There are those who daydream not only about simplifying their lives, but about changing their locations while doing so. The American Expatriate is commonplace in several areas of the world. It's not just Rick Blaine living in Casablanca anymore.
"The very first step towards successfully downsizing is sitting down with your partner and together making a list of all your dreams for a simple life. After all, if you don’t ultimately know where you’re going in life how on earth do you expect to get there! This list should be unrestricted by thoughts of money, time or practicality and should be your ideal downsized or simplified life. This is the life that you need to actively think about every day and see in your mind in vivid colour. The more you focus on the finer details of your perfect life through visualisation the quicker this ‘dream’ will become your reality. Make sure both you and your partner are in agreement about the fundamentals of your new life and that you both actively think about this every day.
"You now need to begin putting the practical steps in place to achieve your ideal - I don’t know how visualisation works but it does work and if you keep focusing on what you want you will find the practical aspects of achieving your simple life easier! Work out where in the world you want to live, examine property prices in your ideal location and find out what you can afford. Think about the money you have in the bank and how much you will need to live on. Be realistic about all the financial areas of your new life - downsizing is of course all about living on less - but you will still need money to afford to live! Will this money come from savings, the sale of your house, a part time job, a new business? Be hard on yourself and very realistic when it comes to every financial aspect of your new life because it is always, always money that lets people down. And I don’t mean it’s a case of not having enough, it can be a case of imagining you will not encounter high costs of living in your ideal country and then moving there and discovering your assumptions were wrong and the cost of living is higher than anticipated and will require a readjustment of your new life plan."
EscapeArtist.com provides a lot of jumps as well as ebooks to educate those interested in this process. So does TransitionsAbroad.com.
For personal perspectives, check out Expats in Britian, an Expat in Chile, an Expat in France since 2000, and an Expat in Germany-- and don't expect everyone to like you: some may share Bill Grimm's opinion of the "ugly American expat."
[For More Info, check out my April 2010 post regarding expatriating - lots more links and books, too.]