Quote of the Day — How to emigrate

The following quote summarizes roughly a number of ideas I have a lot of troubles explaining. However, I feel that many people emigrate for the wrong reasons, one of them being simply unsatisfied with living in the previous place. Here it goes:

[…] Emigration is no small business. In addition to a serious commitment to somehow integrate into the new place as a citizen, emigration involves also commitment to stay, integrate culturally and contribute to the society. I have made my own commitments in this respect - I am actively learning the language; I enjoy paying the due taxes; I have a traditional housing […]; and so on. If you were to emigrate, what are your plans?

[…] When I was considering emigrating, what was most important to me was how I would feel when I would arrive to the “right” place. This had to be considered independently from my feelings as a French citizen, and more by understanding the position of the various candidates relatively to their geographical neighborhood. […] My way of making my choice was to take a map of the world and imagining myself living in various areas. Primary concern was filtering out those places I would not feel secure in. Either because I am not protected by family (financially or otherwise), because I’m gay, because I often use my right to say what I think (is bad) about things, or because I have no religion. Next concern was filtering out those places I would be considered as a stranger for the rest of my life, whatever I would do, such as because of the color of my skin or the language difference. Then I tried to match my personality with the cultural expectations, such as avoiding warm-blooded countries where lots of talking are required to get things done (in business or private life), or liberal countries where your social value as an individual is proportional to the amount of money you’re worth.

Using only these ideas, not much was left standing on my world map. Most world countries, and several European countries such as Poland, Greece, or Italy were ruled out by the first criterion. France, the UK and most other “western” countries were ruled out by the last criterion. Nearly all the rest of the world got ruled out by the middle criterion. I ended up with the Netherlands mainly because Canada is a bit too close to the USA, because I do not speak German (and German-speaking countries are not very English speaking), and because I think it’s a bit early (for me) to go to Scandinavia or other other northern parts of Europe - life there is easy, but it is tremendously difficult to start friendships with people and I am still very shy. And note that the Netherlands does not quite match my last criterion (very liberal, very capitalistic) so it was a match only because I had a kind of fondness for the place, fondness that grew during some trips in the past years.

Hope this helps.