Expat residential communities

Expat Residential Communities & Co-travelers

Travel and foreign living seem to be a luxury many feel they cannot afford. Yet for many North Americans, it isn’t necessarily such a stretch. Many have found a way to enjoy retirement or extended vacations in a mild climate and exotic culture. In places where North American currency has a favorable exchange rate, living in expat residential communities can help your savings go further. Your spending can often benefit the host nation too. Digital nomads find that even without savings, they can live an adventurous life in foreign places. Many expats or travelers put in a lot less work time than they would need to for monthly rent in urban North America, for a similar quality of life.


ways to be a welcome and respectful expat

1. Learn about the norms of your host country.

Study expat sites specific to your chosen location to learn cultural norms and avoid being unintentionally disrespectful. Is bargaining rude or is it expected? Is a tip welcome or insulting? Is taking selfies in a religious site frowned on?

2. Make an effort with the language.

While you may never become fluent in their language, a little effort can go a long way. Start with learning how to say in the local language “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” ‘”please,” “yes,” “no,” and “I know very few words.” It’s especially important to study up on how to interpret road and other travel-related signs, so that you can comply with regulations.

3. Follow laws and regulations.

Foreign life is not where you want to give expression to your rebel tendencies. Out of respect to your host nation, and for your own safety, make a point to learn and follow your host nation’s rules. The consequences of not doing so could be a lot more severe for foreigners. Take it from the experts: it’s essential to keep your finances in order and report accurately.

4. Avoid controversial topics.

You might be an adventurous type who relishes debate, but you might need to save it for your fellow expats. Until you know a culture thoroughly, it’s best to keep your political and religious opinions to yourself. If you are LGBTQ+, thoroughly research ahead of time both the laws of a country as well as what attitudes and behaviors are common toward your group. Research international and local organizations that do queer advocacy work. They can provide a more accurate and nuanced understanding of norms than what is stated as legal mandate. Best to talk to people before uprooting!

5. Help rather than compete with the locals.

Buying semi-rural or rural property together as expats may result in a more affordable location in a scenic spot. Yet take a look at the larger picture. Are relatively wealthy outsiders like you causing the rents or purchasable land to rise out of the price range of locals? If you are part of this trend, consider purchasing instead in areas that are workable for you but are not workable for the nationals. For example, there are villages emptying as people move to find work. These might be ideal locations to re-populate with digital nomads and retirees. You will do well to communicate with your neighbors and be an ally, not a source of aggravation. If you do find yourself having lessened the quality of life for locals, find a way to give back. Make sure it is a contribution valued by the locals, or better yet, suggested by the locals.

Examples of Expat Residential Communities

Usually expat communities are connections online, which can be immensely helpful. However, having a physical home base can give you much more sense of security. IC.org/directory can help you find intentional residential communities in many nations. Participating as a visiting intentional community member might be an excellent option to get started, even if eventually you have in mind a specific type of community you want to create based on your own vision.

Green Man Hotel in Portugal intends to form an intentional community around a resort business, preferring unvaxxed residents

El Paraiso Verde: an off-grid intentional community in Paraguay founded by expats with 250 settlers with a school, organic food, livestock, fiber-optic internet

Consultants for Expat Communities

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Members Interested in Expat Residential Communities & Co-travelers

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Expat.com is one of many websites serving people looking for extended residence in foreign nations. There are many destinations that have a high population of North American expats. There’s no end to blogs, vlogs, and travelogs with plenty of advice. There are also many Facebook expat communities in a variety of locations.

For parts of Europe, the online rentfinder platforms spotahome.com and can help you find and book a place to get started. In London, try idealflatmate.co.uk. SiteJabber lists and reviews other roommate finders. Gumtree.com is the Craigslist of the UK. How is ICmatch different? It’s like the Eharmony of coliving and cohousing, where you’re looking for the highest level of compatibility for a long-lasting mutually supportive friendship. ICmatch focuses on the people more than the place.

These foundation grants do not require that you be or partner with a non-profit agency or government.

Grants to individuals for small agriculture projects (outside U.S.)