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Transpersonal Effects of Self-Initiated Expatriation on Retirees

Presentation made for SMN symposium  July 2023.

If academic research on forced immigration or expatriated workers is extensive, very little literature exists on people who chose to live abroad when retired as perhaps engaging with death and old age is a taboo subject in Western societies. However, more and more people are choosing to retire in a foreign country and a new class of citizens begins to emerge, less attached to a country but looking for life meaning. In Western countries, between 12 to 13 % of people choose to live abroad and this figure increases regularly. However, such research could contribute to resolving this taboo, as Oliver (2012) put in her book, “Retirement Migration: Paradoxes of Ageing” and understanding the dynamics of getting older.

Using organic inquiry as a research method, the dynamics behind the decision of moving abroad are explored as well as the transformative process experienced by persons who decided to move abroad to an unknown country when retired. The dynamics behind the decision of moving abroad will be explored as well as the psychological and spiritual consequences while adopting a transpersonal approach, i.e., the research will focus on the transformation of the self, the unfolding of a new identity, and the emergence of a different level of consciousness.

The results of the research presented as the Hero’s Journey (Campbell,2003)  explain the causes of the departure such as answering to a calling or personality traits which pertain to an archetype that I called the Aged Traveller. The second dimension is the journey itself and its transformative impact. Since the decision is made, a period of deconstruction and reconstruction begins. The third dimension would be the eternal exile and showing how greater knowledge and access to multiculturalism make a return impossible.


Retirement, expatriation, emigration, spirituality, transpersonal psychology, spiritual maturity


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