ending up in England for the long term though was an accident.

“I didn’t actually plan to move here, it just progressed into a more permanent position,” she notes. “I originally came to see a friend and pass through, but then met someone and have stayed ever since.”

Similar circumstances waylaid accidental American expatriate Mike Harling, the author of Postcards from Across The Pond, a Bill Bryson-esque account of his experiences living in England. “My move to Britain was not based on a previous desire to live there. I was hiking in Ireland and met a British woman, fell in love with her and, in the course of our quick romance, decided to move to her country as opposed to having her move to mine.”

Climate is another common rationale. For Americans, the long-time response has been to move south and west – to California, Florida, and increasingly to Arizona and Nevada, which feature regularly in the US Census Bureau’s list of fastest growing states1.

But the US is a big country, with multiple climatic regions. Choice – at least as regards this particular issue – does exist.

Residents of the British Isles, by contrast, don’t have the same luxury. And let’s face it, the region’s climate is not to everyone’s taste. Not surprising then that a study by Alliance & Leicester International reported that 40 percent of the Brits questioned said the weather was a major factor in determining whether to move abroad.
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