Have Resume, Will Travel

"By virtue of being native English speakers," he said, "Americans already have one huge advantage here because English is the language of business in Europe."

Come for the Paycheck, Stay for the Perks

Many American expats cite financial incentives and a relaxed lifestyle as big reasons to stay right where they are.

Although she misses her extended family in Los Angeles dearly, Adda, who was treated for colon cancer eight years ago and has a genetic condition that increases her risk for other cancers, doesn't think she can afford to leave France. There, her medical fees are fully covered by the French Social Security system.

"I know full well that I would not only be plunged into excessive debt if I went back to LA for treatments and tests, but that I would have trouble even finding accessible health coverage with a pre-existing condition [like this]," she said.

Simpkins, who wanted to start a family with his German wife, had similar qualms about the U.S. health care system. The couple returned to Simpkins' hometown of Marion, Ohio, in 2007 with the hope of staying put, but they didn't last long. Between Simpkins' miserable job prospects as an English teacher and their concerns about securing affordable health insurance, the couple found themselves packing up for Germany again in late 2008.

"Knowing that we were guaranteed health coverage here contributed to our decision to leave," said Simpkins, who's since become a father.

Chantal Panozzo, 32, a staff magazine writer who moved to Baden, Switzerland, with her husband in 2006, has slightly different reasons for staying away from her native Chicago.

"Pay is generally better in Switzerland than the United States and so are things like vacation time. My husband has about seven weeks of vacation this year and his Swiss office is closed for an entire week at Christmas," said Panozzo, who put off her 2009 return to America when the job market here looked particularly bleak.

More important, she said, "The European lifestyle has taught us how to actually relax."

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer and former cubicle dweller. Her books include "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire," and, "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube." Follow her at @anti9to5guide.

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