Travel

Would you consider having a second home base?

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  • Feb 15th, 2021 10:03 pm
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[OP]
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Mar 6, 2014
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Would you consider having a second home base?

As of the writing of this, there is still no evidence whether or not that people who are vaccinated won't be able to transmit the disease. That is, you can still carry and transmit the disease while being asymptotic, or maybe the infection boils down to being a mild cold, but you are still able to get a non-vaccinated person gravely ill. If this is true, there is basically no end to this and there won't ever be a "normal" again. Countries will continue to keep borders closed indefinitely, especially in less advanced countries where the vaccination rate is low or non-existent. Their only way of ensuring their people's safety is to keep their borders closed. Like the flu, Covid-19 will continue to be out there somewhere and it will continue to mutate until it reach another potent form that highly contagious and/or deadly.

I wish for travel to resume, but my expectation is that future travel will be equivalent to "long stays" where you live in another country for an extended period. For example, if you want to go to Mexico or Colombia, you order a AirBNB or make similar arrangement for a place for 2 months, then fly over and continue to WFH remotely there for 2 weeks while you quarantine, travel around the vicinity of your "base" for a few weeks then return home at the end of the trip and then quarantine for 2 weeks at home afterwards.

It is sort of like what snowbirds do. With WFH, it is technically possible to get a second home base and still work everyday.

My dream is to buy a home in tropical Asia, Thailand or Malaysia etc, but the time difference would make WFH impossible. My other idea is to buy a place in Central Americas or the Caribbeans. I have looked at a few countries and real estate is expensive AF, especially if you want an ocean view. I did some research and in certain areas, you only need an occupancy rate of 30% to cover the mortgage and expenses of your investment down south. With remote work becoming a trend, I think having a second home base could become more feasible as you won't have much trouble renting out your loft down south while you are in Canada.

Has anyone done this? What are the economics like? What are the good/friendly countries and cities to do this in?
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All because there is a time difference does not necessarily mean WFH is impossible. It just means you have to shift things a bit. Eg a 12 hr difference means you work 9pm to 5am. [Lot of ppl already work night shifts here].

Buying and only occupying for months a year makes things a lot more expensive unless you find some like mined ppl/friends/family to occupy it while you're not there.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

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I got to second base once. It was terrible.
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13inches wrote: I got to second base once. It was terrible.
Are we talking about travel??? Astonished Face
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
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costaguana wrote: Nomad Capitalist has some (limited) but still interesting free content on this.
Thanks.

Nomad Capitalist is a bit extreme being more of a website to teach people on how to avoid taxes. I understand though in some countries they wouldn't let you own property until you gain some form of permanent resident status.
gr8dlr wrote: All because there is a time difference does not necessarily mean WFH is impossible. It just means you have to shift things a bit. Eg a 12 hr difference means you work 9pm to 5am. [Lot of ppl already work night shifts here].

Buying and only occupying for months a year makes things a lot more expensive unless you find some like mined ppl/friends/family to occupy it while you're not there.
The idea is that you will be renting it out as a short stay/AirBNB style housing when you are not living there. A lot of these tropical countries where (western) foreigners likes to frequent offers entire packages where they will handle all of the nitty gritty behind being a landlord, for a percentage of the rental income of course. They will arrange a house maid to clean the house and make arrangements with tenants, all you do is to sign on a dotted line for a mortgage which you are ultimately on the hook for. If the country you picked doesn't go into a decade long civil war and all goes well, you can basically live there maybe 30% of the time and rent it out the other 70% of the time. If the vacancy rate in your area is 50%, you would be renting it out 35% of the time in a given year, which should cover your mortgage and expenses depending what price you paid initially.

I have an uncle who owned a beach side property in Thailand and have rarely rented it out. He was a fortune 500 executive so he didn't need a mortgage and just paid for the place in full. He enjoyed the ocean and sunshine whenever he can and ended wanting something in Greece and sold his Asia beach front property for 2x what he initially paid for 5 years ago. Come to think of it he got paid to travel and enjoy life... the appreciation in the property's value paid for all of his flights and expenses.
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13inches wrote: I got to second base once. It was terrible.
Username doesn’t check out. Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
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Statistics101 wrote: Thanks.

Nomad Capitalist is a bit extreme being more of a website to teach people on how to avoid taxes. I understand though in some countries they wouldn't let you own property until you gain some form of permanent resident status.
Also, some jurisdictions frown on people working in-country while on a tourist visa (even if the employer and salary are paid in the home country). Already a number of countries promote separate visa regimes for people looking to temporarily resettle (and WFH), so I bet there will be a general trend (going forward) of increased scrutiny of tourists arriving for longer-stays. I suppose you could slip under the radar, depending on the country and the duration of your stay, but still something to consider. Part of NC's logic and business model is helping people avoid unexpected tax bills, especially for "digital nomads", who essentially pioneered WFH-while-travelling.
[OP]
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costaguana wrote: Also, some jurisdictions frown on people working in-country while on a tourist visa (even if the employer and salary are paid in the home country). Already a number of countries promote separate visa regimes for people looking to temporarily resettle (and WFH), so I bet there will be a general trend (going forward) of increased scrutiny of tourists arriving for longer-stays. I suppose you could slip under the radar, depending on the country and the duration of your stay, but still something to consider. Part of NC's logic and business model is helping people avoid unexpected tax bills, especially for "digital nomads", who essentially pioneered WFH-while-travelling.
That makes sense.

I think digitization will come to a point where governments around the world will face their biggest fear, which is the complete mobility of their people from a geographic perspective. If you are a Canadian working for a Canadian company while living in a low or no tax jurisdiction 6 months in a year, you are not paying any Canadian sales tax because you are not physically in Canada. You can still access the perks of being a Canadian... you can connect with your doctor via telehealth and your children will experience free Canadian education via webcam. You might be sitting in a patio in the Dominican Republic, not paying your share of taxes or contributing to the economy via spending. If you setup a Cayman corporation and arrange to have your employer to pay you through the corporation (maybe you are a contractor to begin with), you might not even claim Canada as your tax jurisdiction. Essentially you'll be doing what all of the wealthy folks around the world have been doing... except you are just some middle class salaryman.

However, that's not really a part of my plan. I just want to stay somewhere warm.
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mrweather wrote: Username doesn’t check out. Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
Maybe it was terrible for her. 13 inches is no small feat...

In all seriousness though, I am actually starting to consider a second home in a different country. I don't really know if COVID has caused those feelings or if it's a combination of COVID, age, starting to look forward to retirement, etc.

I am seriously thinking about a home in Mexico that I can pay a company to manage for me until I'm ready to start using it more frequently.
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Shaner wrote: Maybe it was terrible for her. 13 inches is no small feat...

In all seriousness though, I am actually starting to consider a second home in a different country. I don't really know if COVID has caused those feelings or if it's a combination of COVID, age, starting to look forward to retirement, etc.

I am seriously thinking about a home in Mexico that I can pay a company to manage for me until I'm ready to start using it more frequently.
I have similar thoughts but I don't want a fixed second locale and I don't want to deal with landlord type issues from abroad (or ever really). Even though there are companies that will help you, it can be quite painful.
The world is so big that I'd rather move around to explore.

More and more countries have adopted Airbnb (limits on short term rental) rules recently and this will cause Airbnb to pivot some and start catering more and more to longer term rentals from one up to six months. I think "hosts" can dictate length of stay now but perhaps they create a specific subset for them.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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I would investigate the economics of this very carefully as well as the legal issues.

Regarding WFH, this might be practical for a person who does independent contractor gigs if they can negotiate it. The implications for an employer might result in them being unwilling to approve an international WFH arrangement. Just as an example, one challenge for employers regarding in-country WFH is WCB. An employer has WCB responsibilities if they approve a remote workplace. An employer might be unwilling to take on that risk domestically, let alone internationally.

An employer might be afraid of taking on the risk of foreign country laws if they approved an employee to work in a foreign country. The other country might claim jurisdiction and want income taxes, etc. paid to them. (Consider if a company has citizens of its home jurisdiction work for them in Canada. The Canadian and provincial governments claim jurisdiction.)

I work in the field of labour relations. Every WFH agreement I have seen has given the employer the right to terminate the WFH agreement with little notice, e.g., 14 days. Imagine being in a foreign country and getting a 14 day notice to return to the office.

Some jurisdictions (e.g., Mexico) require a minimum of non-tourist residency status to operate a business. So that means qualifying for the relevant immigration status. So for starters, you need to establish legal residency status. As a legal resident, a person might take on employment tax liabilities as well as business tax liabilities.

Some jurisdictions may have landlord/tenancy laws that could result in a “short-term” renter establishing tenancy rights. Do you really want to be dealing with a legal procedure in a foreign country in a foreign language?

Maintenance costs for beachfront properties can be very high. The tropical salt air is nothing like the salt air in Canada. I used to try to have a stereo at my house in Mexico. The circuit boards corroded about every 18 months. I had to have the exterior of my house painted about ever 18-24 months for the first five years because the tropical sun was blistering the paint.

Not hiring employees means you have little to no control over who is coming to your property. An owner may or may not be comfortable with that.

The alternative of hiring staff results in financial and legal implications. In some places (like Mexico), you really want to have documentary evidence of having complied with all laws (including the ones you might not know about), including payment of taxes and relevant employee benefits. In Canada, I don’t need to keep records for more than seven years. I had my house in Mexico built in 1997. I still have all of the records of every payment of government fees, taxes, etc. because a government agency just might come and ask for proof.

(My previous property manager provided groundskeeper services for several other properties, including mine, as needed. Over several years, other owners changed to having employees. After the property manager died, the groundskeeper claimed that I was his employer and that I owed him years of social security benefits. It was not inexpensive working that out.)

Renters expect a pool and air conditioning. These costs can be high. They use a lot of electricity, and maintenance.

Renters expect reliable internet service. One of my neighbours in Mexico who works from home subscribes to both a cable internet provider and a DSL internet provider to try to ensure that he has constant internet service. It isn’t foolproof, but it reduces his downtime.

In Mexico, the electricity rates increase dramatically with consumption. My 3400 sq ft in Canada is all-electric. I use no fossil fuels for heating. Some months, the electric bill for my 1,000 sq ft house in Mexico was higher than for my house in Canada. (It turns out that renters don’t care how much electricity they use.) I invested in solar panels, (which I wanted to do anyway in my striving to become carbon-neutral in my life) but many people might not be interested in making that kind of investment commitment.

Maintaining occupancy can be challenging. It turns out that people do want to rent a house in the tropics from December to March. The rest of the year can be pretty slow. Try to rent out a house in the tropics during the rainy season (think May to October) when daily highs are above 30° C., humidity is 100%, and it rains every day.

Much of the Pacific Rim is an earthquake zone. Be prepared for expenses associated with that.

Much of the tropics is at risk of hurricanes or cyclones. These result not only in wind damage, but in flooding.

Property management is essential, and can be costly.

I’m not saying this is impossible, but if it were easy, more people would be doing it. :)
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."Upton Sinclair

Our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2014
807 posts
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Toronto
MexiCanuck wrote: I would investigate the economics of this very carefully as well as the legal issues.

Regarding WFH, this might be practical for a person who does independent contractor gigs if they can negotiate it. The implications for an employer might result in them being unwilling to approve an international WFH arrangement. Just as an example, one challenge for employers regarding in-country WFH is WCB. An employer has WCB responsibilities if they approve a remote workplace. An employer might be unwilling to take on that risk domestically, let alone internationally.

An employer might be afraid of taking on the risk of foreign country laws if they approved an employee to work in a foreign country. The other country might claim jurisdiction and want income taxes, etc. paid to them. (Consider if a company has citizens of its home jurisdiction work for them in Canada. The Canadian and provincial governments claim jurisdiction.)

I work in the field of labour relations. Every WFH agreement I have seen has given the employer the right to terminate the WFH agreement with little notice, e.g., 14 days. Imagine being in a foreign country and getting a 14 day notice to return to the office.

Some jurisdictions (e.g., Mexico) require a minimum of non-tourist residency status to operate a business. So that means qualifying for the relevant immigration status. So for starters, you need to establish legal residency status. As a legal resident, a person might take on employment tax liabilities as well as business tax liabilities.

Some jurisdictions may have landlord/tenancy laws that could result in a “short-term” renter establishing tenancy rights. Do you really want to be dealing with a legal procedure in a foreign country in a foreign language?

Maintenance costs for beachfront properties can be very high. The tropical salt air is nothing like the salt air in Canada. I used to try to have a stereo at my house in Mexico. The circuit boards corroded about every 18 months. I had to have the exterior of my house painted about ever 18-24 months for the first five years because the tropical sun was blistering the paint.

Not hiring employees means you have little to no control over who is coming to your property. An owner may or may not be comfortable with that.

The alternative of hiring staff results in financial and legal implications. In some places (like Mexico), you really want to have documentary evidence of having complied with all laws (including the ones you might not know about), including payment of taxes and relevant employee benefits. In Canada, I don’t need to keep records for more than seven years. I had my house in Mexico built in 1997. I still have all of the records of every payment of government fees, taxes, etc. because a government agency just might come and ask for proof.

(My previous property manager provided groundskeeper services for several other properties, including mine, as needed. Over several years, other owners changed to having employees. After the property manager died, the groundskeeper claimed that I was his employer and that I owed him years of social security benefits. It was not inexpensive working that out.)

Renters expect a pool and air conditioning. These costs can be high. They use a lot of electricity, and maintenance.

Renters expect reliable internet service. One of my neighbours in Mexico who works from home subscribes to both a cable internet provider and a DSL internet provider to try to ensure that he has constant internet service. It isn’t foolproof, but it reduces his downtime.

In Mexico, the electricity rates increase dramatically with consumption. My 3400 sq ft in Canada is all-electric. I use no fossil fuels for heating. Some months, the electric bill for my 1,000 sq ft house in Mexico was higher than for my house in Canada. (It turns out that renters don’t care how much electricity they use.) I invested in solar panels, (which I wanted to do anyway in my striving to become carbon-neutral in my life) but many people might not be interested in making that kind of investment commitment.

Maintaining occupancy can be challenging. It turns out that people do want to rent a house in the tropics from December to March. The rest of the year can be pretty slow. Try to rent out a house in the tropics during the rainy season (think May to October) when daily highs are above 30° C., humidity is 100%, and it rains every day.

Much of the Pacific Rim is an earthquake zone. Be prepared for expenses associated with that.

Much of the tropics is at risk of hurricanes or cyclones. These result not only in wind damage, but in flooding.

Property management is essential, and can be costly.

I’m not saying this is impossible, but if it were easy, more people would be doing it. :)
Thanks for your comments, I was hoping you would respond to this.

Many interesting points here. I think my firm is pretty flexible on where we WFH from, and I have coworkers working from the Caribbeans right now on extended stay. If the foreign government wants to tax your WFH income, that's going to make things difficult but how would they know you are working remotely in the first place? How will the government know you are working remote, it is not like you are walking around town in a suit selling things. If I'm somewhere in Mexico on my vacation and I take out my phone and decided to respond to a few client emails on my outlook and maybe get on a ten minute call with a few coworkers to discuss a project, did I just work? Should I pay the Mexican government income tax? I have some friends who work in consulting and they would travel abroad and work for 12-14 hours a day inside their hotel rooms or at a client office, and they never once paid foreign income tax.
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May 9, 2007
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Statistics101 wrote: Thanks for your comments, I was hoping you would respond to this.

Many interesting points here. I think my firm is pretty flexible on where we WFH from, and I have coworkers working from the Caribbeans right now on extended stay. If the foreign government wants to tax your WFH income, that's going to make things difficult but how would they know you are working remotely in the first place? How will the government know you are working remote, it is not like you are walking around town in a suit selling things. If I'm somewhere in Mexico on my vacation and I take out my phone and decided to respond to a few client emails on my outlook and maybe get on a ten minute call with a few coworkers to discuss a project, did I just work? Should I pay the Mexican government income tax? I have some friends who work in consulting and they would travel abroad and work for 12-14 hours a day inside their hotel rooms or at a client office, and they never once paid foreign income tax.
Your risk tolerance with Mexican authorities might be higher than mine. :)
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."Upton Sinclair

Our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg
[OP]
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Mar 6, 2014
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Toronto
MexiCanuck wrote: Your risk tolerance with Mexican authorities might be higher than mine. :)
If the Mexican government is not friendly with remote workers, then there are194 other options to choose from. :)
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Aug 21, 2010
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wife and i talk about it often,,,we go to the carribean approx 5 times a year on vacation..but for 2nd home..were on the fence of buying or renting...thinking either costa rica or panama...we have close friends that are about to rent in panama ...so will see who there situation went....defenitely if it was to buy,,more of a condo situation or gated community,,due to the security issue,,,,dont want to get back and find out your place has been robbed....maybe rent for 6 months and than back to canada..so defenitely things to ponder...
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May 9, 2007
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Statistics101 wrote: If the Mexican government is not friendly with remote workers, then there are194 other options to choose from. :)
I don't think I said that Mexico "is not friendly with remote workers". I think what I said was that, just as Canada has laws regarding people working within Canada, other countries have laws. I think that people ought to inform themselves before making decisions and be willing to comply with the laws of that foreign country.

My risk tolerance for not complying with the laws of Canada or the laws of Mexico is low.

I don't consider either Canada or Mexico to be unfriendly to me by expecting me to comply with their laws. I do not intend to act in an unfriendly way toward either Canada or Mexico by flouting laws or by not making myself informed of them as reasonably as I can.

If a person wants to be treated like a friend they behave like a friend. Otherwise, they may end up like Jimmy Buffett's Tampico Trauma.
South of the border where the law and order
Is kept by Federales who just grin
And tell you they just want to be your friend
But later...
You see I was drinkin' doubles
Causin' lots of trouble
When the man looked in the window of the bar and he grinned
And said if you come back we just may not be your friend
:)

Last edited by MexiCanuck on Feb 9th, 2021 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."Upton Sinclair

Our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg
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This article provides some information.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theglo ... le8846672/

Basically it really depends on circumstances. If a company wants you in, then you'd have to go in if it was a WFH thing due to COVID. As long as there is the possibility it's not a risk, they'll prob want employees to be in the home office, even if it takes a few years.

In my case, I got hired, with the specific employment offering that it would be a 'work anywhere' job. It didn't change on a enterprise level, but when got back to me, it was more informal yet formal as that was a condition I decided to proceed since I initially turned down the recruiting process but changed my mind because of that updated condition. I wouldn't be assigned a desk, etc. Would prob have to go in every so often but more for quarterly or yearly events.

That would be different then my teammembers who just WFH'd because of Covid and going in was a normal part of their employment condition and reason for their hire.

Given my life stage with kids, I wouldn't think of it. But definitely in older age, I would.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 6, 2014
807 posts
168 upvotes
Toronto
your best bet wrote: wife and i talk about it often,,,we go to the carribean approx 5 times a year on vacation..but for 2nd home..were on the fence of buying or renting...thinking either costa rica or panama...we have close friends that are about to rent in panama ...so will see who there situation went....defenitely if it was to buy,,more of a condo situation or gated community,,due to the security issue,,,,dont want to get back and find out your place has been robbed....maybe rent for 6 months and than back to canada..so defenitely things to ponder...
Not sure about Panama, but CR has a lot of great options. My uncle's solution to his Thailand vacation house from being robbed is to keep no valuables there. All he has are a few flat screen TV, while the tables, sofa and beds are unattractive and could be replaced for a few thousand dollars. If people there are desperate enough to take old furniture then you have purchased the wrong area.
MexiCanuck wrote: I don't think I said that Mexico "is not friendly with remote workers". I think what I said was that, just as Canada has laws regarding people working within Canada, other countries have laws. I think that people ought to inform themselves before making decisions and be willing to comply with the laws of that foreign country.

My risk tolerance for not complying with the laws of Canada or the laws of Mexico is low.

I don't consider either Canada or Mexico to be unfriendly to me by expecting me to comply with their laws. I do not intend to act in an unfriendly way toward either Canada or Mexico by flouting laws or by not making myself informed of them as reasonably as I can.

If a person wants to be treated like a friend they behave like a friend. Otherwise, they may end up like Jimmy Buffett's Tampico Trauma.
Totally understand my friend. We are all law biding people, but it is always better to find a place where the laws are more "accommodative".
at1212b wrote: This article provides some information.

Given my life stage with kids, I wouldn't think of it. But definitely in older age, I would.
I can't imagine the difficult conversation you'll need to have with your kids, to tell them they need to drop their life for half year at a time to live in another country. I follow a few Youtube channels where parents would take their teenage kid out of school to travel the world for a year. There is one where the parents sold their house, packed all of their possessions in a storage unit and had nothing but a backpack and an itinerary.
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Feb 27, 2011
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Statistics101 wrote: I can't imagine the difficult conversation you'll need to have with your kids, to tell them they need to drop their life for half year at a time to live in another country. I follow a few Youtube channels where parents would take their teenage kid out of school to travel the world for a year. There is one where the parents sold their house, packed all of their possessions in a storage unit and had nothing but a backpack and an itinerary.
A lot of kids won't have strong opinions on the matter. Indeed, if your child is struggling socially (either before or during COVID) such an adventure could very much sound like a relief. But kids don't really know what is good for them, and growing up without a set home/routine is not always the enriching experience it is sold as. Yes, living abroad can offer the opportunity to learn a new language, be exposed to different worldviews, etc. But the flipside is a different type of isolation, where in-depth relationships are few, far between, and complicated (especially in later life). I was a "third culture kid" for part of my adolescence, and I was well into my 20s (30s?) before I fully came to grips with the personal implications of growing up without roots. It's different for every kid, obviously, but I think it is a mistake for parents just to assume that travel will make their children more rounded, better "global citizens", etc. And personally, my wife and I are more than willing to sacrifice some of the potential adventures that we could have to ensure our kids have the educational, relationship, and developmental resources that they need (and are more readily available in Canada). If my kids want to backpack the world or work abroad in their 20s, that's another story. But having grown up with parents who were very focused on their own fulfillment, I don't want to repeat their mistakes.

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