Tuesday, 19 October 2004

"Expats make better citizens of the world"

You might have noticed a recent addition to the sidebar of my blog: a link to the LivingAbroadInCostaRica.com Web site of my friend and fellow travel writer Erin Van Rheenen.

Erin was the series editor for Moon Travel Handbooks and my editor for the second edition of “The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World” at Avalon Travel Publishing (ATP) before leaving to move to Costa Rica and eventually write the new Living Abroad In Costa Rica guidebook published last month in ATP’s Adapter Kit series. You might have seen her recently on CNN, talking about Costa Rica as well as general issues in relocating overseas.

I’ve had wonderful relationships with all my editors at ATP, and Erin has a great deal to do with the improved design and usability of the more recent editions of “The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World” (although, I, of course, remain fully to blame for its failings).

Today Erin has a great op-ed column about expatriotism — particularly directed to those in the USA who are thinking of moving abroad if “the War President” is re-elected — in an English-language Costa Rican Newspaper, A.M. Costa Rica :

A personal view:
Expats make better citizens of the world

Come Nov. 3rd, how will you be feeling? Proud to be an American, or ready to dust off that dream of living abroad?

Some people are threatening to leave the country if the election doesn’t go their way. We’ve heard it before, but this time more people seem to be saying it, and they appear to be in earnest….

Whether it’s Costa Rica or another country, living abroad is an idea whose time has come. In the past three decades the number of Americans living abroad has more than quadrupled from about 70,000 in 1966 to around 4 million in 1996….

If more Americans lived abroad (and eventually returned, as most do), we’d have a country of people with a more global perspective, a country of people who have seen first hand how the rest of the world views the U.S. We’d have a critical mass of citizens who know that the U.S. can’t be the big daddy bully of the world, how we need allies, not just people who tremble and curse when they see us coming. For what it’s worth, a recent Zogby poll found that U.S. citizens with passports support Kerry over Bush, 58 percent to 35 percent.

Come to think of it, maybe anyone who wants to lead this country needs to have living abroad on his or her resume — preferably for a year or more, and in one of the so-called developing countries. And no, being CEO of a multinational corporation that rebuilds the countries we tear town does not count.

(Erin Van Rheenen will be in Costa Rica in November but will cast her vote by absentee ballot. )

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 19 October 2004, 13:25 ( 1:25 PM)
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