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So I just got my bachelors degree at long last, and I even got a decent job which I start early next month. Unlike most other American men, I don't have to work a slavery job because the job I got is in my field of study, which is music. I am a worship accompanist at a Presbyterian Church, and I only show up at church services.
Anyways, I'm announcing that I am considering the Happier Abroad movement in 2015. The first place outside the US I'm planning on visiting this upcoming year is Ciudad Juarez. It's the closest foreign city regarding the part of the US I live in, and I've been to El Paso a dozen times. Also, some of my friends in El Paso are from Juarez. Two of them live in Juarez while attending UTEP, and that one Tejana girl who I spent quality time with in the nearly-empty student union building at UTEP was raised in Juarez and then moved to El Paso. I even have friends who were born & raised in El Paso and have family in Juarez. And from what they all told me, while I still need to be careful, Juarez is nowhere near as dangerous as it was in 2009-2010 when it was the most dangerous city in the world; the violence died down drastically as of today.
Other cities in Mexico I am considering visiting are Piedras Negras, San Cabo Lucas, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puerto Peñasco, Nogales, Monterrey, etc. Piedras Negras I heard is safer than most of the border towns. I even read that Mexico is more dangerous near the border with Guatemala than it is near the US border, but the mainstream media only focuses on the US-Mexico border.
Eventually, I'll be able to go to other parts of Latin America, The Philippines, as well as Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ukraine. If I do leave the US for good, I won't relocate to Russia because Winston advised against living in Russia in one of his podcasts due to the high crime wave there.
Other border towns in the US I am considering checking out are Nogales, Laredo, Brownsville, Eagle Pass, and McAllen. San Diego is another border city I've been to but is more absorbed into the American culture, especially north of downtown.
Congrats on deciding to be happier abroad. I think you've got the right idea - gradually going farther and farther. Definitely check out Philippines at some point, since that is the ultimate HA destination.
Congrats bro. I wouldn't recommend settling in Mexico long term because it is on its way to becoming a failed state. But for getting started it should be fine. If you can live at home and make money to save up for your trips, it will help you a lot. There are some people who teach English down here and manage to survive, but they are living paycheck to paycheck and have to work tons of hours.
I know it's been mentioned on here before, but anyone with an interest in Latin America should listen to the Expat Files podcasts.
This guy is an American engineer who has been living in LatAm for 20+ years and he knows everything. Countries he doesn't recommend: Mexico, Costa Rica (too touristy), Panama (too much American influence), Ecuador and Argentina (too socialist/politically unstable). No one needs to tell anyone not to go to Venezuela, unless you're an adventurer.
Surprisingly, he and his crew spend a lot of time in Honduras and Guatemala (they're mainly based there). Supposedly if you avoid the big cities and poor areas and stick to the good areas, it's not bad at all.
Pretty much any HA member can easily get dates in the Philippines from what I've heard, but Steve Hoca apparently had it easier in Thailand than in the Philippines. I'm not sure about checking out Russia because of the high crime rate there.
I'm also wanting to look into seeing Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and most other countries in Latin America. If I go to Europe, my main destinations are countries in Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic, Poland, and Latvia. For Asia, my primary destination is the Philippines, which is also every HA member's ultimate destination. After hearing one of Winston's podcasts, I would only want to vacation in Russia and Ukraine and not live in either of those countries due to the high crime rate.
For domestic relocation, my primary destination is El Paso, Texas because it's the only city in America I know of where the women are far more down to earth, easier to meet, more feminine, and not put on pedestals. It's very likely the case in every city on the Mexican border, with the exception of San Diego.