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Day 321 of 1827: Emergency Relocation

Day 321 of 1827: Emergency Relocation

You know, I’m coming up on 11 months abroad, and I still have no idea what I want.

But as usual, I’m forced to pick something anyway.

So, I decided not to follow through on the work contract.

I had the contract; it was completed and ready to go.  All I had to do was print it out and sign it.

And it just sat in my inbox.

For a whole week.

And now it’s too late.

It’s funny… a few months ago, I would have been really annoyed by this.  I’ve been trying to get residency in Chile for like 3 months now… and when I finally have the opportunity, I just let it go?!

For sure, learning to trust myself has been one of the most difficult lessons of my Five Years Abroad so far.

But when I listen to my subconscious, things usually work out a lot better than when I ignore it.

So, as difficult as it is, I’m going to pass this one up.

There is just one teensy little problem though….

Without this work contract, I can’t get residency, and my tourist visa expires in 3 days!

Now this isn’t normally that big of a problem for me.  I’ve had to switch countries on short notice before.  But this time is different.

This time, I don’t really know what I want to do next.

Well, ok.  I know what I’m doing next.  I’m going back to Peru, and I’m going to live in Lima for the next 3 months or so.  And then I’m going to Mexico (big surprise planned; stay tuned!).

But then what?

Should I come back to Chile and try again to get my residency?  Or should I continue exploring the continent and worry about getting another residency later during (or perhaps after) my Five Years Abroad?

On the one hand, it would be really nice to have permanent residency (and possibly even citizenship) in Chile.  Having residency/citizenship in multiple countries opens up a LOT of options in today’s world, especially for US citizens.

On the other hand, that’s a pretty huge investment of time and money… plus it puts a significant limitation on my travel — I would need to stay in Chile at least 180 days each year for the next 5 years.

Not that I’m complaining; Chile is a beautiful country, and there’s still so much of it that I haven’t explored yet!  But how is this going to affect the Asia/Oceania and Europe phases of my Five Years Abroad?

It took me all afternoon, but I finally figured it out.

And as usual, I realized that I knew the answer all along.

See, whenever I find myself in a situation where I feel trapped, I find that it is helpful to identify the primary constraint and ask myself how things would be different if that constraint wasn’t there.

When I first started my Five Years Abroad, I visited a different city every 3 weeks or so.  Although very emotionally taxing, it was a massively helpful experience for me, and some of the biggest advances in my personal growth came from it.

But then when I finally found a city that I wanted to spend more time in, I had to get rid of that constraint so that I could relax and enjoy myself in my new home.

Then, as I started to look toward the future, I realized that I loved living abroad, and I knew there was no way I was going to return to my country of origin after a mere five years!

So the “five years” constraint had to be tossed out the window as well.

And now, I’m realizing that I really do want to work on Chilean residency (and possibly citizenship as well)… but if I do that, then I won’t be able to stick to my original plan of “2 years in South America, 2 years in Asia/Oceania and 1 year in eastern Europe”.

Well, what would I do if that constraint wasn’t there?

I’d come back to Chile after Mexico and try again for residency.  There’s plenty of time to explore the world later, and having an additional residency/citizenship will make it a lot easier to do.

So there you have it.

Five Years Abroad is still very much alive and well… but it might last a bit longer than five years, and I might end up spending a significant portion of it in South America.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For now.

Impossible crossroads!
When your guideposts stop being helpful, maybe it’s time to tear them down.

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