SHTF blog – Modern Survival

Challenges of Becoming an Expat Prepper

expat prepper challenges

As you probably already know, an expat (expatriate) is someone who lives in a country other than the one he or she was born in, and a prepper is someone who actively prepares for emergencies. Therefore, expat preppers are people that live in a country not their own and are prepared for disruptions in society, natural disasters, and personal emergencies.

by Jolina Flowers, an expat prepper living in Mexico

Expat preppers have chosen to leave their home countries for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are working or studying abroad. They may have relocated because of the political situation in their home country or for religious reasons. The cost of living in the new country might be lower than the country they have left, enabling them to have a better quality of life. Some expat preppers have a zest for adventure that compels them to make their home in a unique environment that they couldn’t experience in their birth country. 

Living in another country as an expat prepper can be challenging. 

Language Barriers

If you choose a country where the predominant language is different from your own, then you’ll have to learn the language in order to interact with locals. Chinese and Spanish are more widely spoken than English. Knowing those languages will help you navigate your way successfully in a good portion of the world. 

Even if you move to somewhere that speaks your language, the dialect may make communication tricky. Think of the difference between Australian English and American English and you’ll see what I mean.

Local Food Sources

You may move to a country where you can’t readily get MREs or maple syrup, so your stockpile food choices may have to be reassessed. Understanding what food grows in your new country and figuring which you should select to keep on hand in case of emergencies has quite a learning curve to it.

Food distribution issues can seriously impact food availability. Even in areas where the environment can provide ample foodstuff, control of the distribution process forces some to go hungry. 

Income Requirements

The country you want to move to might require you to earn a certain dollar amount before it grants you residency. The United States has particularly high-income requirements. 

You may also need regular income to maintain your prepper expenses but could find that employment restrictions because of your residency status make that difficult. Some countries require companies to hire any citizens that apply before even considering a more-qualified expat for the position. So money can be an issue in an expat prepper life. 

Local Laws and Procedures

Weapon laws may mean you need to leave your gun arsenal behind. Some countries have disarmed their entire populations, so having a weapon in those countries can result in your arrest. The permit laws may be different than the country you left. It may be more difficult to obtain these permits if you are not a naturalized citizen. 

Building requirements might also be stricter, or more lenient, than what you are used to. Designing a rainwater catchment system, for example, is illegal in some parts of the United States. Other countries require or prohibit the use of solar panels. France has mandated that new buildings must have either plants or solar panels as part of rooftop construction in some areas. Spain makes you pay a sun tax, even on off-grid solar systems. 

Availability of Resources

Building materials, alternative energy options, and even water might be unavailable in the area you wish to relocate to. Learning how to build your home like the locals do and experimenting with viable energy options can be hurdles you’ll need to overcome.

Related: Mexico Earthquakes: Preparing as an Expat Prepper

Getting running water isn’t as easy as turning on the tap in many parts of the world. More than 17 countries are experiencing extremely stressed water supplies. Managing your water consumption is a process that you’ll have to learn. 

Transportation for Expats

Getting around can be more taxing than you imagine in a new country. Local infrastructure may mean public transportation isn’t efficient. Gas prices and availability might imply driving a vehicle is costly. Poor road conditions can mean that you’ll have quite a trek to get to town and back home again. 

Finding Other Expat Preppers

Establishing a community to rely on in the event of an emergency could be challenging. Many cultures have an extremely lax view of preparedness, living for the moment, as it were. Add the language barrier to the mix, and finding your prepper peeps could be tough.

Dealing with Natural Disasters

Some areas of the world have to contend with regular volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, and tsunamis. You may not have experience weathering these sorts of conditions. Preparing for all possible disasters is more labor-intensive than preparing for just a few. 

Wildfires in California and Australia have devastated huge areas. Torrential rains and landslides were deadly in 2018 in Japan. Volcanic eruptions in Guatemala destroyed entire villages in 2018.  Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive storm to hit the United States in 2005. 

No country is without the threat of natural disasters, however. Even Greenland is prone to earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. As climate change continues to alter normal weather patterns, we can expect things to get worse.

Dealing with Political Turmoil

Even a relatively stable country can suddenly be plunged into political turmoil overnight. Look at the current situation in Venezuela. Thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country because of the civil unrest and scarcity of basic supplies. 

Civil war can spring up without your realization, putting your prepper home into peril. The conflict in South Sudan has created approximately 2.4 million refugees looking for a new place to put down roots. Territorial disputes in the Ukraine have displaced more than 1.5 million people. 

Expat Prepper Conclusion

Any one of these conditions can make establishing your home base in a new country as an expat prepper challenging. On the other hand, perhaps one or more of these situations in your home country are creating a volatile situation you are ready to leave behind.

Are you an expat prepper? If so, what challenges have you faced?

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