Dear America, It’s You — Not Me.

April 25, 2013

By: Stephen Hilgart, Dir. Of Marketing & Conference Operations

Dear America It's You Not MeAny real life goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot – I’m certainly feeling that way, because, next week I am…

Leaving the U.S.

My journey starts in China for fun, friends, and food (pig face, anyone?).  After that, I head to the GWP headquarters in Latvia – a.k.a. Bobby’s couch.

From there, other parts of Europe, maybe Asia, and wrapping back around to Panama for Global Escape Hatch in September.

Some ask me (usually in a completely frantic voice, which, I will try to imitate in text):


Many can’t even fathom a life outside the States.  They don’t understand there is so much world to see, so much to do, so much to experience.

The majority of people wake up, go to work, go home, pay bills, go to bed, and do it all over again… for 40, 50, or 60 years of their lives…  sitting in the same chair… at the same desk… until they die.

Scary, isn’t it?  But the number one human need (as funny as it is) is not survival… It’s familiarity.  People would rather stick with the moderate pain of the known than venture out into the uncertainty – or assume the risk – of the unknown.

I can’t say I’m immune.  I may or may not have been sweaty and shaky when clicking the “confirm” button on my one-way plane ticket.

What pushed me over the edge?  Why would I take action even if I was a bit scared?  While I certainly don’t agree with the direction our country is heading – I like the U.S. – I must have been on somebody’s shit-list…

Enter The Meter Maid

I moved into my swanky uptown apartment and I knew parking would be a challenge.  But I thought the women scratching at the bit to hang out in such a great location would make up for it.

(Seems logical, right?)

When I moved in, winter was approaching.  If you’ve never been through a Minnesota winter – it’s no joke – lots of snow and really freakin’ cold.

The first major snow falls (some 12-13 inches), so I do what every other city slicker in Minneapolis does – I go outside to dig my car out of the snow.  After all, if I didn’t, in a few hours the plows would come by and bury it even deeper.

After a half hour of shoveling I hop in my sporty car to see if I can just gun it and escape the white mountains surrounding me.  No chance in hell.

So I keep going… Shoveling and slamming on the gas, then back to shoveling, and slamming on the gas.

An hour has gone by now and even though it’s 10 degrees below zero I’m sweating through my jacket, gloves, and hat (don’t worry, my pants were already soaking wet from the snow I was standing in)….

And then… off in the distance I see what any upstanding citizen in need of a hand would love to see – a police officer!

To preface a bit, during the winter in Minnesota every person knows that at one point or another you are going to get stuck.  The unwritten rule is that if you see someone stuck, you give them a push because you’re going to need one soon enough (a karma thing, maybe?).

I wave to the officer pulling up in his car – he waves back and slows to a stop towards the front of my car.

A huge sigh of relief – I didn’t want to be out there another hour.

The officer hops out of his car and I walk to the back to finish shoveling snow away from my bumper.

In my overly excited voice I said, “Thanks man! I could really use a push!”

I bend over for a second to clear the bumper and next thing I know, I see the officer run to the front of my car, place a ticket under my windshield wiper, bolt back to his car and drive away – without saying a word.

I was dumbfounded.

I honestly stood around for several moments looking for the hidden cameras waiting for someone to jump out of a snow bank and say “You’re on candid camera!”

But alas, it was my car, my shovel, my brand new ticket, and I.

And If That Wasn’t Bad Enough…

The stories get even more ridiculous. 

Like last week, where I was written a ticket by one officer while another was nailing a sign in the ground that said “no parking here today – police order” (and yes – at the SAME time).

Or how about when they towed my car right outside of my apartment because I was 3 feet from a “driveway” instead of 5…

(I say “driveway” because it isn’t one.  There used to be one, but a BUILDING was built on top of it.  Do they ticket buildings for being in the driveway?  They should tow that thing!)

Did I mention that was on my birthday?  Happy birthday to me!

What I’ve come to realize is that the police here don’t stop the bad guys, they enforce the law.  It was silly of me to think anything else.

Now, this week alone, we can talk about increased taxes, the destruction of the constitution, martial law being instituted, the blatant manipulation of gold prices, the passing of CISPA, the veto of the anti-insider trading laws, the murdering lunatics who will now be accused of terrorism and become the rallying cry of some new war – but gosh darn it – I want to complain about my parking tickets!

I need a break. 

So, sorry America: I’m leaving.

Not sure when I’ll be back again.

I just need to date other countries right now.

It’s you, not me.

13 thoughts on “Dear America, It’s You — Not Me.”

  1. I hear your frustration, however, I have another point of view.

    I was all set to move to Panama, after visiting there over times in the last 5 years. I decided to stay a while and do some more digging before I made that final move. Here’s why:

    1) The major reason our government, and many governments around the world appear to be sliding into fascism, could be the lack of a “higher law” to guide their decisions and behavior. I’m still searching for one that is not sliding into either a socialist, communist or democratic system of government – all of which could be worse than what we have here, at least right now.

    2) The cost of living (the way I want to live, at least) is roughly the same in Panama now, as it is here. Some things are more and some are less. Unless I want to live far removed from civilization, the cost to eat, buy gasoline and live a relatively comfortable life are about the same. If I want to live in the city itself, with any resemblance of what I am used to here, the costs would be about 20% higher, and the frustrations would not be a fair trade for me.

    3) One of my major reasons for leaving the U.S. would be to hopefully be able to retain more of what I earn and use it for retirement or to live on later in life, and maybe hand some down to my kids. Since all governments now want to just exercise power, and refuse to live by any higher law than “whatever the state deems necessary from moment to moment”, chances of a tax increase or confiscation are higher, or at least as high, in a foreign country as here, IMHO.

    4) And then there’s the safety issue. If you’ve traveled at all to any third world country, you have probably seen or heard about random acts of violence against expats. In poorer countries, it is hard to not be a target of theft, since you are viewed as someone with money, even if that is not the case. Law enforcement is not particularly helpful most of the time, so you might be on your own if you are accosted, and should be adequately prepared to fend of multiple attackers.

    I can go on, but I would recommend reading Richard Maybury’s Uncle Eric books to get a broader perspective regarding political events, in addition to what you have already obviously been studying. They might help you decide if you really want to put down roots or keep your options open.

    1. Depends on the country, for sure. And it depends if city life is for you. By and large the larger cities tend to trend at a higher cost of living because their financial sectors are centralized there. But Paraguay is considerably cheaper than Chile, for sure. And I think I would trust Acuncion over say Rio de Janairo just given the stats. Takes some research and perhaps having a few friends there to know what’s what… but considering the Paraguayan president is willing to live off $1,200/month and donate the rest of his salary to charity, I think he’s someone I can respect enough to conclude he might not be the tyrant that the others are…..?

  2. I was talking to my work colleague / neighbor about this very thing. We’re in China teaching, by the way.

    For all the complaining about government we do, it’s not the political class who are most directly involving in griefing the populace; it’s the utterly unaccountable hordes of bureaucrats that most directly make the typical subject’s life a pain. They can’t be voted out or fired, and it’s illegal to shoot them…

  3. Wow nice story. Just proves there is a parallel universe.
    Here is mine. Just going to my Lawyer to discuss expatriation for all the reasons you mention.
    Off the freeway ramp. Right turn after fully stopping. Then flashy flashy in my rear view mirror. A two wheeled LEO…. Oh joy!
    Yes I failed to obey a traffic signal. Could have been worse he says I could ticket you for running a red light.
    So going back to the junction I carefully re read the sign “no right turn on red arrow”. What freaking red arrow????
    It’s just a ordinary red stop light!
    No time to fight this. I have my feet up down south in a warm place. F the USSA. That’s it Iam done never going back. No more b-sht!

  4. Honestly, I’d rather get murdered in a dark alley in some 3rd-world hell-hole than spend another minute in this fascist state that continues to run fake events like Sandy Hoax and the Boston “bombing.”.

    1. LOL! I was looking at the costs to expatriate the other day… and I am a little daunted. But I swore the next time someone told me to “go to Somalia”, I was going to respond with “if you’re payin’, I’m goin’!” LOL! ~Kelly

      1. Kelly,
        Not sure what costs you are referring to, but my cost of living is about half what it was when I lived in the US and my quality of life is much higher. Plane tickets aren’t that expensive.

        1. Not cost of living… cost to expatriate and get a second citizenship or passport. I KNOW once I get there it’ll be cheap as all get out…

  5. I can’t wait for my escape, enjoy your self !
    Don’t look back, you might turn into a pillar of salt.


  6. Hi Kelly, I understand completely.
    We’ll be joining you very soon.
    We plan on a visit to Panama in mid August.
    It’s been on our radar since 2007.

    1. While this was written by Stephen Hilgart, I too wouldn’t mind a departure from this nonsense! ~kelly

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