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Moving Back to the USA?

Moving Back to the USA?

Why do Expats in the Philippines move back home?

Is Bob Martin going to move back to the USA?

For about 3 years or so now, Feyma and I have seriously been considering moving back to the USA.

Tagalog Buddy

Yep. I said it. After having lived in the Philippines, Feyma and I have considered moving back to the USA. Why? Well, for the first 15 years or so of our life here in the Philippines, we felt pretty firm here, no real thoughts about going back “home”.

But, it all started in 2015 or so, the thought started creeping into our minds… maybe we should think of moving back to the USA.

Aaron went back to visit

Aaron went to the States - first time to return sine he was 3 years old

Aaron went to the States – first time to return sine he was 3 years old

In 2015, our son, Aaron went back to the USA for the first time. He mostly went back to visit his grandmother there and to just “get to know” his homeland. Aaron was 3 years old when we moved to the Philippines in 2000.

When Aaron went back for a visit, it was our first time that one of our kids had “flown from the nest” even if it was only temporary. Aaron was in the United States for around 7 months that year. During his absence, especially since it was our first time being separated from one of our kids, Feyma and I started thinking of moving back to the USA.

When the topic first came up, we were pretty excited about it. But we realized it was a very complicated decision to make regarding moving back to the USA.

Since 2015 we have considered moving back to the USA a half-dozen times

A week or two ago a close friend brought this topic up. I chuckled a little bit when he raised it because Feyma and I have been thinking of moving back to the USA for a couple of years. We have had times when we were virtually certain we were moving back to the USA. It has been something we have considered at least a half dozen times over the past 2 to 3 years, probably even more than a half dozen times.

When we first started thinking about moving back to the USA, we felt like 90%+ certain we would do it. However, every time we really consider it closely, we always come down that we will stay in the Philippines.

During August, we were considering it again, and close to pulling the trigger. But, in the end, we came back down on the side of staying put here in the Philippines instead of moving back to the USA.

Reasons we would think of moving back to the USA

  1. Conveniences.
  2. Availability of goods and services.
  3. Time for a change in our lives.
  4. Feyma kind of wants to work and lots of different kinds of work are available there for her.
  5. I would like to get into an online niche that would work better if I were US based.

Reasons not to be moving back to the USA

  1. We would choose to live in more of a rural area (Montana, Wyoming, or Rural Illinois are at the top of our list), but going rural kind of nullifies #1 and #2 above).
  2. Especially when living in a rural area, the availability of public transportation is limited. In general, I feel that public transport is not very good in the USA. You pretty much need to have a car. I am not comfortable driving, especially due to my poor eyesight (which is much better, though).
  3. Both Feyma and I feel that moving back to the USA more or less puts us in a position where we have to start over again. A total reboot of our lives. We feel that at our age, we are not interested in starting over again.

Reasons to leave the Philippines

  1. Lack of conveniences and product availability.
  2. Time for a change.
  3. Some extended family issues that are personal.

Reasons to stay in the Philippines

  1. We enjoy our lives here.
  2. We have a good setup here. Good connections. Things work well for us here. Basically, we have a good place in the community, if you know what I mean. This is an important part of life here.
  3. We have come to really rely on public transport, and like the options here for that. Going anywhere we want to go is convenient and cheap.
  4. Less expensive living (although this is only a minor consideration).

There are probably other things that I have forgotten, but these are major factors.

When we consider moving back to the USA

When we really think about all of this, we always find it easiest and best to decide to stay put here in the Philippines.

Moving back to the USA? We came up with a hybrid solution.

On our last round of considering this, when we again decided it was best for us to stay here in the Philippines, I made a proposal to Feyma that we would just drop the topic from further consideration, but we would make a few changes to our current lifestyle. The main change is that we would try to go to the USA for a visit every year or two.

During our visit to the USA, we would do some travel there, visit friends and relatives. Another big purpose of such a trip would be to buy supplies that are not easy (or impossible) to get here, send Balikbayan Boxes back, etc.

Doing this annual or semi-annual trip would add both fun and functionality to our lives. It would keep the benefits of living here, but also add some of the pluses of moving back to the USA. Both Feyma and I came down that this was a good solution for us, and would give us the best of both options (living in the Philippines vs. moving back to the USA).

Will we consider moving back to the USA again?

Well, given the way we have done for the past few years, we probably will. LoL.

But, we do feel that we have reached a conclusion and a good solution. We’ll see. But, these are our thoughts on the topic of moving back to the USA. Of course, what other expats decide is their personal decision. I don’t think there is a wrong or right answer. In general, whether or not you should be moving back to the USA is a decision that can only be made on a couple by couple basis. What we have decided, I believe, will work well for us.

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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David Haldane
David Haldane
5 years ago

Don’t go! Seriously, though, Bob, your hybrid solution sounds very much like what Ivy and I have been planning all along. We, of course, have a major advantage in still owning our house in California. We are already planning our first trip back, for about two months next June and July, and will probably make the same pilgrimage every 1-2 years after that. Hope your solution works well for you and Feyma. Also still hope to get to Davao to meet you guys in person sometime before you go…

Steve B
Steve B
5 years ago
Reply to  David Haldane

David – Just curious – will your wife be travelling on a tourist visa? I’ve heard they are very hard to get

5 years ago

I go through this too from time to time. It’s not an easy decision at all! There are certain luxuries in both places. When my earnings are high, absolutely no desire to leave the Philippines. When there are business struggles, I definitely start walking through the process….

Max Woodside
Max Woodside
5 years ago

I understand 100%. Trade-offs are many. Personally, 6 months back and forth would be pretty nice. Los Angeles is very cosmopolitan, with myriads of amenities- but expensive. All I do is teach classes on-line, study and write – so it’s sweet here. I truly love it in Cebu by the sea.

jack Simmons
5 years ago
Reply to  Max Woodside

Hi Max, I just your article responding to Bob. I have a Masters Degree in Education. I have fallen in love with a lady in General Santos City. I am seriously considering moving there. I see that you teach online. Do you mind sharing with me how I might be able to do the same thing. I would greatly appreciate any and all help that you might give me.

5 years ago

Bob, You just have to do what’s best for you. We are like you, we want the best of both worlds. So next April we will be going back to the US and file for Anne’s permanent residency. Since she already has a 10 year Tourist Visa we will file for Adjustment of Status, which should be a little easier. We are planning on spending approximately 6 months in each place once she get’s PR. One of the reason’s is that my parents are in Assisted Living Facility and would like to spend more time with them along with my… Read more »

Megan Nathan Lacida
5 years ago

You and Feyma have a good thing going in the Philippines
Stay put ?

Mike Antonio Sottile
5 years ago

I hate the 25-30 hour flight from the east coast of the USA to Cebu and it seems we spend to much money when we stay for a months visit ,my big problem with the Philippines is the toilet and shower situation when visiting relatives and the lack off air conditioning and the air pollution staying in the local baranguay

Mike Antonio Sottile
5 years ago

You need minimum a 1000 bucks to scrape by and your not gonna live real fancy with extras.

5 years ago

You can live in a suburbian town, mear to an area. It will allow hou to live in a “rural” place but noyfar enough from jobs and conveniences. Consumer goods arebessily available online , even food and groceries. The number of ways to save are numerous here such as coupons, discount apps, rebates, and casbacks that are not even acceptable to use in the Philippines. This is the reason why we are saving and investing in 401K and in other investment portfolios, so when we get to retire in the Philippines aside from our pension, and SS. And just like… Read more »

5 years ago

Illinois is headed toward bankruptcy. Suggest you remove it as potential future residence if you ever reconsider again to live in states. Enjoyed the article.

5 years ago

Heck Bob, many of us Expats get inspiration from you. That includes your happiness shown in the Philippines, the business and you just being here so long. There will be something wrong with where ever is the choice to live, its just where you want or need to be that counts. You will gain some things and you will loose some things at either place. If you go, the thing is that you can always come back to the Philippines.

5 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Hi Bob

I have lived and been based out of the Philippines since since 1992 when we built our house. I have never really thought of moving back home permanently, my daughters from my previous marriage has been here on visits and we visit my family back in Ireland every so often. Moving back I don’t think will ever happen, too happy here.

I think a lot of people will miss you if you ever decide to go, so hopefully you will stay.

Just my penny’s worth.


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