By Marlee Ginter

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — It has been a challenging year for everyone and it appears many are ready to throw in the towel and get out of the United States.

International Living has seen a 1,605% surge in traffic over the last four months on its website mapping out how to leave the U.S. From the pandemic to a contentious election season, one can only guess at why many may be thinking about packing their bags for good.

“I think you’ve got to leave all options open. Maybe a more boring, safer, more vanilla existence is the goal,” said traveler Gavin Caganoff.

“No, this is our country. Hopefully, this can turn a table and bring people together instead of apart,” said traveler Russ Jones.

“We all get frustrated and say it, ‘I’m gonna move to Canada!’ Well, we’re not welcome in Canada right now,” said Roy Lindahl, owner of Elk Grove Travel.

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Lindahl says as tempting or even as glamorous as it may sound to pack up and start anew, roughly 95% of the world is closed off. In fact, there’s only one place without travel restrictions right now and that’s Mexico.

Former CBS13 News Anchor Pallas Hupé Cotter took the leap of faith nearly a decade ago.  Cotter’s husband got a new job opportunity overseas prompting them to move their family of four to New Zealand. Cotter points out they didn’t leave to escape problems like a pandemic or political polarization and even then, starting over wasn’t easy.

“Don’t run away from something, run towards something. Go somewhere, if you’re going to go, and go not to get away from the problems but to contribute to a new society. Because there’s no nirvana,” said Cotter.

Lindahl also cautions people to think about what they’d be giving up if they did leave the U.S.

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“I think a lot of people are stuck here. I hear it all the time, ‘I’m going to leave.’  But you really never thought that through,” said Lindahl.

You may not be allowed to work or make money in the country you move to right away. Your healthcare insurance may not cover you outside the U.S. And the quality of life and accommodations may also not be up to your expectations.

Experts say it can take years to get citizenship in another country. Many will let you buy citizenship, but that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are really serious about it, several countries are offering citizenship discounts through the end of 2020.

Comments (22)
  1. overreaction says:

    Moot point because Dems won’t have congress. They’ll get nothing done. What are people freaking out over?

    And if Dems did win, I’d just eventually quit my job. Why work hard for the same outcome as everyone else?

  2. Jim says:

    I’ve noticed that people who either write about or just comment on living in another country, don’t know a whole lot of what they’re talking about. Moving to another country does NOT mean you have to or even want to be a citizen of the country you’ve moved to. I moved years ago to a far away country (from the U.S.) and lived, worked, got married there. Eventually, my wife and I moved back to the U.S….she’s a LEGAL alien resident (yes, alien IS a correct term, and if you’re not here legally, you ARE an ILLEGAL alien). She’s been married to me for a long time, had kids here, worked here and is STILL a citizen of her own country. That’s her decision. So when a writer like the one who wrote this article says that it can take years to become a citizen in another country…yeah? So what? For most people…who cares? That does not impede your living there in almost the same ways as being a citizen. And when I moved to the aforementioned other country years ago, I had no intention of becoming a citizen of that country. Still proud to be a citizen of my own country, but I also now think of the other country as my second home.

    1. Robert I. Kabakoff says:

      Thanks man. I just returned from five months in Nepal. Loved it, but would never, ever want to become a citizen there. No. For what? And like you, proud to be a US citizen but I still like to travel the world and expose myself to different life-styles and cultures. As long as I am LEGALLY there and play by their rules I’m good to go. They have these things called visas which offer a number of ways to get things done, when possible. When not? You make the adjustments. Thanks again. And yeah, I’ll take a pass on Mexican citizenship, nice place to visit but…

  3. Me says:

    In the process of becoming a legal resident of my new country. Agree with above posting … citizenship not required to stay and live, just legal residency. The 95% of the world being shut down being the most glaring problem for those of us who waited too long.

  4. Lesley Stern says:

    This is pretty superficial. It doesn’t even say WHICH countries are offering discounts, which have repatriation laws or tax implications or countries with strong expat communities, etc, etc, etc.

  5. Matt says:

    Been abroad for eight years now. Four years away from citizenship in my new home. Won’t look back at that hotmess that you ignoramouses have made of the United States. You Republican fascists exhausted my last bit of patience of that place. Thank you and goodbye. I hope I don’t hear or see any of you around where I live.

    Viel Spass mit eurem Dreckhaufen!

    1. Uppity White Man says:

      It wasn’t the Republicans. Republicans love America. It’s the Democrats that want to change America and create the hot mess.

  6. ted says:

    Matt, you are your type are not missed here one bit. Can you please encourage your friends and family to also move out?.

    1. Robert Kabakoff says:


  7. Mark Matis says:

    Kill the filthy tribe swill for the evil they have done, and stack their corpses on Fisherman’s Wharf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. AttakapasTribe says:

    Thats the plan. Make life so miserable for the holders of this land in due course that they leave, die or forget who they are. We havent and we are not leaving our land to a bunch of foreign usurpers. Our family heritage WILL live on and nothing, including corporations masquerading as government, will ever take that away. Our children’s great grandchildren will know the truth. Codified land and resource theft is fraud and there is no statute of limitations on fraud.
    Those who want to go, get out and take your covid hoax with you.

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  10. thargan says:

    Ultimate solution is

  11. Andrew Russell says:

    I regularly travel to the Philippines and have family on my wife’s side there. However, if you are leaving the US to escape fascism and unsafe conditions, I suspect your decisions may be short sighted. Covid Responses have been a bit more draconian in many rural foreign areas, and you won’t enjoy celebrity status as a US Citizen abroad (once your novelty wears off) unless you are a very pleasant and humble person with an endearing personality. Any pretense of elitism will cause you isolation and misery over the long term, and many Americans are likely to be surprised at the level of drama and gossip in most countries where you are a predominate target of conversation, speculation, and scrutiny. Go to a country because you love the people or culture. Don’t go to escape. Wherever you go, there you are. (You can’t escape yourself, your fears, or your concerns).

    1. Robert I. Kabakoff says:

      Another bingo. “unless you are a very pleasant and humble person with an endearing personality.” You described me to a T. Marvelous. Thank you. Kidding aside, yeah, it’s like Darwin noted, the key is the ability to adapt. In blessed, beautiful, Hindu Nepal where I “sheltered in place” while my city, NY was stricken by looters and virus’s, as much love as they gave me and I returned, they hung a thirteen year old girl who was raped by a twenty year old man from an upper caste because her family dared to complain. It wasn’t a legal action, it was a crime, but it came from deeply held cultural beliefs and practices. No panacea. No “presumption of innocence”, no “right to an attorney”, very limited “freedom of speech and association” or dependable electricity or water and no Walmarts with cheap and plentiful everything.,.. everything is fine and wonderful, a “stranger in a strange land’ until it isn’t. So you’ll have to be very adaptive and the personality traits you list are fundamental, elemental keys, anywhere. Humility. Among the first words I learned was namaskar, or ‘respect’ which I used as ‘goodbye’ and ‘hello’. And you bow quickly placing your clasped hands together pointing upwards, acknowledging the inner deity we are all part of. Something like that, but even without grasping the the full significance and nuance, it’s a good practice, especially for foreigners, anywhere.

  12. Connie Pirkle says:

    I hate that we are going to have a sappy Woodrow Wilson type President..
    Another Appeaser in Chief. Oh well, it is just politics, my silly little life never changes. Dems talk ALOT, but they never actually do anything so I don’t know what all the ruckus is about… 🙂

  13. One and Don(e) says:

    The fact that the borders are closed is irrelevant to any Trump supporters wanting to leave the US. Few countries look kindly on gun ownership. Most developed countries with a standard of living close to ours have a higher degree of social spending, and taxation. If you want to move to a truly conservative region, there’s always the Middle East.

  14. Billy Lzer says:

    time to exit … they can have all the programs , groups , etc they want but i aint supporting them

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