Would you rather live in Svalbard?

If you’re one of those Americans threatening to leave the country now that Donald Trump has been elected, I have one word for you:


Although that may sound like the name of a character in a Harry Potter book, Svalbard (pop. 2,642) is an actual place located somewhere in the vicinity of Norway and it’s mentioned on some websites as a potential home for disgruntled American voters who say they’re ready to abandon ship. Among its advantages is that minimal paperwork is necessary to relocate there and you can carry a gun just about everywhere. Among its disadvantages is that Svalbardians see the sun approximately every third month, temperatures are in the minus 22-degree range and you might need that gun because your next-door-neighbor could be a polar bear.

Even before “moving to another country” replaced “Trump has no possible chance of winning” as a popular topic of conversation, countries and companies have been trolling for Americans who say they’re ready to make a run for the border. Which, according to one poll, is 28 percent of us.

  • Last March, Mahable.com listed “5 countries that will welcome you if Trump becomes president.” In addition to Svalbard, it recommended New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Sweden.
  • That same month, the New York Daily News published, “A complete guide to fleeing President Donald Trump’s America.” It recommended Singapore, for its “top notch public transit” and Ecuador, which ranks No. 1 for cost of living.
  • KAYAK, the travel booking service, launched a giveaway of one-way tickets to Canada, following a tremendous increase in Google searches for “how to move to Canada” after the results of Super Tuesday.
  • Prior to the election, Cape Breton Island in Canada had a website practically begging Americans to move there in the event of a Trump win, declaring, “Muslim people can roam freely,” and “nobody has a hand gun.”

“Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the President of your country! If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island,” the site read. “We need people. We need you!”

And of course, Mexico would be happy to welcome U.S. citizens before we build that wall, fence, row of hedges or whatever the barrier between our two countries winds up being.

For the record, American vowing to show their love of country by fleeing to a different one is nothing new; the sentiment was particularly high in 2004, when all sorts of people swore they would head for the border if George W. Bush was re-elected. There’s no record of where those people are today.

But I’m pretty sure it’s not Svalbard.

Contact this columnist at dlstew_2000@yahoo.com