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People Who Live Outside Their Own Countries

Travel Forums General Talk People Who Live Outside Their Own Countries

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1. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

There's been a lot of discussion about the "distinction" between travellers & tourists. Now, what are your thoughts on "expatriates"? People who live outside their own countries. Would you be bold enough to take this big step OR would you just try to transplant your culture and ways to another part of the world?

2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

I think it is something I would like to do, but I don't know if I have the courage to do it. I would have to wait until my children were grown and out of the house. I don't think it would be fair to force them into something like that. I think it is something that would take a lot of thought and a lot of guts! I wouldn't want to take 'my' culture and all the baggage that it entails, rather I would try to learn and to blend.

3. Posted by noemagosa (Full Member 355 posts) 11y

Good topic, Wocca!

I don't know if "expatriate" is the good term in my case, because I was born a mix already! (dad French/mum Argentinian)... But to make a long story short, it does make me laugh (or un-interested) when people get snob in making the difference between what is a "real" traveller or a tourist... Do these people know what is being a "real" nomad?

Anyway, when there is no choice and one wants to have a different life, environment, and really experience another culture, it is really a great adventure to move elsewhere! But to force the whole family to move along, as Cupcake said, is another story... And there is also the fact that not all the members of the family might adapt as well...

Am I answering the question? Oh, what was the question?...

Well, I lived in many countries, and in each of them I was (and became) "from that country"... I don't like the people (immigrants, as I am) that are always remembering the good things of their "homeland", stick to their language as much as they can, and don't enjoy what they have in front of their eyes!...

So, "make the big step", I've done it already many times...
"Transplant my culture"... What is my culture? Oh, if you consider religion part of culture, then I don't agree: religion and faith are 2 things close related, but not the same.

4. Posted by alba (Budding Member 30 posts) 11y

I'm a sort of temporary expatriate and right now I enjoy the status. :) It is nice to live 4 months here and 4 there, although it isn't easy as it sounds. So far I have never tried to transplant my culture and ways to the other country or to have a lifestyle that doesn't "fit" to the country. I do my best to accept new habits, different culture and food and everything goes fine. I wonder if I can adapt myself so easily only because I know I'm not going to stay there for life...

5. Posted by s0f (Full Member 163 posts) 11y

I'm a first generation Australian - both my parents are immigrants, not expats. They've both adapted to Australian life and both call themselves Australian.

Although my mum still says "home" when she refers to the Philippines, but concedes that she could never live there again having lived here for 30 years now.

My ex and I were considering moving to another country as ex-pats - not migrants. That never happened obviously, but I think I'd immerse myself in the culture of the country I was in. I've been brought up in such a way that I've been taught to embrace my own heritage and culture, so why not embrace another. I guess it helps having migrant parents.

I know of people in Australia that have lived here for decades and still can't speak English! That's not good enough in my book. I think that's being ignorant. These people are in a comfort zone of their own people which I suppose fair enough, but after decades here, and bringing up children here, how can you not learn to speak to local language?

In parts of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, even Melbourne, there are "China Town's", "Little India's", towns and suburbs where cultures stick together. I don't think I'd do that if I was an expat. At least I'd make a concerted effort not to.

6. Posted by jam (Full Member 31 posts) 11y

I'm currently living the life of an ex-pat. I'm first generation Canadian (parents are South African) and i've been in London for close to 6 years. Its an amazing experience, I have met so many friends from all over the world and love the idea of being somewhere unique. London is a mecca of ex-pats and most of my friends are such. Most of my english mates have been ex-pats too so they know the lifestyle/experience of it all. There are many who come here that do not leave their comfort zone and will only consort with people of their nationality - which i think is wrong.

I'm going travelling for 4months and after that I am moving to Copenhangen to study. Again, I wanted something different, i just fear that I will not settle down.

7. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Hey Jam,

You seem to be having a great time. I really enjoyed living in England. Europe is so accessible. Have fun and think about settling down later on

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

We are currently in the process of making that decision. It is the motivation for our next series of travels.

1. Would you be bold enough to take this big step

Yes, most definitely. But, in our case, there are quite a few things to consider. (I know I'm going to get jumped on for the next few comments - I'm ready.) We would prefer to be "expats" in another country. One that offers the things we really want - warm climate, ocean/beach property, job opportunities and a stable government/economy. Yeah, I know - we're asking alot. But, we also have several other things to consider in making this decision. We are not 20 or 30-somethings anymore. What type of jobs are available to someone of my age? And, we have certain creature comforts that we are not willing to sacrifice just to "escape". It's not the furniture or the house, though those things do have to be dealt with, we also have a number of companion animals to provide for and it is a subject of concern. It can become a major expense and require long quarentine periods. In essence, we're at the "Is this workable? If so, then how?" phase.

2. would you just try to transplant your culture and ways to another part of the world?

No. It is one of the issues that we have a hard time understanding in those who have made the "leap". We met several expats in Panama and visited expat "communities", just to see what was the draw. The biggest complaint by those not living in one of these communites - (seriously) "It's cheap but it's not like home and the people are poor". DUH! We had to bite our tongues to keep from asking, "Why then did you move?" The "communities" were gated fortress type areas that kept the expats in and the locals out - except to build their homes and clean their clothes. Every one of them had a golf course or one being built. They had taken their little corner of the US with them so they could feel "safe", enjoy other expats and never have to really leave their enclosure. They could have moved to Arizona or Florida and gotten the same experience. But, "third world" countries offer tax shelters and hiding places for money that we Americans just love.

Sorry, got off on a rant there. So again, no. We look forward to experiencing what the new "home' country has to offer, learning their language, discovering their cultures and integrating ourselves into their way of life - not vice-versa. Otherwise, what's the point of moving?

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

This is a hard question for me, because to be able to live outside your 'own' country, you need to be able to say that a certain country IS your own country. I can't really say that and I feel at home in every country I've lived in so far. By saying that, I mean that if someone asks me where home is, I will now say Norway. If they ask me where I am from, I would probably say the Netherlands while I am in Norway because they'll realize I am foreign. When my wife and me travel together though and we're in (say) Indonesia and someone asks me where I am from, I'll say Norway.... confused yet?!?! In basically every country I have moved to, I have been an 'expat', but that's how I grew up and I am very used to it (plus I love it so that helps :) ).

People are always asking me if I miss 'home' and when I say I don't have a 'home' then they ask me if I'm sad because of that etc. Not at all, my home is where my pillow lies and it has much more to do with a state of mind than anything else...

But of course, I'm warped and this is just my own humble opinion based on my pretty unusual situation

10. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Interesting comments, Sam.

I get the same reaction when asked "Do you miss your home country?" (No) AND "When do you plan to go back?" (Never)