Reddit Expats Reveal Why They’re Happier Since Leaving the US (And You Might Be Too)

Reddit Expats Reveal Why They’re Happier Since Leaving the US (And You Might Be Too)

“Who moved to a new country and found it a near perfect match and is much happier? I’m not saying everything needs to be 100% perfect but just stories where you feel you made the right decision and your life has upgraded.”

Someone recently asked this question on the internet, and here’s how expats responded:

Japan: “Always something to do”

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“[I moved] from Texas to Japan nearly 10 years ago. I love the healthcare and public transportation (I don’t even have a license here). Our rent is cheap and we’ll actually be able to afford a nice house here. I love the various festivals; many fall festivals in October. Then, in November it will be time to take a hike to see the fall colors, and going to a temple for New Years. It just feels like there’s always something to do; some part of the culture you can enjoy taking part in.”

Learn more about moving to Japan

Ecuador: “There is a respect here”

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“I was born and raised in the US, living all over the country before deciding I had to get out of there! It took about a year of research before I settled on Ecuador.

IMO, the media is over-hyping the crime here. We don’t have mass shootings, or large groups of people who rob stores in broad daylight, or crazy people naked in the middle of the road jumping on random cars as they go by. It just doesn’t feel as hostile and out of control like the U.S. does. The murders are reported with such fanfare here because they are rare. They are an everyday occurrence in the U.S.

I am in Cuenca, one of the safest cities in Ecuador. It’s high in the Andes—at 8,000 feet, so the weather is Spring-like year round. Never too hot, never too cold.

The people here are lovely! They are polite, courteous, and helpful—everywhere you go. There is a respect here that no longer exists in the U.S., and I find that comforting….Also, did you know Ecuador is on the U.S. dollar? Makes the transition much easier.”

England: “I never want to leave”

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“[I moved from] Spain to England and I never want to leave.

Working here is a dream compared to working in Spain. There are better opportunities for social mobility. Things in the UK just work, while in Spain everything just feels expensive and bureaucratic. Also, much more subjective, but I think gay nightlife/culture is much more fun here.”

Learn more about moving to United Kingdom

New Zealand: “Wanted to try something different”

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“I didn’t move looking for an increase in standard of living, political stability or anything like that, I just wanted to try something different. So I moved to New Zealand for a year or two.

Well that was more than 15 years ago and I’m still there…

FYI the Immigration New Zealand website has a ton of great info on the visa types and is pretty easy to use.”

Learn more about moving to New Zealand

Spain: “Best of California in the 70s”

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“USA to Andalusia. Perfect. Best unexpected move I’ve ever made. Like the best of California in the nineteen seventies, when I grew up there.

I can tell you how I found my happy place. We bought a car and drove through France and Spain, stopping in places we had thought might fit the bill. Once we got to Spain we stopped in areas…for between a week and a month. Once we found an area we thought promising, we looked at a couple dozen homes for rent and found one in an area we thought we’d like. We’ve been here now for close on a year.”

Learn more about moving to Spain

Portugal: “The healthiest community”

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“I love living in Porto. The city adds no stress to my life, so I can produce great work here. It’s the healthiest community I’ve ever been a part of.

I befriended a local writer before I moved here. His friends were welcoming to me when I first arrived. I made friends with other locals little by little. It helped that many of them had lived abroad before, moved back during the pandemic, and craved stimulation, so they’d proactively befriend international people. I got pretty lucky. I can’t claim others will have the same experience.”

Learn more about moving to Portugal

Germany: “I love it here”

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“I love it here [in Cologne]. Varied seasons, good public transport, cheap beer, proximity to other countries.

Learn more about moving to Germany

The Netherlands: “Generally stress-free”

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“Happiest time of my life. I made enough local friends that I had to purposely stop making new friends. Generally stress-free, work life balance is amazing—my boss plays PS5 with me during downtime at work.

I did get really lucky to connect well and early with locals, going to activities, sports, etc. 90% of my close circle here are Dutchies.”

Learn more about moving to the Netherlands

Bulgaria: “You couldn’t drag me out”

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“Swede here. I have lived in some 15 counties. I moved to Bulgaria, met a local man, and you couldn’t drag me out of here with wild horses. The best country I ever lived in, even before I met the man of my dreams. Funny, intelligent and kind people, amazing food, even better nature and culture. And the language, while not exactly easy as a first foreign one, is ok for me, as I have dabbled in some Slavic languages before.

It is so beautiful.”

Austria: “Feel Like a completely different person”

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I ran off to the Austrian Alps to spend COVID winter lockdown on my snowboard. Thought I’d stay for 3 months. This was three years ago. It’s hard to make local friends, but the sporty lifestyle here is absolutely amazing and so incredibly fulfilling. I feel like a completely different person, but so much more ‘me’.

Being a city gal born and raised, I never thought I could find happiness on the outskirts of a small town in a country that never really stood up culturally among all the other places. I never really enjoyed Vienna, to be honest. But the mountain region is fantastic!”

Learn more about moving to Austria

Finland: “High quality of life”

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“I moved to Finland and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. High quality of life, excellent social system, accessible nature and great infrastructure.

Adult education is very normal here. People change careers constantly and no one thinks anything if someone goes back to school for anything. But you can get a student visa, even for a one year program and then you typically have another year to stay and look for work.”

Learn more about moving to Finland

Denmark: “I feel welcome”

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“I moved to Denmark completely alone—no support system, just a job offer. I ended up loving this country. I live in a smaller city, nothing like the Randstad in NL, not fancy at all, and yet I’m so much happier. The people are nicer. Life is chill. I feel welcome and like I belong. I have no plans to move in the coming years.”

Learn more about moving to Denmark

Taiwan: “I should have moved 16 years ago”

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“I’m very privileged to have always had a pretty good life everywhere I’ve been. My disposition is to generally like pretty much every city I visit or live in.

That said, right now, entering year 2 as a US expat in Taipei, is the best life I’ve ever lived in terms of lifestyle and cultural fit. I was happy in year 1, but right now everything has come together in such a way that I can’t imagine a more ideal place in the real world.

A couple of quick caveats: we are a young family with two young kids. We love urban cities, and we are of Chinese ethnicity (although no ancestral ties to Taiwan itself).

But seriously, I now realize I probably should have moved here 16 years ago as a young single guy like I had briefly considered. Oh well! Better late than never.”

Learn more about moving to Taiwan

Canada: “I find the culture easier for me”

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“[I find myself] feeling safer. Work seems to be getting to where I want, and I just find the culture easier for me. Back [in Brazil], I’d be overwhelmed all the time with social interactions and finding secret meaning in everything. Here, I know what to expect and people mean what they say. Going out has a time to start and end.”

Learn more about moving to Canada

Australia: “My values just align better”

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“USA –> Australia, 34 years ago. Don’t tell my family, but I feel way more Aussie now than Yank.

My values just align better. [There’s] non-demonization of political opponents, universal health care, less overt religion, high minimum wage, more support for the unfortunate, strict gun control, sense of humor, beach lifestyle, fresh fruit and veggies, live and let live attitude.

Australia is not perfect. We get some things wrong, and some of those things above cost more. But I shocked myself about 8 years in. [It was] the first time I got on a flight to return to Australia and breathed a sigh of relief. I knew I was going home.”

Learn more about moving to Australia

Kenya: “I love Kenya so much”

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“US to Kenya. The [bull crap vs cool crap] is worth it more than anywhere else I’ve been. I could see myself settling down somewhere like Crete but for where I’m at in life I love Kenya so much and other East African countries probably wouldn’t have hit me the same way unless I was younger than I am now.

Nairobi is extremely developed. There are walkable areas and not just like any major city. I’ve lived in quite a few different places and so have my friends.”

Costa Rica: “Best of both worlds”

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“[I moved to] Costa Rica 2.5 years ago. In Costa Rica, I purchased a beach condo, and I rent a luxury apartment in San José—best of both worlds—for far less money than I could in the U.S.”

Learn more about moving to Costa Rica

Ireland: “It’s a near perfect match”

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“I love living in Ireland.  I moved here 8 years ago. I found some friends, bought a house, and feel that everything I can do is possible here. People are so friendly, and the culture is fantastic.

So considering the good balance between big/small size, mild weather, high wages, good socialization, humble and friendly population…it’s a near perfect match. Not perfect, but the closest one I’ve found so far.”

Learn more about moving to Ireland

Norway: “Not struggling for basic things”

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“My financial status is the same (middle class), but I am not struggling anymore for basic things like traveling to work and access to healthcare and such. I am an introvert and love being in nature. I love a slow-paced life. I am fairly solitary as a person and prefer to keep my privacy. Norway just fit like a glove. The things I needed money to access in Mumbai, India are now available for free. Moving here has made my physical and mental health much much better. Also, I like the cold weather XD”

Learn more about moving to Norway

South Korea: “It’s safe and easy to travel”

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“[I moved to] Seoul, South Korea. With the stronger dollar (I get paid in dollars) my housing was amazing and more technologically advanced than anything that’s available in the US. Transportation is convenient and efficient, like just about everything else. I could walk out my place and go across the street to take an airport bus straight to the airport (under an hour) for less than $15. It’s safe and easy to travel to other countries in Asia. I’m able to afford a live-in nanny and housekeeper, and there’s home delivery for pretty much anything.

I felt like I could really enjoy my life there. There’s lots of things interesting things to do and see in Seoul that don’t cost a lot of money, many parks and trails. Also, beauty services are very inexpensive.”

Learn more about moving to South Korea

5 Easy Ways to Find the Best Country to Live In

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How do you find the best country to live in?

It’s an impossible task, really; a great country for someone else might be a disaster for you. You might want low cost of living with universal healthcare and income equality. Maybe personal safety in an attractive destination where English is widely spoken. Perhaps you want a small country offering quality education in an international school system.

With nearly 200 countries to choose from, picking your top countries gets tough quickly. Here are a few ways to find the lifestyle that suits your needs:

5 Easy Ways to Find the Best Country to Live In

How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

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Are you thinking about leaving the United States? You’re not alone; as many as 15% percent of Americans say they want to leave the country permanently.

➤ How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

Vacation vs Scouting Trip: What’s the Difference?

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Expatsi is hosting a scouting trip to Portugal and Spain for our group members in March. “So you’re taking them on vacation?” people ask us. “Not exactly,” we tell them. Vacations focus on having fun and relaxation, while scouting trips help people find a new home when looking to move abroad.

It’s a tricky divide between the two paths. Here’s how a scouting trip looks different than a vacation:

Vacation vs Scouting Trip: What’s the Difference?

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Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.

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bed49dc5d4263d6d37b46cb09574d411?s=150&d=mp&r=g
Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.