How to become an expatriate
“You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.”
-Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Being patriotic these days in America isn’t easy. The U.S. of A. is still definitely “home of the brave,” but “land of the free” is a stretch. Basically every principle on which America’s reputation as “the land of opportunity” was based has been eroded by massive over-spending, government overreach, welfare, a decline of morals, and Barack Obama.
Becoming an ex-pat means breaking up with your country, and since its cause is associated with many of the same things as becoming an ex-significant other, i.e., disillusionment, disappointment, having nothing in common, betrayal, and/or infidelity, ex-patriotism also requires many of the same things that becoming an ex-significant other does: physical relocation, eccentric behavior, booze, a new hangout, and a support group.
Are you morally opposed to sending your tax monies to pay for Capitol Hill abortions? Are you sick and tired of having your hard-earned money stolen from you and then wasted? Do you simply crave the kind of freedom the Founding Fathers had in mind when they started this country? Are you looking for a way to say, Hasta la vista, ‘Merica, until things improve? Here are some must-dos in order to be the best ex-pat you can be:
Find a new country. It used to be that “The American in Paris is the best American,” but socialism ruined that. Paris can still be fun, but it’s hardly a step up from the U.S. Since most of the reason you’re vacating your mother land is because she has been turned into an over-taxed, under-liberated Oceania, you’re going to want to move somewhere superb. Choices include your libertarian countries, your conservative countries, your tax havens, and some really pretty places where you can live on the cheap.
Become some sort of artist. Writer, painter, sculptor, student, former star athlete, resident eccentric. You must be adventuresome (since, after all, you are leaving behind everything that is familiar to you), yet slightly melancholy at all times (channel your disillusionment to help with this). Artists garner respect wherever they go, because not only do they sometimes have wildly impressive skills, they also immerse themselves to their craft in a way that makes them seem devoted, if not crazy. Respect from the neighborhood is highly desirable in a place where you don’t speak the language.
Familiarize yourself with alcohol. This is best done before buying that one-way ticket to Liechtenstein. It’s pertinent to become a certifiable wine-o on your home turf to build tolerance in a place where they understand your language and culture, and where being disoriented doesn’t resemble a scene from a Fear and Loathing film. Alcoholism and artistry and depression go hand in hand in hand, and you’re embracing all three now.
Be cool with cafés. This will be your new scene. You must make sure it isn’t some monstrous tourist trap, but instead a little coffee shop where you can blend in with the locals. This is where you will meet your fellow ex-pats, work on your art, drink at nighttime, and befriend characters whom you will write about or paint.
Establish a social group. Don’t be all righteous-anger, anti-America. Have some class. You must say sad, aloof sort of things that make you seem principled, interesting, deep, and exotic. You are lost, for heaven’s sake, not because you wanted to get out of Dodge, but because your country let you down. Your social group will be the same, with diverse backgrounds, but possessed of a unified spirit of lostness.