Dying old overseas without family nearby?

In this report, I answer a question that several of you have asked me privately in different ways.  Dan, do you ever fear dying old overseas without family nearby?

For me, the answer is no. I do not fear dying overseas without nearby family. I will explain why. But we are all wired differently. If I explain why I don’t have that fear, maybe it will help some of you if you do have that fear. Then I will explain 6 other fears you have shared with me.

Some experts believe all fears experienced in life are related to the fear of death. Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” My view is that almost all human fears have the fear of death as the underlying root fear.

So if you can figure out how to handle your fear of death, many of your other fears might also be reduced greatly.

I believe that people are more afraid of death than many other fears because they have no idea what dying will be like. They can’t study it and reduce their fear because nobody ever comes back and talks about what actual death feels like, or what happens next.

So the fear of death is really a fear of a permanent condition that people don’t know anything about. You can not control the timing or circumstances of your own death, so you fear it.

People may believe something happens at death but beliefs do not hold the same power in reducing fears when compared to personal knowledge and experience. We don’t need to believe in gravity to understand it. Whether we believe in gravity or not makes no difference when trip and fall on our face.

You haven’t done death before so you have no experience with it. Since you can’t define it, or experience it before your time, you really can’t completely resolve it. You just have to wait for your own death to see what it is really like.

Sure, people report near-death experiences, but those are near-death experiences. Not exactly the same as the completely and permanently dead experience, though there may be similarities leading up to actual permanent death.

But the email question asked is not about death. The email instead asks about my fear of not having family standing around me when the end is near. He is worried about dying overseas without having his family nearby. But I think his fear is about something else.

I think it is something more like this. When he finds out he is dying in 30 days, who will he trust to be near him as he fades away into obscurity? Under his fear is another idea, will foreigners walk away when he is dying or treat him poorly?

Or maybe he is afraid he won’t get to see his family one last time before he dies? Nobody in his family will be there to hand him a cup of water while he is dying.  Will the foreigners keep his cup of water full?

If he decides to retire overseas, will he starve to death or dehydrate because nobody is nearby to help him when he can no longer lift a cup of water or prepare a sandwich? Sounds like there could be a few fears all tied together that he is worried about or visualizing.

So that is the purpose of this report. Fear 1: I will talk about how I will die overseas with dignity once I get so weak I need someone to lift water, make me a sandwich, help me to the bathroom, or get my meds from the pharmacy when I am too weak to do it all on my own. Fear 2: I will also talk about how to talk to your family and friends back home so that even if you die overseas or in a way that you are unable to say goodbye, no stones are left unturned.

Then I will quickly share a few of the other major fears you have shared with me over the years.

How to Die With Dignity Overseas (Fear 1)

I will start with the thoughts of a couple I interviewed a few years ago. They shared their thoughts about how to die with dignity when they are too weak to take care of themselves. I didn’t actually define my death process at the time, but I had a few thoughts about it that sprung from that interview.

This couple had decided that they didn’t want their family taking care of them on their deathbed. They had decided that if anyone wanted to come by and visit during their last few months of life, family or otherwise, from their home country, they didn’t want to burden them with the daily grind of taking care of them.

Instead, they wanted family or friends to be able to drop by and say goodbye, laugh about old times, and give them a smile or hug. They didn’t want to saddle family or friends with any obligation to bathe them, feed them, or change their bed sheets in their final days.

Instead, they had thought of another way to die with dignity overseas.

They had done the calculations at the time. They determined that they would be able to hire a full-time live-in nurse that would live in their second bedroom for the last few years of their lives.

They had purchased a two-bedroom condo in a retire cheap country. They had checked around, and determined, that they would be able to hire a full-time live-in nurse for much less than they would be able to in their home country.

As soon as their mobility was greatly reduced, they would start interviewing and would find a live-in nurse. The nurse would do the shopping, and the cooking, and make sure they took their meds on time. They would pay all of the nurse’s living expenses plus another $500 to $1000 USD or so per month.

According to their calculations, they would be able to have a college-trained and certified nurse live in their home with them and take care of them for their dying days. But they would hire the nurse at least a year before they both lost mobility. That is how they would test the nurse out to make sure she was right for the job before they were too weak to make a change to a new nurse.

To their dying plan, I would add my own little twist. I am not interested in melting away in pain over a few years. So I would get a bottle of painkillers and hide them somewhere in the house. If the pain ever got to the point where life was not fun anymore. I would take myself out of the game before I got too weak to make that decision.

But so long as the pain was bearable, I think my curiosity about natural death would win the day and I would stick around until the end. In that case, I would stay conscious and see what death is really about.

Dying Without Family and Friends Around (Fear 2)

I like the live-in nurse plan because instead of asking family and friends to nurse me along, I could just enjoy the company of friends instead of depending on them to do the wet nursing work. So any family and friends that decided to fly over and say goodbye once I knew my approximate expiration date, could do so with no obligations of nursing me.

Also, very few of us have such control over the circumstances and timing of our death. So we need to make sure that everyone that was important to us in life, gets to see and hear from us often enough so we feel complete if they, or we, die suddenly without notice.

So, to make a long story short, death in my own home sounds better to me than being shipped off to an old person’s home or hospice for my final few days, weeks, or months.

Since it is so much cheaper to have a live-in nurse or daily drop-by nurse in many of these retire cheap in paradise locations, I would be able to hire someone, to feed me, wipe my butt, and send me off to the hereafter.

Plus, my family, if they so choose to visit me in the final days, would not be stuck doing any of the things I would prefer to have a nurse do.

What About New Loves and New Friends?

When I received the email, I was thinking, why wouldn’t I have any friends to stop by and say hello when I was dying? Presumably, I will have lived in my new country for 10 to 20 years by the time I die right?

Why are we assuming I wouldn’t know anybody in the new country that loved and cared about me after a decade or so? If I was living in some new country and hadn’t found new love in my life, or brought it with me, wouldn’t I just move back home anyway before I was on my death bed?

So there seem to be some unrealistic assumptions in the question itself.

What are other common fear people have about retiring overseas?

Death without family and friends nearby is not the only fear people have about living overseas in retirement. Let me mention a few more. How do I know all these fears?

Because people email and ask me. You see, I left the USA over 15 years ago, and I have lived in or visited 67 countries. I don’t buy round-trip tickets. I have experienced many of the fears you are worried about and thought my way through how to deal with other ones if they were to happen.

I have 200 reports on VagabondBuddha.com about retiring early for cheap overseas and many reports include what I have learned over the years.

I get questions all the time from people considering retiring overseas. I will share a few of their other questions first. Then I will share my thoughts and how I have managed those fears over the last 15 years.

But my thinking is not the be-all or end-all for any of these fears.

There are millions of people that have left their home country and live overseas. Some of the smartest ones even watch this channel and will comment below on whether they agree or disagree with my thinking. So make sure to read their comments below.

I jumped out of an airplane once. But I could only overcome the fear of death and jump, after I had more information. I needed to understand the risks and the backup plans. The fear was useful because it got me to pay close attention during the pre-jump training.

In the pre-jump training, I learned that skydiving was safer than driving to work in the morning. That means that you are more likely to die every time you drive than every time you jump from an airplane. I also learned the backup plans such as the backup parachute.

So, before you jump out of your home country, just make sure you have enough fear to understand the main risks and to think through your backup plans so your fears do not happen. Here are a few more fears some of you have expressed to me.

More Fears of retiring Overseas

Will I like my home in a foreign country?

Will I be safe in a foreign country?

Will I get lonely in a foreign country?

Will I become homeless in a foreign country?

Will I run out of money in a foreign country?

Will my lover leave me if I run out of money in a foreign country?

In your home country, you have already resolved these fears one way or another, but you begin to think of these fears again when you move overseas.

Will I like my home in a foreign country?

The way I killed this fear was by going to a target foreign country and seeing where I could afford to live, where I could afford to eat, and what entertainment I would be able to afford on my target budget.

In other reports, I explain how you should never move anywhere outside your home country until you have done an exploratory visit. Here is my report explaining what to do on your exploratory visit.


Once you see and taste the foods in the grocery stores and restaurants, you will know firsthand whether or not you will like the food. Once you see where you can live on your budget, you will reduce the fear of your new home.

In fact, many of the fears will be reduced when you complete your exploratory visit.

Will I be safe in a foreign country?

You can read about that online, but you also need to go there and see if you feel safe. Here is my report on how I think about safety overseas.


Will I get lonely in a foreign country?

This will depend on a number of factors such as your personality type, what country you pick, what languages you speak, and your compatibility and integration with the local culture. Further, in some parts of the world, some foreigners are treated better than the locals.

To fully understand the nuances of this question, you will need to meet and talk to some of the local ex-pats living in your target country on your exploratory visit. You can also tell by how open and friendly the locals are to you when you visit.

For more on this and other factors about the fear of loneliness, read my report, Traveling 4 Years Alone: Were You Loney?


Will I run out of money in a foreign country? Will I become homeless in a foreign country?

Once you brush the dust off the top of these two fears, you will realize they are almost the same thing.

Overcoming these two fears is all about proper financial planning and telling the truth to yourself once you are on the ground in a foreign country. It all starts with an exploratory visit where you need to gather budget data such as rents, groceries, transportation, utilities, restaurants, alcohol, and other daily expenses you have at home presently.

Then you have to set a budget for each category and stay within budget while living overseas. I also have a report where I talk about setting a budget, having emergency savings, and pulling the safety parachute when your emergency savings fall below a certain threshold.

To slay these two fears, try checking out my report, The Two Biggest Risks of Retiring Early Overseas. I would also add monitoring the new biggest risk (inflation) so you are not caught with your pants down overseas.


Will my lover leave me if I run out of money in a foreign country?

If you want to remain in control of your finances, this report shares ideas about how to keep a distance between your resources and you new love so you can still afford retirement if love goes bad, How to avoid con artist lovers in overseas retirement.


Thanks for reviewing my report, Dying old overseas without family nearby.

Please subscribe to VagabondBuddha.com or our Youtube Channel to watch us move around the world, 14 years and 67 countries so far. Make sure to grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 15+ Years. It has most of my best tips and tricks.

This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube channel for VagabondBuddha.com. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?