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Americans Abroad: The Book Project

I’m currently researching this book, which I expect to publish in 2022. 

Would you like to contribute your experiences to the book?

Please click on this questionnaire to share your insights:

Americans Abroad questionnaire image

Here’s a summary:

About 10 million US citizens lived abroad in 2020, and that number is growing. They move for various reasons, including work, relationships, cost of living, retirement, escape, and adventure.

There are several “how-to” books and numerous online resources for Americans considering moving abroad. Practical advice is easy to find. But the information trails off once people arrive at their destinations, with the exception of private expat Facebook groups and conversations.

Many Americans have also written memoirs about their time living outside the US, but these are usually country-specific (“My life as an expat in Saudi Arabia,” etc.) and don’t address broader questions of what it’s like to live away from our massive, diverse, and complicated country of origin.

What is this experience like for those who decide to go for it? How do Americans relate to their new lives abroad? Of course it depends on the person and place, but are there any themes or patterns?

I’d like to find out by asking Americans in various countries what their journeys have been like. How has their experience of moving abroad changed their life? What do they wish they’d known before they left? What discoveries have they made that could not have been planned? What reflections do they have, and what would they like other potential expats/immigrants to know?

My primary audience is people who still live in the US and are curious what it would be like to live abroad. I’d like them to learn how living abroad has affected people’s lives, especially in ways that might not be obvious or in deeper ways than expected.

Your contribution will be invaluable in giving me, and therefore this audience, an overview of the wide range of possible experiences. (And this book will be an overview, not a deep dive into any particular topic.)

I’ll publish my findings in an e-book, probably in a print version, and maybe as an audiobook.

I’m planning one short chapter covering some of the practicalities in a very general way, including:

• Tax considerations (the very basics)
• Financial considerations
• Ease (or difficulty) of traveling back (flights, cost, Global Entry)
• Kids and schools
• Shipping/ordering things from the US
• Shipping stuff to the new country

But to then focus on more “existential” topics.

This information will come directly from Americans like you who have made the move. I’ll include quotes and personal stories, as well as my own observations.

Americans Abroad

Who am I?

I’m a writer, editor, and learning designer who moved to the Netherlands in 2018 and has spent a good deal of time observing and thinking about the cultural aspects of moving out of the US. I have master’s degrees in cultural geography and counseling, and for a few years I worked as a personal historian recording people’s life stories. I’m originally from Chicago but lived in Denver and Southern California for a long time. For more information about my professional background, visit my website HedbergEnglish.com.