Escape Routes: Post-Democracy Relocation Destinations

Bangkok Don Muang Airport to Suvarnabhumi- featured image

Where this Military Spouse Would Move if Democracy Fails in America

Amid escalating U.S. political turmoil, I find myself contemplating options as the situation worsens. I’m not alone in considering relocation abroad to escape looming authoritarianism. While some may label me a fatalist, the thought of moving if democracy fails in America has crossed my mind. Introducing my “Post-Democracy Relocation Guide” – a comprehensive exploration of potential escape routes when faced with the failure of democracy in America. I don’t feel bad for having a contingency plan. The burning question: Where to go? Thailand is appealing due to its lower cost of living, diverse lifestyle, and rich culture. Spain is also on the table with its vibrant lifestyle, weather, and laid back culture. Indonesia attracts me for its affordability, unique blend of cultures, and attitude toward wellness. Where Would You Move When, and if, Democracy Fails in America.

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Observations From a Military Spouse

Unlike many natural-born citizens, I have firsthand experience living in a non-democratic country, and I’m observing the current trajectory of my country, the US, with growing discomfort. While change is inevitable in any “free” society, it’s disheartening to witness a shift away from science-driven conclusions and rational thought in legislation. The prevalence of feelings over facts, the acceptance of “alternative facts,” and the compulsion of a significant portion of my fellow citizens to vote against their own self-interests are troubling trends. The prospect of re-electing a figure who embodies criminal, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist tendencies, and aspirations of dictatorship leaves me consistently perplexed. These factors compel me to consider my options, whether to stay and take my chances or explore alternatives elsewhere.

Despite my concerns, I am a military spouse and I maintain a steadfast belief in the integrity of the military. While there may be instances of individuals failing us and the Constitution, I have confidence in the resilience and dedication of the military as a collective entity. However, my concerns lie elsewhere. I am not driven by fear but rather by a growing disillusionment stemming from the widespread dismissal and disregard of facts, the proliferation of unregulated gun ownership, and the enduring presence of racism and misogyny within our society.

Please read all about Finding Our Temporary Home on the Croatian Coast.

Post-Democracy Relocation Guide: Thailand, Spain, or Bali.

If I ever decide to relocate, I’ve got a few destinations in mind that seem like good options. Each place has its advantages and challenges– none are perfect. Still, before I make any big moves, I’ll need to do my homework.

We need to research these aspects and plan carefully. Travel teaches us the importance of being flexible, allowing room for changing your mind. In addition to all the factors mentioned above, it’s crucial to remember that you aren’t just looking for a vacation spot but a place to call home.

Financial Requirements

Cost of Living Analysis: Before making the move, I’d research and budget for the cost of living in my chosen location. This includes housing, ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious options, transportation expenses, and understanding how my current healthcare coverage could be utilized. Additionally, I’d factor in other essential expenses and consider how my pensions may be affected by the relocation.

Employment: Before making the move, I’d thoroughly research job prospects and the job market in my destination country to have a clear understanding of what kinds of work I could legally do. It’s essential to ensure compliance with local employment laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues and to maximize my career opportunities in the new country.

Healthcare Accessibility: As we age, a Post-Democracy Relocation Guide must address healthcare in our new location. We need to assess the availability and quality of medical services, considering factors such as obtaining health insurance that covers our needs and any potential language barriers in healthcare facilities. This ensures we can access the necessary medical care and support as we age in our new environment.

Lifestyle Considerations

Visa and Legal Considerations: I need to understand the visa requirements and legal regulations for your destination and ensure compliance with immigration laws for your specific purpose of stay.

Location Selection: We need to evaluate different regions or neighborhoods within our destination, considering factors like climate, lifestyle, proximity to amenities, and our personal preferences. It’s important to choose a location that aligns with our lifestyle and enhances our overall experience in the new country.

Long-Term Plans: We should think about our long-term plans and goals for living in the new country. Consider factors such as residency options, citizenship eligibility, and potential challenges or opportunities for future growth and development. It’s also essential to inquire about the possibility of applying for dual citizenship, as this can impact our legal status and rights in both countries.

Safety and Security: Before making the move, evaluating the safety and security situation in our destination country is crucial. This includes examining crime rates, political stability, and any travel advisories issued by our home country. By thoroughly assessing these factors, we can make informed decisions about our safety and well-being in the new environment.

Chiang Mai (or Thailand)

Thailand holds a special place in my heart and has become my preferred destination. It sits atop my list in the Post-Democracy Relocation Guide. It’s not just a delightful vacation spot; the thought of making it my home, especially in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, has crossed my mind. The blend of scenic beauty, welcoming locals, delectable cuisine, and exceptional coffee align perfectly with my lifestyle as a full-time or part-time expat.

While I’ve explored various parts of Thailand, Chiang Mai has transformed into our home away from home in recent years—it could very well be called home too. Unlike the bustling tourist scene in Phuket, which, though breathtaking, doesn’t quite match my preferences, and the vastness of Bangkok, which is too modern for my taste, Chiang Mai strikes the right balance.

I haven’t ventured to Pattaya and Hua Hin, as neither appeals to me. The former is a hotspot for passport bros and nightlife enthusiasts, while the latter, popular among Thai vacationers, also attracts retirees—neither of which aligns with my current plans.

Expat Life in Thailand

Navigating expat life in Thailand offers various visa options, ranging from business to student to retiree. However, my approach as a slow traveler or part-time resident involves securing a short-term rental and staying less than 180 days, eliminating the need for a specific visa. This flexibility allows me to come and go as I please, strategically avoiding the burning season from late March through May, when air quality deteriorates due to widespread field burning.

Many people are concerned about the visa process and expenses in Thailand. However, the retirement visa, which both my husband and I are eligible for, appears to be reasonably priced to sidestep the inconvenience of visa runs every three months. It requires maintaining 800,000 (approximately $20,000) Baht in a Thai bank account. 800,000 Baht is approximately 24,000 USD.


Spain is another top choice in my Post-Democracy Relocation Guide. I genuinely appreciate the laid-back atmosphere of southern Spain, particularly in the captivating region of Andalucia, where I’ve explored eight remarkable cities.

Seville, Granada, Malaga, Cordoba, Jaen, Almeria, & Cadiz

Seville, with its rich history, welcomed me with open arms. Wandering through its narrow streets, I stumbled upon hidden gems that whispered tales of centuries past. Granada, adorned with the enchanting Alhambra, left me awe-struck as I immersed myself in the intricate details of this historical masterpiece. The coastal beauty of Malaga painted a serene picture, with its golden beaches and azure waters. Cordoba, a city of architectural marvels, transported me through time as I marveled at the blend of Islamic and Christian influences in its structures. Jaen, steeped in historical significance, revealed stories etched in its ancient walls, while the coastal landscapes of Almeria offered a refreshing change of scenery. With its relaxed vibes, Huelva allowed me to unwind and soak in the unhurried pace of life. The maritime charm of Cadiz cast a spell on me, with its coastal breeze and lively atmosphere.

Each of these cities, with its warm embrace for expats, could serve as an excellent temporary or permanent Post-Democracy Relocation destination. They seamlessly weave their unique threads into the diverse lifestyle of southern Spain. The landscape is as diverse as the experiences, contributing to the richness of each city. My extended stay in each city has significantly enriched my appreciation for the captivating charm of Andalucía, from its diverse landscapes to its delightful food, pleasant weather, and laid-back lifestyle. Among all the places I’ve explored, Seville, Granada, and Malaga stand out as my top choices for potential living. While Marbella, with its dreamy allure, remains an enchanting destination, its higher costs make it less practical for long-term residence.

More on Andalucia

Andalucia boasts a unique blend of cultural influences that sets it apart from the rest of Spain. One distinctive aspect is the Moorish heritage that has left an indelible mark on the region. The historical coexistence of Islamic and Christian civilizations is particularly evident in architectural marvels like the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba.

Furthermore, the vibrant and passionate art form of flamenco has deep roots in Andalucia. This traditional Spanish art form, encompassing dance, singing, and guitar playing, originated in the region and is an integral part of its cultural identity. The emotional intensity and expressive nature of flamenco performances showcase the unique artistic heritage of Andalucia.


After going back to Spain, I realized it’s not where I want to retire. Something felt different this time—I can’t tell if it’s me or Spain that’s changed. Plus, it was way too expensive, and that’s not what I’m looking for in retirement.


Contemplating a move to Bali involves navigating the island’s economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism—a dual-edged situation for residents. Despite this reliance’s challenges, it simultaneously opens up numerous opportunities in the flourishing hospitality and service sectors. Bali has become a gravitational pull for digital nomads, drawn in by its enchanting scenery and relatively affordable cost of living. However, this influx contributes to the perpetual traffic on the island. Despite the traffic, the allure of lush tropical gardens makes the prospect of enduring Bali’s unique challenges seem worthwhile.

Dbs-yoga-studio-in-the-Bali-jungle-519x692 Escape Routes: Post-Democracy Relocation Destinations

At the crack of dawn in Bali, I awoke to the gentle sounds of nature stirring. Eager to embrace the morning’s tranquility, I headed to my destination—a yoga class in the lush beauty of a rice field surrounded by thick jungle. The air was crisp, carrying the earthy fragrance of dew-kissed grass and tropical blooms. Walking along a narrow path, the soft soil beneath my flip-flops provided a grounding sensation.

The distant murmur of flowing water and the rhythmic symphony of bird songs overhead became the theme music for my daily walks. Vibrant colors of tropical flora painted the landscape with rich greens and vivid blossoms. A gentle breeze carried the essence of the jungle, while the occasional rustle of leaves added a melodic touch to the serene ambiance. This journey became a sensory exploration where sight, sound, touch, and fragrance converged, creating a harmonious prelude to the upcoming yoga session in this enchanting Balinese paradise.

Post-Democracy Relocation Guide Daydreams

Living in Bali promises a daily experience surrounded by vibrant cultural elements, including colorful ceremonies, traditional dances, and religious festivals. These cultural aspects contribute to the island’s unique charm and provide a rich backdrop to daily life. As I anticipate the move, the prospect of sampling Bali’s diverse and delicious local cuisine excites me. From renowned slow-cooked dishes like Bebek Betutu (slow-cooked duck) to exotic fruits such as snake fruit and rambutan, the island’s culinary offerings are a testament to its rich gastronomic tapestry.

I can imagine myself in a beautiful Balinese-style home or villa, adding another layer to the allure. The seamless blend of traditional and modern architectural elements creates a living space that feels both culturally authentic and aesthetically pleasing. Moreover, Bali’s commitment to wellness becomes evident through its abundance of yoga retreats and a prevailing focus on clean, healthy eating. This dedication adds an extra layer of appeal, envisioning a lifestyle that prioritizes well-being and balance against the serene backdrop of the island’s environment. Bali beckons with the promise of a truly rewarding and holistic life experience.

Reader Response:

Only thing is, where can one go if Democracy fails in the USA?! If Democracy fails here, then Democracy will fail everywhere, as, there will be no other country militarily powerful enough to stop authoritarianism from taking over elsewhere.

My Response:

I hear ya, this Post-Democracy Relocation Guide is more a desire than a real probability. However, I’ve lived abroad and know America is not the only place I could live. I don’t presuppose a government under Dump would even have the support of the military – most likely not. They are bound by ethical, legal, and morality to fight all enemies foreign and domestic to the constitution, not a person. Corporate interests rule the country, and they need a stable government to make money, so they’re even more likely to keep him in check. I’m not even concerned about that. If I left, it would be a political, economic, and lifestyle decision.

The best answer lies in staying and fighting against the prevailing ignorance. It’s understandable to feel concerned about the potential implications of democracy failing in the USA. It’s also important to remember that democracy is a global endeavor. While the USA plays a significant role in promoting democratic values, there are other democratic nations around the world that remain steadfast in upholding democratic principles. In the event of challenges to democracy in one country, it becomes crucial for the international community to stand together in defense of democratic norms and institutions. By fostering cooperation and solidarity among democratic nations, it is possible to resist authoritarianism and uphold the values of freedom, equality, and human rights worldwide. While the situation may be daunting, it’s essential to remain hopeful and committed to protecting democracy wherever it may be threatened.

Post-Democracy-Relocation-Guide-519x692 Escape Routes: Post-Democracy Relocation Destinations


Chiang Mai in Thailand and Andalucía in Spain are both constitutional monarchies with a parliamentary government. Bali in Indonesia is a presidential republic. As of late, there hasn’t been any significant political turmoil in Chiang Mai (Thailand), Andalucía (Spain), or Bali (Indonesia). However, political situations can change, so it’s advisable to check for the latest news for the most up-to-date information.

All three regions have witnessed increased immigration. In Andalucía, Spain, challenges arise from refugees, migrants, and unskilled labor arriving from Africa. Bali is grappling with an influx of refugees from Russia and Ukraine amid the ongoing European conflict. Moreover, Thailand has adjusted tourist visa requirements and contemplates alterations to expatriate tax structures to boost revenue, potentially influenced by strains on medical facilities and the housing market.

And although, I hope things don’t get this bad, I am keeping my options open. So should you.


  1. Connie

    I am getting my escape plan together too. I am so over this place– the entire country is falling apart in front of our eyes.

  2. Pamm

    I agree with you. I am fortunate enough to have dual citizenship, so I can live anywhere in Europe without adhering to Shengen regulations. I do not want to go through the hell that this nation was put through when that orange thing was president.

    I will be giving it serious consideration, but only after my nearly 99 year old Mom passes

    1. Stacey A. Peters

      I hear ya. I was talking with my mom, who was adamant about not leaving, but both she and my father are waiting to see where this goes, leaving their options open. Which is way mor than they were willing to do a few years ago.

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