How many of us have sat in our offices, homes or cars (in rush hour traffic) dreaming of a different life that would take us away from the stress and mundane tasks we endure day in and day out. Do we really feel that we are living out the choices that we intended to make? What would it take to break free of that and live a completely different life? I recently read an article about people who did just that and now live the life they chose in completely different places and cultures.

Look at, for example, Ann Gordon, who was an American animal trainer that worked on movie sets training animals. She took a job in Panama where they employed local tribes people to work as actors. Ann was so taken by the people of the tribe, their lifestyle and their outlook on life that she stayed! She now lives in Panama, is married to local tribesman and runs tours in the rain forest.

O.k., so this example might be a bit extreme, but what would it take to drop your life in the states and go live abroad? And, is it necessary to complete change scenery to reinvent yourself and live the life you dream of? People who have done this say that putting yourself in unfamiliar and uncomfortable surroundings forces a re-evaluation and new perspective. It also opens new opportunities and creates new friendships with people in cultures that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Imagine how freeing it would be to interact with a new social group that doesn’t judge you by your past or know your ex girlfriend. In new environments you can be free to create relationships intentionally and be the person you always wanted to be.

Another factor to consider is that in many countries, especially those in South America, the cost of living is much lower. This gives people more time to focus on interests and relationships as opposed to the American way of working yourself to death. One expatriate who has interests in several offshore businesses recently built a health clinic to bring primary health care to the rural Nicaraguans. He was able to do this because the cost of living is so low there that he could focus on ventures and projects that were important to him, develop better relationships and get involved in things on a deeper level.

Now all of this begs the question, “what are these people running away from?” Who knows. Maybe it is o.k. to run away, if what you run to is healthy, fruitful and makes you happy.