Vagabondage: Moving Abroad & Travel Lust

We like to joke that, “The best part of living in Europe is: you’re close to the rest of Europe.” That’s our cute little, hopelessly self-absorbed, First World privilege way of saying “we love to travel. Ask us where we’ve been.”

As I’ve said before, it’s hard not to feel good about living abroad. But, lately, it’s struck me that, for people who like to travel, being an immigrant is also a kind of slow torture. It’s so very close to that thing you love, but still quite removed.

Living in Dublin, and thanks to a slurry of low cost carriers, we can be almost anywhere in Western Europe in about two hours. But, now, three years into living abroad, we are immersed in the daily slog, Irish style. Money and time are once again at a premium just as new commitments are mounting.

If you love to travel, presumably you like exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new foods, and generally having adventures. All of those things are still doable for us without ever leaving Ireland. Remember we had decades to learn about the United States. So now, in order to keep up with our local friends, we’re cramming 40+ years of cultural learning curve into just a few years.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not in any way painful, it’s just a different travel experience. Yet we do sacrifice the other part of the “traveler’s dream”. We don’t move around as much as we might like, or as much as we fantasized we would when we finally, “broke free and decided to live the dream of moving overseas”.

This post probably seems a bit schizophrenic. But then for folks who love travel, living abroad is more than a bit schizophrenic. “Home” is not home anymore, yet you’re not a local either. And once you’ve settled in, you probably aren’t going to be quite the vagabond traveler you envisioned either.

As an emigrant/immigrant who loves to travel you just may find the world tantalizingly, maddeningly close, yet still so far away.

Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

Finding the “Right” City For You

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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4 Responses to Vagabondage: Moving Abroad & Travel Lust

  1. Thomas says:

    ‘low cost carriers’ I remember when my father first flew return to London in 1983 for the first time inflation adjusted it cost around €800 return!. The same flight today booked several weeks in advance €80 or so. The Irish are a little bit like the Brit’s we feel ourselves to be in Europe but not of Europe. I reckon to take full advantage logistically of Europe you need to be based in a ‘mainland core’ city like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich.

  2. Dan Price says:

    I love your new word: vagabondage.

  3. John Hughes says:

    Hi. I’m writing seeking advice about opening a current account in Ireland. I am a retired journalist but still living in the States. I also have dual US/Irish citizenship. The problem I see is renting an apartment without an Irish banking and/or current account. The banks want to see proof of address and the landlords and utilities want to be paid via your Irish checking account. I previously lived and worked in Brussels and had no problem with establishing accounts based on my salary from my employer there. Now, I am retired and receive a monthly Social Security check. I would hope a bank such as Ulster Bank would open an account based on my directing that my monthly pension payment be directly deposited with them. I have spent a fair amount of time in Ireland as a tourist and think Wexford would be ideal based on the weather and my fixed income. I know a bilateral agreement exists between the US and Ireland regarding taxes on pension benefits and feel I have enough of an income (about $25,000 US) to get by on. Would you recommend trying to open something from this side before coming over or waiting and trying somehow to establish residency in Ireland? I’m caught in a sort of Catch-22 situation but would hope already having Irish citizenship would help. I’d appreciate any thoughts. Cheers, John.

    • Ahh, JOhn.

      I’m so sorry. My first response about taxes was off the cuff and from my phone so I forgot about the banking questions.

      You’ll never be able to open an account from outside Ireland (unless you have tons of money – and even ten….). Banking restrictions are much tougher here.

      You may be able to get your landlord to vouch for you (as we did) with a local bank. Otherwise you may have to wait a bit after you arrive.

      But, if you come and make a scouting trip, once you’ve signed a lease, you should have fewer problems. I don’t think you will have to wait for actual residency.

      I hope that helps.


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