Today is the first day of a nine-day staycation for me. I have never taken a staycation, but I need one. I need time to plan my sojourn in Oceania, time to enjoy solstice season while it lasts, and time to take a look at my finances to see if I can afford to move to another country.
More about that in a bit.
I had an epiphany this week. As you know if you’ve been reading for a while, I have visited many of the world’s ancient sites. Tikal, Petra, Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Delphi, etc. I have sometimes come away feeling a comforting sense of connection to all of humanity. Deep, huh?
More often, I’ve come away thinking, “Whoever built this magnificent site is long dead, and no one knows his name.” In some cases I may have been able to learn a name if I had dug hard enough or if there was a plaque, but I’d forget it 10 minutes later.
I used to find that sort of sad. The lesson? Nothing we do matters in the long run.
But this week I suddenly found it comforting.
In a thousand years, Donald Trump will be a footnote, if not forgotten. Sure, maybe there will be millions of references to him in ancient news articles on servers somewhere, but only students of the classics will be interested.
Maybe he will even become a mythical beast. Long into the future, a mather (because by then genders will have merged) will be reading a book … no. Someday, a mather and its child will be immersed in a virtual reality bedtime story thanks to nanoparticle thin films, and little Apple (because old fashioned names will have come back into style by then) will squeal, “Mather, please can we be in the story about the Trump?!”
“Are you sure you won’t get too frightened again?” Mather will ask.
“Yes, I’m sure!”
“Which scenario do you want—The Trump Goes a’Doddering, or Trump and the Seven Dictators, or …”
“The one with the Space Force!” cries Apple.
“The one where we can strap him to a rocket and shoot him to the moon?”
“Yes! Yes! That one!”
“Okay, but remember, dear—it’s just a story. It’s not real.”
If only it weren’t. This regime is causing a lot of human suffering but in the long run, it will be consigned to “the dustbin of history” like others before it.
So in addition to planning a long trip to Australia, I’ve been researching ways to live outside the US. A book called “Getting Out” has been really helpful. It was published in 2012 so it’s somewhat dated, but it’s giving me lots of food for thought and helping me narrow down my choices.
I got this in the mail this week.
Europe? How about America? And being Jewish eliminates a half dozen of the 60 countries profiled in the book. Caring about human rights, not being rich, being environmentally conscious, wanting access to health care, being able to get back to Minnesota within 24 hours, etc. all are helping me narrow it down.
I have two routes to acquire long-term visas:
- Many countries have retirement visas. You don’t necessarily have to be anywhere near retirement age; you have to show that you meet some minimum threshold of income. The idea is, you won’t be taking a job away from a local resident and you’ll be spending money in the country on rent, food, etc. The cost of living is multiples lower than that in the US.
- Working remotely. As I did last summer in Britain, I can continue to work and be paid by my US employer if they allow it. Again, I wouldn’t be taking a local job and I’d be spending money locally. The rules about this are much murkier, maybe because working remotely is still a new concept to rusty bureaucracies.
Frommer’s “easy” guide to Australia is 317 pages long. I haven’t made much progress except I did start swimming lessons so I can get scuba certified. Heidi has warned me however, about “stinger season near the reef and crocodile season in the centre.”
At least there won’t be any Trumps.