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This is not a fringe thing, moving abroad. It's not just a few thousand guys. I have been seeing this trend over the last 15 years. You would have been looked at like a nut for thinking like we do 15 years ago. While it may be true in our current mass media consciousness mass-think we are considered out to lunch, at least for now. The hard real numbers are telling a different story.
The news of a Facebook founder renouncing his US Citizenship reverberated around the US, but that was mostly over US Tax Law (current and forthcoming).
Expat living has picked up but really picked up after the Bush's stolen election and kept a steady pace since.
The good news is they are invading countries with lots of Americans already, like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, UK, France, Spain and Australia.
Further good news is that they are generally avoiding Colombia (crime myth), Brazil (cost), Argentina (unstable economy/currency), Venezuela (fear of socialism) and Central America (instability/crime/dysfunctional government/socialism). That said because of the low cost of Central America is becoming attractive.
Asia-Pacific is popular with Europeans because of the distance away. For Americans with aging parents being 13-14 hours away by plane doesn't seem ideal, I don't think it is.
Cost of living in Thailand - http://www.siam-info.com/english/cost_of_living_.html
My dad was joking about going to central or south america to retire, due to medical industries not being a cancer money scam like it is in the US. I somehow do not think he was joking all the way... I would like to relocate to Europe if I can somehow carryover my career somehow. I might start a business with China, trade wise instead and see how that goes. My wife will be my way to keep a permanent visa stay. Still far away from relatives like you mentioned. I don't see an easier solution either way.