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Which do you prefer, living abroad or travelling

Travel Forums General Talk Which do you prefer, living abroad or travelling

1. Posted by elliottk (Inactive 40 posts) 6y

Though I've travelled, I've never lived anywhere but west coast USA. Just once in my life, I'd like to live somewhere else for at least a year to really soak up a place. Not sure where or when that'll happen. It's just an inkling I've had for a long time. What are your thoughts on travelling through a place versus setting down for international experiences?

2. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Well, in the ideal world (for me anyway), I would have a job that allows me to move every 4-6 months. This gives me time to soak up local culture and actually get to know the place, and it'll be of decent time frame to pick up the local language. But on a practical side, this could be a major pain, to be up and moving once I'm on the verge of settling down and making some friends. I imagine it'll be even harder if there's a SO/family in the equation.

I've upped and moved once, from Malaysia to Ireland, and I've lived on a short-term basis in Canada (10 weeks) and in France (4 weeks). But the thing is, no matter where I moved, temporarily or not, I've always have someone (relatives in Ireland, friends in Canada and France) so I was never the complete newbie and stranger in a city. It gives a rather false perception on how great it is to live abroad. I never know what it's like to move somewhere where I don't have anyone.

3. Posted by elliottk (Inactive 40 posts) 6y

Quoting lil_lil

I've upped and moved once, from Malaysia to Ireland, and I've lived on a short-term basis in Canada (10 weeks) and in France (4 weeks). But the thing is, no matter where I moved, temporarily or not, I've always have someone (relatives in Ireland, friends in Canada and France) so I was never the complete newbie and stranger in a city. It gives a rather false perception on how great it is to live abroad. I never know what it's like to move somewhere where I don't have anyone.

Thanks for your thoughts lil_lil. Like I mentioned, I'm not sure where I'd end up. Been on vacation to Japan and speak a little Japanese. I really enjoyed it, but that's definitely different than living there. I'm not sure I'm a good fit for that culture long term.

I guess it depends on the circumstances. Their immigration is notoriously difficult unless you want to teach English so I'd have to consider that. I guess it goes both ways, though. My first inspiration for this idea was a friend of mine who majored in English in college and had taken a total of 12 years worth of classes. He came to the U.S. and found he didn't speak well enough for anyone to understand. After his first 2 years, he spoke English better than many Americans and had really soaked up the culture here to where he could blend in very nicely without anyone knowing he was foreign (not that I, a white guy, could ever do that in Japan *hee hee*). Unfortunately, since he didn't want to break the law or "work the system" in order to stay, he eventually had to go back even though he no longer feels at home in his own culture.

My other aspiring second language is Spanish, which opens up a whole lot of doors as far as travel goes. Not sure where I would want to go, though. Maybe somewhere where I could scuba and work on conservation projects.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Jan-2010, at 11:59 by elliottk ]

4. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 6y

Travelling around constantly is great fun to experience new places, but I'm of the opinion that nothing can beat living somewhere for an extended period. 6 months to a year seems ideal. It's really comparing apples and oranges though, since the two experiences are so different. Before you know it, the place you settled in starts to feel like home and you get a new itch - to travel out of there to other places nearby.

The last time I moved to a new country for an extended stay was 13 years ago now when I first came to Australia on a 3 month visa. I'm still here. In fairness, Australia was an easy transition because people speak English. I'd be really interested in moving somewhere where I don't speak the language for a year. It's a bit harder with kids and family to think of though. Not that they'd be against it, just that there are a lot more people to consider and things to work around. For now, we're planning to have trips where we just stay put in one location for at least a month.

5. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 6y

i love travelling but, like others, love to move to another country. ive done it twice now, to germany for 12 months as a student exchange student when iw as 17 and then i moved to holland for 2 years... i think a year in a place is a great amount of time to get to know a country and soak up some culture and learn a bit of the language. the 2 years i spent in holland was the best though, and i wish immigration wouldve allowed me to stay longer! it really became my home, i loved it. every day has something exciting about it, even just going to the supermarket can have an elementof challenge to it, and i loved that. once id gotten pretty competent in the language it was a feeling of satisfaction everytime i came out of a conversation not having to ask them to repeat themselves or stumbling over words etc... if anyone ever asks me if they should move to another coutnry igive them a resounding YES! do it!

6. Posted by dnicholson (Full Member 146 posts) 6y

Well, either way you surely will have to spend a lot but with living abroad for quite sometime, I think you should be able to work for some of your expenses specially if you can catch a good job. one year is a long time and I am sure that you will be able to save up enough money that will cover your trip's expenses. Traveling however is a great thing to do as to see the world is such an amazing experience. it is a nice chance to meet new people and learn about their cultures. although you can also do this with living abroad, you maybe stuck in the same country if you decide to settle in..and a lot of things happen when you actually do. you make and meet friends and become close to them, some even find love partners while doing so, although it can also happen in traveling, the relationships could still be different. if it were me and I really love the country, I would probably settle in for quite some time...

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 6y

I think both have their place. I still love to travel, to see new places and immerse myself for a period in a new culture.

I moved abroad in 2008, and have been living in London for the past year and a half. What is great about living in a place is that you get to experience at a slower and more "life-like" pace. When travelling, you have a lot of experiences in short order. That's great, but I think sometimes the smaller things can get lost in the big experiences.

I'm going to stick in England for a while, but in the future I'd like to try moving someplace really different than my homeland (which is Canada). Maybe living in Shanghai or Tokyo or Santiago.

Oh, and the good thing about moving abroad, it offers you good opportunities to still travel, with places you might want to travel to much closer than before.

Greg

8. Posted by madpoet (Respected Member 413 posts) 6y

Living abroad and travelling are actually complimentary, especially if you are living in a large country like China, Russia, U.S., Australia, etc. On your vacations you can travel around the country and satisfy your 'travel itch', without spending a lot of money on flights (also, you're more likely to be invited by the locals to visit their hometown or see some place that is not in Lonely Planet). I've done that here in China- English schools often give long holidays (4-6 weeks in winter, and the same in summer). By now, I think I've seen more of China than most Chinese.