I just came upon your blog in my search about Uruguay. Did you and
your family eventually move there? We live in the US and are
considering a move to Uruguay and have no idea where to start. I
wanted to ask you some questions if you are living there or if you
know someone who does.
Hello Tiffany. I’m not in Uruguay and not planning to move there any time soon. We never planned to do so really. In fact the last person from Uruguay I talked with already emigrated and is now happily living in Ireland. She left with her family looking for the kind of stability and opportunities Uruguay simply couldn’t provide. Still, Uruguay is the country I have recommended in my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” for those looking to move to South America.
So as to contact people there my suggestion would be to start with the obvious “expats in Uruguay” search and go from there. Participate in forums, get to know people. Keep in mind though that one man’s paradise is another man’s hell.
If you want my opinion, basically what I said in this video is still very much true.
Uruguay can be a great place for you. Or Argentina. Or Colombia. Or Thailand. Or Canada. Or India.
But since you ask me and I’m not a magazine or website editor trying to hook you up with anything here’s some honesty/tough love: While you may be happy in any of those places, there’s some facts you can’t avoid. Canada is simply better as a place to live in than India. Or Colombia. Or Thailand. This is not me expressing an opinion, but a simple observation of pretty conclusive data. Indicators of quality of life, healthcare, crime, life expectancy, GDP, education, infrastructure, employment, transportation, cost of living, and a long etcetera points in a certain direction. Uruguay is nice. Its relatively peaceful and simple living. Millions live there happily and wouldn’t trade it for anything else… just like millions of people in other countries.
My point is be honest with what you want to find in Uruguay, or anywhere else. This is one of the main points I focus on in “Bugging out and Relocating” when it comes to moving abroad. Expectations. Crime in Uruguay will be much better if you’re from Chicago, but it will be much worse if you come from Maine. Either way you’ll experience a clash of cultures. People all over Latin America are mostly used to getting by with less. Less of everything. Computers, cars, cell phones, many of these will be luxuries for you. Organization and overall bureaucracy is a lot worse, and I know this drives many people from developed countries nuts.
Now, if you want a friendly, family oriented culture you will find it in Uruguay. Family and friends, the importance of relationships between people is stronger and simply more of a priority all over Latin America compared to most of the developed world. Friends hug one another more, people greet each other with a kiss in the cheek, it just seems overall more “touchy” which some people aren’t comfortable with but it’s not meant to be sensual in any way, its just a more expressive culture in the way they interact with one another. For example people in Uruguay don’t doubt a second about sharing mate, where everyone drinks form the same straw. It’s the same in Argentina. An American more worried about personal space and worried about sharing a glass let alone a metal straw is hardly the kind of person that would integrate well in Uruguay. Then again you could focus more on being among expats from your same country, most of which went there with the same ideas and expectations, maybe even more important LEFT your country for the same reason and you just get along great with them, sticking among like-minded people in somewhat of an enclave.
My advice is be honest with yourself. The expectations you have and what you are likely to encounter there. There’s a tremendous difference between the developed and developing world. Everything sounds fantastic until you realize that other than some honourable exceptions pretty much everything is more expensive in Uruguay than in USA.
Once you are certain you want to give it a go, don’t make any permanent decision. Give it a year. Don’t sell your home in USA, rent it out and rent in Uruguay. The first year is usually the “honeymoon” period where everything looks great. The second and third year will be more down to earth but a year minimum is the time you should give it before making any permanent decisions you may later regret.
Best of luck and as the Irish saying goes, May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”