Post Tagged with "living abroad"

Author Tash Aw on moving to China and the South Asian novel

Recently I had the privelege of interviewing Malaysian author Tash Aw for the review site Bookmunch.


April 11, 2013 Comments disabled

Nominate an expat or international blogger for’s competition

Online dictionary runs an annual competition for bloggers writing about their international experiences, and this year’s competition is about to start.

Who is eligible? Bloggers who write about their high school or student exchange, au-pair experience, around-the-world travellers and expats – anyone who is living another culture and blogging about it.

You have until 31st January to nominate your favourite blogger – for more details see this post on’s language blog Lexiophiles.

January 24, 2013 Comments disabled

A plane ticket to happiness

Leaving Cambodia (pic: Liz Ledden)

How many times have you wondered if you’d be so much happier or your life would be perfect, if only I lived ‘there’ (insert fantasy locale of choice – a Thai island or downtown Manhattan perhaps) instead of ‘here’?

The quest for the perfect place and therefore perfect life can take its toll if you heed its call. Once ensconced in a new place the comparison game begins, usually starting with a period of intense highs where all the best bits of the new place are realised and explored, and are deemed ‘so much better’ to the previous (now far more inferior) place. Eventually cracks appear in its shiny surface and the inevitable crash can be a painful one when it becomes clear that this place, too, is deeply flawed. Hence the search begins again. Perhaps the old home is repainted in a new, shinier light, or the quest for a new and better place begins all over again.

For perpetual travellers, career expats and other wandering spirits it can be easy to get caught up in the country or city comparison game. When I moved from Australia to Cambodia I definitely experienced the highs and lows of falling deeply in love with a place then feeling the sting of its bite when things fell apart. Like being seduced then betrayed, I built Cambodia up to be my utopic world of happiness and light, surrounded by smiling faces, serene monks, glittering temples and lush landscapes. Money was no longer any object and life was a party every night.

Eventually though, the gloss wore off (though happily was eventually repainted – I definitely lost a piece of my heart in Cambodia and will never forget the impact my time there has had on my life). Friends became victim to petty theft one by one, and I spent an uncomfortable night sleeping on a rudimentary hospital floor next to a friend who was viciously pulled out of a moving tuk tuk by a handbag snatching thief. I too was robbed, by someone I trusted – my very own cleaner, who skipped town with my precious laptop containing a few years’ worth of photos that were foolishly not backed up. The frustrations continued when dealing with the corrupt and inept police who thought there was no point pursuing the perpetrator when it was obvious the laptop would have already been sold. Talk about missing the point. I eventually moved on from my laptop loss and forgave my beloved Cambodia for all its frustrations.

I moved to Saigon next, where again I went through a process of the first flushes of new love and an eventual comedown once the realities of life there sunk in. I was always comparing Cambodia and Vietnam and which place was better for what reason, throwing Bangkok into the mix (another city I’ve spent a lot of time in and have quite the passion for). Moving back to Sydney a few years later was a ridiculously massive adjustment after living in Asia and it took at least six months or more to accept the fact I no longer lived there. I knew I wasn’t alone, as close friends made in Cambodia and Vietnam had also moved home to countries in the West, and were struggling with the lifestyle change. Hilariously, some of the loudest advocates for moving back home were the ones missing Asia the most. Sometimes, we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, or in this case how amazing a place is until we leave.

A holiday back to the region was the perfect remedy for my restlessness – perhaps this was the solution I was looking for, like the best of both worlds. I could live in my comfortable Sydney home surrounded by my own furniture and things, have family nearby and clean streets and air and all those wonderful things Australia has to offer, while having an intense dose of Asia and all its sensory delights before jetting back home again. I sometimes wish there was a way to divide my time more evenly between Australia and Asia so I could split my life in two, but for now the occasional holiday will have to suffice. Staying in touch with friends from past lives and homes helps keep the memories alive, and armchair travelling in the form of escaping with books and blogs about favourite places help fan the wanderlust flames…until the next plane ticket to happiness is booked.

March 23, 2012 5 comments

Carrie: “living abroad opens up my view of the world and exposes me to new ways of thinking”

Carrie is our People of the World editor and has just moved from Bali, Indonesia to Mendoza, Argentina. In this interview she tells us about living and running a business abroad and how she and her family are adapting to life in Argentina.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am an American, currently living in Mendoza, Argentina. I love travelling and seeing the world and learning about new cultures- my goal is to see as much of the world as possible. I am also an entrepreneur/small business owner and mom to a two and a half year old boy with another baby on the way in July, so I keep busy!

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

We just moved to Mendoza, Argentina about a month and a half ago from Bali, Indonesia. My husband and I are from New York, but have lived abroad since 2002. We started out in Barcelona, then London, then got more adventurous and lived in Rio and Montevideo for a brief while before moving over to Bali. Our first move abroad was to go to IESE business school in Barcelona, and then we fell in love with the life abroad. One of our goals is to teach our son Spanish and we love Argentina, so that is what prompted this most recent move. We do miss being home and seeing family, and one of the benefits of being in South American rather than Asia is the time zone (no more 13 hour jet lags!!) and ability to get home more frequently.

March 8, 2012 4 comments

A German/Mexican Couple and a English Baby Happily Living in the UK

Gabi and Till are a Mexican/German couple, living in London with their son Axel. Today, Gabi tells us all about her life in the UK, how different her life would be if she was in Mexico, and how wonderful the English labour laws are (one year maternity leaves!).

 Gabi, please tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I am Mexican, married to a German and gave birth to an English baby Axel in 2011. I work in banking and at the moment I am off on maternity for…. a year – thanks to the English labour laws!!

March 1, 2012 4 comments

Falling in love with a Chinese man

Sara, who is a Finnish girl living in China, recently wrote a post on Seeing Red in China blog about her relationship with a Chinese migrant worker:

“Being in a relationship and living with a Chinese guy is a process of learning. My boyfriend doesn’t speak any English and our common language is Mandarin Chinese. After learning the language for year and a half in Finland and one year in China, I can manage and survive with it. It means that we aren’t discussing physics, but fortunately topics like, ”what should we eat” and ”what TV channel you want to watch” are more common topics in our relationship.

While dating a Chinese man means that in the end you marry his whole family. At the same time it seems to be that you also let other people to comment and criticize your relationship. Or the others give themselves the right to voice out their opinions.”


September 15, 2011 2 comments