More Americans than ever before are deciding that America is no longer their home.
They've put down roots abroad, in countries ranging from Cuba (an estimated 2,000 Americans, the latest figures show), to the United Kingdom (224,000). They're in Germany (210,880), the Philippines (105,000) and Israel (184,195).
If they were a U.S. state -- call it Expatria -- its population, some 4 million Americans, would place it right in the middle, along with Kentucky and South Carolina.
Expatriates, citizens of this floating, far-flung state, are changing the very definition of "American."
"What does nationality really mean in these days, in these times of great mobility, at a time when there is an opportunity to make one's way in a society without really any serious impediments?" asks Tom Rose, 68, a retired businessman who since 1961 has spent all but a few years abroad, most of them in Paris.
Rose and others have forsaken America for many reasons. They fell in love with a foreigner, or with an exotic place or culture. They were looking for an adventure, or for a cheaper place to live. They went because their job took them there, or because their heart was no longer here.
Or, like Glen Rubenstein, they had given up on the American political system.
"It seemed too hopeless a future to me," battling for a liberal agenda in a country that has become so conservative, he says. So last year, he, his wife and their two children gave up their lives in Brooklyn and moved to Montreal.
The Rubenstein family arrived in Canada in June, before some opponents of the Bush administration, embittered by the Republican victory in November, declared that they were going north. Canada already was home to the second-largest American expatriate community -- 687,700 (the largest is in Mexico, with 1.04 million).
But moving to Canada -- or Italy or Nepal -- is not as simple as crossing a border. Like so many others, the Rubensteins are exploring what it means to be both American and not American.
"We're going to be Americans living in Canada in some sense -- that will never change, no matter what. We're Americans in our upbringing and experience ... but we want to be part of Canada," says Rubenstein, 44, a community organizer.
Rubenstein is following a trail blazed in the 1960s and '70s by draft resisters who fled to Canada; their number is estimated between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 25,000 remain there today, men now in their 50s and 60s who have built new lives.
The disaffected have left the United States before. After World War I, members of the Lost Generation -- disillusioned with the war's slaughter, dispirited by America's conservatism -- settled in Europe, particularly in France. The number of Americans living overseas more than doubled, from 55,608 in 1910 to 117,238 in 1920.
But that was a small increase compared with what came later. In 1940 there were almost 119,000 Americans living overseas; in 1950, there were more than 481,000, and in 1960, 1.37 million.
These were, for the most part, not disgruntled people. In the postwar era, America's muscular economy sent businessmen and their families all over the world. At the same time, travel became easier, and cheaper, and Americans became more affluent and open to foreign adventure.
Bob Guggenheimer studied medicine in Paris. But in 1948, a love affair ended badly; Paris was too cold and miserable. So he moved to Madrid, where he paid 50 cents to rent an apartment (including room, board and laundry), went to work for International News Service and told the local youngsters that, no, not all Americans carried six-shooters, as they did in the movies.
He's still there, and these days, he's got company. "People are coming over -- they're setting up businesses here, they like the way of life," says Guggenheimer, 79.
And not just in Spain:
* Sondra Hausner, a 34-year-old native New Yorker, braves political unrest to live in Katmandu, Nepal, where she helps ensure that foreign aid gets to the people who need it. She eats what Nepalis eat -- rice and vegetables -- and dresses as they do, in a tunic over pants.
"Life is so scripted in America, where people plan their calendar three weeks in advance. Here, life is interesting. ... One has to be creative, spontaneous," she says.
* Craig Carlson, a struggling screenwriter, had been splitting time between Los Angeles and Paris when he moved to the City of Light to open Breakfast in America, a diner in the Latin Quarter.
"One day I found myself in my Paris apartment," he recalls. "I was coming out to go to the market, a piano was playing somewhere inside and church bells were off in the distance and this realization hit me that I don't want to grow old in L.A. It was a very strong feeling and I just knew this was where I wanted to be."