Choosing Shangri-La Over the Rat Race

A less economically demanding route would be the option Clare Ward, a 27-year-old Briton opted for in 1999. After a year of working with a film production company in London after school, Ward took an English teaching course before going off to teach in a remote village in China's Sichuan province.

The experience proved so soul-soothing that though her stint in China ended in 2001, Ward is garnering office experience in London, which she hopes she can leverage for another overseas posting in the voluntary sector.

For many of today's jetset gypsies, living abroad is also fueled by moral compunctions. Roger Gallo, a 61-year-old American who lives in Panama City, says he's part of a growing number of Americans who moved abroad to "escape America."

In 1995, when Gallo wrote a book titled Escape From America, he was forced to self-publish his work on the Web. Today, he runs an expatriate Web site — escapeartist.com — which offers a host of services for expatriates.

According to Gallo, there are currently 200,000 subscribers for a magazine also called Escape From America, which he publishes every month from Panama City.

"There are people who have a moral will to live abroad," says Gallo, adding that some U.S. policies, especially foreign policies, have so disenfranchised Americans, that the United States is becoming "an emigrant as well as an immigrant nation for the very first time since the Civil War."

But Americans, says Gallo, still lag behind their European counterparts in their urge to live abroad. "For Americans, the act of expatriation is not as simple as for other people," he says. "Americans tend to have small horizons and expatriation is problematic because we have no real history of it."

While Bill would certainly not disagree with Gallo's bleak assessment of American adventurism, he says it's the very factor that urges him to live abroad.

Although Bill and Lorna run their properties in Philippines, they moved back to the United States to put their 15-year-old daughter in an American high school. The minute she gets into college, though, Bill says they will be ready to head back to the Philippines.

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