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Uruguay Expat Life Manifesto

I thought it about time to clarify and codify what we’re about here at Uruguay Expat Life. Here is a list of our key points, values, perspectives.

1. The name really should be Uruguay Immigrant Life. Expat shows up better in search so we went with that. But we immigrated to here, we do not think we’re here from somewhere else that is “really home”. We’re about the experience of moving to Uruguay because we want to live here, permanently, to identify as now being in Uruguay as home. Not to identify primarily as being an expatriate from somewhere else.

2. We’re almost certainly the wrong site for you if you’re on an “expat assignment”, a “temporary secondment” to Uruguay, or are a “trailing spouse”. Perhaps you should visit I Was an Expat Wife for that sort of general “expat in a strange land” perspective. Seriously, that’s a great site for what it is, its author is very self aware, and a good writer. We don’t have young children, and if we did we would be looking at giving them the advantage of native education in a dynamic growing Spanish-native culture in a school system where everyone gets a free laptop, rather than looking for “The English School”.

3. We are about coming here to live, not coming here to visit. Thus we’re not primarily writing travel articles. Those we do write here are for people visiting Uruguay as part of trying it out or considering it as their new home, not just passing through. Though hopefully some of our articles make you consider Uruguay as a vacation destination. Who knows what might happen to you next!

4. We do have some overlap with the “slow travel” and “immersion travel” market, where people typically stay for many months to a few years, live like locals, get residency, even if not necessarily planning permanent actual residency. In both our “immigrants to Uruguay not expats from somewhere else” world, and in the immersion travel life, people live like a local, shop locally, avoid the “gringo tax” (which doesn’t exist too much in Uruguay), bank locally, learn and use the local language, and mostly stay away from “expat communities” and “expat gatherings”.  This means we also have some overlap with the “Location-Independent” and “Digital Nomad” worlds – in fact being “location independent digital nomads” is the financial basis for our own residency-in-processing application. Though we try not to use that term, and I throw up a little in my mouth when I say “location independent digital nomad” from the severe hipster-ism of that overworked overloaded term. Yet if the zapato fits…

The people we do like and respect in the digital-nomad, online-entrepreneur world,  are in our sidebar links or linked in our articles, and you may assume what you will from names that are missing, or were on earlier versions of our site and are now gone. We like the folks who “get it” about “internet gift culture” where not everything is transactional for a fee. We even tend to spend money on the ones who give away good stuff free, rather than the ones who call you jerks and sheeple if you expect more than just a sales pitch.

5. We have very little overlap, nor feelings of camaraderie, with the “plant multiple flags” types. Those are the folks who want multiple passports, multiple legal residencies, multiple currency bank accounts in multiple countries, but don’t really intend to live in their supposed new country. Uruguay makes it quite easy for people who truly want to live here to do so legally, but is now on to you multiple flags folks who think you can just fly in, file forms, fly out. They don’t want you. We don’t want you. We as in we the citizens, legal residents, and residents-in-processing who do want to live here and contribute to Uruguayan society and the Uruguayan economy.

6. We are believers in “internet gift culture” and love sharing information. But only with intelligent people who regularly exercise their brains, do their own research first, don’t expect everything laid out for them, don’t get greedy or whiny, and who respect that it is a gift. Also, if we direct you to a resource, we expect you to either go to that resource, such as our free Uruguay Expat Life Community on the Google Social Network Platform, or not. But don’t come back and whine about how you don’t like Google or don’t like our rules for that, did we mention, free, Community we sponsor.  Go bother someone else if you don’t like what we offer. Or start your own. It’s (still) a free internet. Mostly.

7. We are believers in work, free enterprise in a fair system, and therefore will in 2014 begin offering some information and referral services, guidance, ebooks, or related items, for sale. Paid services will be via our related Uruguay For Me brand. For example, we’re thinking of “Step-by-step starting your residency”, “Step-by-step importing your pet”, things like that. We’ve posted a metric boatload of exactly that stuff for free over our multiple sites, social networks, and personal profiles around the Modern Social Web, but some folks may find value in a handy guide. So we’re in the process of writing handy guides!

We also are hopefully partnering with some hotels, service providers for documents, other useful facilitators, to help you do your Uruguay Reality Check ™ and Uruguay Test Drive ™ trips to do on-the-ground research and trials of living like locals, and for the items you need somebody to handle if you are overall being your own DIY-Residency General Contractor. Anything under the Uruguay Expat Life brand will be forever free, and our intention to continue all of what we currently have under that brand. Circumstances allowing of course.

8. We do research, but our posts are ultimately and primarily from our own experiences and perspectives living here, in now our third year (as of this Jan 2014 writing). We advise you to seek multiple perspectives and information sources, and ultimately your actions are your sole responsibility. We disclaim any responsibility or liability for your decisions. Be adults, take responsibility for your own lives.

9. We present both the good and the bad as we see it. But if you want a site where there is mostly complaints about living in Uruguay and why can’t you get your favorite [US|UK|CA|NZ|AU] thing, please go somewhere else. We suggest the unaffiliated “Uruguay Expats” Group on Facebook, which has nothing to do with our own “Uruguay Expat Life” Facebook Page. It’s just full of exactly that. Also consider the old-fashioned “web forum” Total Uruguay, which is now mostly just about the people who attend regular Expat Gatherings in Montevideo.

10. Each immigrant to a new country has her own reasons for leaving her prior home. Often including politics, economic opportunity, freedom, fairness issues. We all have opinions, at least if we have functioning well-exercised brains. But if your reason for choosing Uruguay or leaving your home has anything to do with racism or any bigotry, you are unwelcome here and at any of our other sites.

For the most part, we do not comment on our own perspectives about politics in the USA (country of our citizenship) nor Uruguay (country of our residence but not yet final nor yet citizenship) here, nor elsewhere on our Uruguay Expat Life / Uruguay For Me site network. Site Co-owner Mark Mercer does comment on politics, among other things, in his personal social media streams, all available via About.me/markmercer, and specifically about politics and related economic, fairness, and geopolitical/interpersonal change, at his Falling Off the Hemisphere blog (and forthcoming book). Site Co-owner Lisa Marie Mercer, a widely-published travel, fitness, social media, and general-interest author, occasionally has political commentary in her social media streams, which can all be found at About.me/lisamariemercer.

This is what we do. This is who we are.

Published by

Mark Mercer

Site co-owner Mark Mercer. AKA Marcos Cristoforo Mercer, AKA the Fuzzy Wanderer. Expat from USA living in Uruguay as of mid-2012, after "test-driving" it for a few months in 2011 and early 2012. Married to Lisamaria, AKA well-known travel and fitness writer Lisa Marie Mercer. Follow Mark on Twitter @mcmxs and his many other sites, which you can find at http://about.me/MarkMercer. I write and engage about many of my other interests, on Google+ at https://google.com/+MarkMercer

3 thoughts on “Uruguay Expat Life Manifesto”

  1. Hi Mark, I have only just discovered your site – nice work!

    I understand why you kept “expat” in the title but I can’t help feeling it would have been such a good statement to have used the “immigrant” word! People who call themselves expats to me seem to be implying that they are just here until they finally return to their place of origin (which is better-firstworld-etc). Emigrant has a permanence to it that these “expats” don’t seem to like…

    It has a very different connotation in Spanish. I remember one person being horrified that “expatriado” would be a term that anyone would want to apply to themselves! He said it sounded like they had been ripped from their roots and expelled under duress from their country of origin 🙂

    Anyway, congrats and I look forward to reading more on the site in the future. — Karen @guruguay1 http://www.guruguay.net

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