The other night
in Auckland, the alternative rock band Gorillaz performed at Vector
Arena down the street from my flat. I didnt have to go to
the concert I had the best seat in the house right from my
own balcony, sort of like the Wrigley Field Rooftops in Chicago.
It was the
first summer evening of the southern hemisphere, and I sat listening
to the band with a few expat friends and a nice bottle of one of
New Zealands Sauvignon Blancs and once the music faded,
we started talking about expatriation what makes people stay
and what makes people leave.
a lot of expats over the years and seen the psychology of peoples
decision-making processes up close and personal. For many, the decision
is driven by emotion: fear, anxiety, sense of adventure, etc.
react to this wide range of emotions by packing up overnight and
heading to a place theyve never been before expecting it to
look like Topeka, Kansas. It doesnt usually work out for these
folks they encounter challenges that dont meet their
unrealistic expectations, and frustration sets in.
expats Ive met all made calculated, rational decisions after
a few boots on the ground trips and a lot of research. When they
properly set their expecations and maintained the flexibility to
deal with the unknown, they almost always ended up happy with the
As many of
these successful expats have found out, sometimes the grass actually
-is- greener sometimes life actually can become better, more
interesting, more fulfilling when they step away from the grind,
think clearly about what they want, and follow a new direction.
the day I had a meeting with Iain MacLeod of IMMagine New Zealand,
a local immigration specialist who will be speaking at our upcoming
offshore workshop in Panama. Iains a great guy, very knowledgeable
and experienced, and we were swapping expat stories at his office.
known quite a few expats who have made New Zealand their home
from England, South Africa, the US meanwhile there are a lot
of Kiwis heading overseas themselves.
You see, theres
a bit of a brain drain here, particularly among the talented youth.
Many of them find New Zealand to be too small, too provincial, too
limiting and they run like hell to places like Los Angeles.
Ive met a lot of Californians who are beating down the door
to get into New Zealand they find LA to be too crowded, too
dangerous, and too stifling. To them, New Zealand is paradise.
As they say,
one mans trash is another mans treasure and with
the expat game, its a bit of a global merry-go-round.