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Sunday, August 17, 2008

BOOK: "The Grown-Up's Guide to Running Away From Home," second edition, by Rosanne Knorr (Ten Speed Press, $14.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: People who own more than what will fit in a bandanna.

If all the American citizens living abroad counted as one state, it would rank among the top 25 in population. Running away is not only for kids wanting to join the circus, but also for midlifers who have dutifully paid for their children's "year abroad" and said to themselves, "Hey, wait a minute. . . ." A sabbatical, a retirement refuge -- who hasn't dreamed?

Although Knorr is encouraging, she wants you to make sure it's really for you. She hits you with ice-water directives: "Don't even think of running away until you are free from debt." Too broad? Maybe, but shouldn't you at least do the calculations? How will it affect your kids, your elderly parents, your dog? If you survive the self-examination, she has a boatload of tips about buying an overseas house (e.g., live in that location for a year first); buttoning up your stateside house (wrap the commode in Saran); and keeping up with bills (bless the Internet). Hey, you could do this.

-- Jerry V. Haines


© 2008 The Washington Post Company


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