Why I Left the US

Joel alerted me to this really interesting and well written article by a woman who has lived outside the USA for 20 years.


She talks about a much better work – life balance, lack of fears of gun violence, availability of health care, education, affordable child care, retirement pension, and a government that cares for its citizens (she lived in the Caribbean and is now in southern France)

I have come to share many of the same feelings since living here in Panama. We were all taught that the US is the best country in the world (which implies that others aren’t as good). I now believe others are only different,  and maybe better in many respects. This expat experience has been eye opening and life changing for me in a good way for many reasons I have written about in the past. I hope that back in the US there will be strong efforts to reverse the divisiveness, intolerance, violence, and lack of basic needs like housing, health care, decent jobs, and quality education for too many people.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Panama. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Why I Left the US

  1. Robert&Helen says:

    Guadeloupe is an overseas French territory. Similar social welfare system etc.


  2. Diane says:

    It was an interesting article. I have talked to people up here in Canada who are reconsidering their retirement plans and thinking of possibly retiring in another country where the cost of living is lower.


  3. Wow, thanks for finding and posting this. If you don’t mind, we might do likewise on our blog (with due credit, of course!).


  4. Anonymous says:

    Great article Kris. Thanks for this post.


  5. Richard says:

    You well know how I felt, and still do, about Panama and her people. I am, thanks to my cedula, a permanent resident of the Republic. You also know it was a horribly tough decision for me to repatriate. Sigh! But it is what it is. I live on the hook on my little boat and try and stay sane in this crazy country.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Reblog: Will we ever live in the U.S. again? - Latitude Adjustment

  7. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Someone would have to hold me at gunpoint to work in D.C., or any huge urban center. And anything north of Denton, Texas is just too far north. 🙂 Our little piece of the USA fits the American Dream perfectly. Nena and I are both retired, 10 years ago. Nena didn’t work outside the home until the kids left after high school. The “kids” are now 46 and 41, both with families of their own. They both live only a few miles from us and we see the grands every week and attend their sports, and school activities. Our house is paid off, we have more spending money now than when I was working and we are in good health (could stand to lose a few pounds!).
    If the young lady in the article is happy with her choices that is great. What concerns me is that I do not think that she considered all of her options available to her before choosing to expatriate. She seems to be an intelligent person and educated and I believe there should be all kinds of different paths at that point in one’s life. My first “real” job was running a PuttPutt golf course, at age 15 (I was paid cash because I was not old enough for a SS card back then). I have had probably dozens of different jobs since then and I learned something at each one (retail sales was crossed off the list early; I am not a salesman). One of the really great things about the US is the size of it means there must be something for everyone to do at which they can excel and make a living. And folks are still willing to risk dying to get to the US, there must be some reason for that?


    • If we had to live in the US we would probably choose TX and hope for a life similar to yours.

      I think there used to be something for everyone in the US, but it is not so any more, not for everyone. A classmate of my daughter (PhD in physics) looked for a year before she could find a job. If you are female, minority, older, lack good education, and many other reasons it can be very hard to find a job. The cost of housing is crazy in many areas, and worse in urban centers where the jobs tend to be. Basic health care is a luxury for many and dental care impossible.

      For me, a huge deal is also acceptance and respect. I am white, but I am not Christian or heterosexual so outside off NYC I always felt like a foreigner who had to hide much of myself to get along. I was totally surprised to find that here in Panama, there is none of that. For me that’s also a really big thing.


  8. Felipe says:

    I did see that article. Interesting that she did what she did at such a young age. I came close to doing something like that in my late 20’s/early 30’s but chickened out and stayed the corporate route. At least now I’ve got savings and think I’m quitting end of the year, but I’ve paid in years of soul-killing work.
    Fortunately, though originally from the South, I grew up in a very tolerant and open minded family. Two generations of merchant ship captains made the adults in my family pass on to us that it’s just all one big world. Political boundaries are temporary and change with the wind. We all, no matter our orientation or religious beliefs, contribute to society. Excluding contributions from people who aren’t like us weakens us in the long-term. The US is making some serious errors in deporting people who’ve been here decades. England is doing the same thing (my sister lives there but fortunately became a citizen so they can’t kick her out.)
    I read last night that Toronto has moved up in consideration by Amazon for their HQ2. Amazon knows they need to import specialized skills and they know Canada will let them do that. It would be interesting if the US loses half of that company over small-minded immigration policies.
    I enjoy your posts, Kris. Thanks for sharing and having it public.


    • Thanks for your comment. I think travel and being exposed to people from other countries and cultures really changes your thinking in a good way, and helps you see what we all have in common. The US was built by immigrants and I think that’s what made us so successful, but somehow we seem to have forgotten that.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. simplywendi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey outside of the US……it has opened my eyes as to other possibilities for my future.


Comments are closed.