Running Away from Home [America] (Book Review)
"The Grown-Up's Guide to Running Away From Home: Making a New Life Abroad". By Rosanne Knorr, Ten Speed Press, c2008, 2nd edition, 198 pages, #1580088732, $15.
The publisher's promo line is: "For empty-nesters, early retirees, and even established executives, midlife is the ideal time to turn travel fantasies into real and rewarding experiences. This second edition of "The Grown-up's Guide to Running Away From Home" covers estimating cost-of-living expenses, the do's and don'ts of international health care, the boom in online travel resources, and much more. Whether planning a month-long escape or a whole new life in another country, this empowering guide will encourage mature would-be expats to pursue the overseas adventure they've been craving: (1) An accessible primer for midlife adults who long to live or retire in another country, featuring information on choosing a destination, readying finances, working, and keeping the stateside home fires burning. &, (2) Detailed advice is interspersed with lively and inspiring anecdotes from the author's own adventures, plus interviews with other experienced expats."
In some sense this is what the book is about, but in the end there isn't anything all that new, creative, insightful, soundly practical, or "inside", about the information contained therein (and given the ease and thoroughness of the web, that is what one seeks and should expect from contemporary paper resources). The work suffers from the same fault all such books suffer, namely, it is mostly a collection of information culled from other books, and various internet sources in particular. While rarely factually incorrect, the work is simply too vague about most key concerns, and too generic to really be a "Guide to Running Away From Home", etc. At best, the book is a guide to the sort of questions one need to think about years before leaving, but that is a slightly different work than is implied by the title.
This is the 2nd edition of the work, and is nothing if not current - it was released earlier this year (2008). These two points, coupled with the fact that it was printed by Ten Speed (often, there books are really quite good: http://www.tenspeed.com/ ), might make it seem like a rather interesting volume. Sadly, it is, at best, a mediocre effort. The author had exactly ten years to create the 2nd edition (the 1st edition was c1998, also by Ten Speed), though somehow, even with the expected padding sections (generic information easily found elsewhere), the book went down from 216 to 198 pages. Did the analysis, concerns, process, etc., get easier or less complicated in the last decade? It wouldn't seem so.
Contents include: The psyche behind the escapee -- Are you prepared to pack it in? -- Where in the world will you go? -- How to pay for your getaway -- Costs and how to cut them -- The work option -- Making the most of your time away -- Finding a home overseas -- Transplanting family, Fido 'n' Fluffy -- Leaving the roof over your head -- You can't take it all with you -- Personal packing for runaways -- Passports, visas, and bureaucratic follies -- Transportation : getting there -- Transportation : being there -- Staying in touch -- The Internet advantage -- Handling finances from a distance -- Safeguarding your health overseas -- Protecting your person and property -- Your countdown checklist -- Settling in -- Return of the native.
It is surely not a horrible book, but quite generic. It is unclear how the text would benefit someone after s/he found a website or newsgroup devoted to a particular region or destination country (so it is not really a "Guide", not as most people would use the term), and the basics of the book are so basic they can usually be had elsewhere for free. Unfortunately, since all books like this in the last 8 years or so are so incomplete, assuming one lacked internet access and/or wanted portable information, then one would need to buy most or all of them to secure what should be included in a single volume (other similar books can be found reviewed here on Nicaliving). It is perhaps not a coincidence that the author is also responsible for the following works, most of which share a great deal of research and commentary: "The Grown-Up's Guide to Retiring Abroad", "The Grown-Up's Guide to Living in France", ""Gone with the Wine: Retirement Adventures in France", "If I Lived In Germany...", "If I Lived in France...", "If I Lived in Japan...", "If I Lived in Spain...", etc., etc., etc.