Friday, 23 September 2016

Go West (if you can afford it)

As a Westerner living and working in a 'developing world' country, earning what is considered locally a decent enough working-class wage, one of the difficulties with this is when you return to your country of origin. The 'living within your means' approach which can successfully be done in the adopted country — in this case Colombia — becomes nigh on impossible.

Creevy, Lisacul, Ireland.
The road back home isn't that straightforward ...
We're talking here about going back for a short-term stay. Obviously if you were returning on a longer-term basis you would have to find employment fairly quickly in order not to either run out of money in no time at all or eat into the 'rainy-day' savings (if you have them that is. Or you might be lucky enough to get the government to 'sponsor' you for a little while in the absence of employment; the joys of welfare states.)

Having just returned from a trip home to Ireland, there appear to be few pull factors to allow for even the consideration of a permanent move back just yet — family and friends excepted of course.

Granted, on this latest return, I didn't stray too much out of the west of Ireland, an important point in this 'state of the nation' revision. This is because, by all accounts, the east-west divide, which has always been a factor in Ireland, is as deep and apparent as it ever has been.

The west of the country might be OK to raise a young family if you're lucky enough to have decent employment in the region. It might also be OK for old-age pensioners to see out their lives in tranquillity, if they have public transport within range (far from a given) and/or if they have helpful family and friends nearby when transport is required.

Yet for young (or relatively young if you like) singletons who may not want to own their own transport, most of the west of Ireland has a low-attraction value. Nice to visit every now and again but not a place to set up shop.

For sure, here in Bogotá it's not quite the pig's back existence (that cameo appearance in Narcos is deceptive*). There are a number of things that need to start showing an improvement for me to start seeing it as a true home for the foreseeable future. However, Bogotá or not, at this remove there are other places on the globe I'd consider before rushing back to Ireland — places that offer better value for money as well. Everything is open to revision, though.

Plus, it all depends on what you're looking for and who you are, of course. If you happen to be a US multinational company looking for a tax haven of sorts and a native government ready to defend vigorously your tax evasion ways (or was it merely tax avoidance?), then Ireland might just be the perfect match. Why help the little people when you can help big business? It's much more glamorous (and profitable).
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