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Thread: Side Effects of Living Abroad...

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Side Effects of Living Abroad...

    So last night I got the speech (again) about how my family is happy that I've changed and become a much more peaceful, relaxed person since moving to Thailand. That said, the folks are getting older (dad's 69 and mom's 66) and my brother's life badly needs a positive influence, so I get the "we want you to come home" thing every now and then. It reminded me a bit of a piece of an article I read recently...

    5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

    The specific part I thought of was this...


    Your loved ones will be devastated.

    No matter how you try to sugarcoat it, moving abroad is essentially a selfish choice.
    It’s great that you’re living your dream and are choosing the life (you think) you want, but really, you’re not making anyone happy but yourself.
    If you’re blessed with amazing family and friends, they will do anything to hide their true feelings from you. They don’t want to burden you with their doubts, fears and “what on earth are you doing?!” thoughts. They will tell you, “If you’re happy, we’re happy, too!”

    My parents did an impressive job. By the time I left for Los Angeles, I was convinced my upcoming adventure was as exciting to them as it was to me. I was so busy with me, me and me, that I was completely and utterly oblivious to their pain. That day at the airport, I saw a sadness in my parents’ eyes that I had never seen before. When, after our final goodbyes, I turned around one more time, they looked fragile, lost and 10 years older. My adventure was their misery.



    Just wondering if anyone else gets the occasional guilt trip put on them by family or close friends? If so, how do you effectively handle it? And is the decision to live elsewhere truly a selfish decision?


    Also, while I didnt agree with everything in the article (I've hardly ever felt lonely or alone here, nor do I feel guilty) this part also really hit home with me...


    You won’t fit in anymore.

    Moving abroad has changed me in so many more ways than I ever imagined it would. I’ve discovered loves, passions and fears I never knew I had, and have abandoned old convictions and beliefs that just didn’t feel right anymore.

    It’s a good change I’ve embraced fully, but it has also — very slowly and very subtly — alienated me from the people and place I used to call home. When moving abroad, such an important and large chunk of your life and development is happening elsewhere, that fully identifying with what used to be becomes nearly impossible. Instead, you find a new home in your new country that partially fills the void. However, since you lack roots and history in your new home, you will never, despite your best efforts, fit in 100 percent.

    It’s why almost all globetrotters I’ve met throughout the years struggle with existential questions like, where do I belong? Where is home? Where do I want to grow old?
    Last edited by WarProfiteer; 23rd September 2015 at 13:13.

  2. #2
    Senior Member geir's Avatar
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    I'm sure I'll fit inn in the above categories as well, but I choose to look at it this way.
    I am not born in a culture that the main goal of my life is to serve my family and friends. Opposite to Thais I'm not grateful to be born, nor in misery, nor in wealth. I guess I was born in one of the poorest families in my village, but I always had food on the table and clean clothes. I am grateful for that, but it doesn't mean I have to live the rest of my/their lives to please them.
    I made my own way since I was 17 and did pretty much the opposite of what my family advised me to do. As I was really good at school they wanted me to study and get an "easy" well payed job.....I became a lumberjack when I was 17 instead 5555
    I have no bad feelings for moving abroad, I talk to my mum on the phone once a month for both of us to know we are doing fine. My mum have more money than she can spend today, and is living in a very secure flat in a nice area of town. I'm sure she would prefer me to live in Norway, but she would rather see me happy abroad than miserable at home.

    On the last bit I do feel that I don't fit inn in Norway anymore, not that I ever felt it, but it's worse now. When I went back this summer for the first time in 5 years and saw how "old" my friends had became, I was terrified. Some of them by looks as well, but mostly old at heart.
    The lack of pub culture in Norway would make me stick out even more, I would be called an alcoholic if I went out 2-3 times a week. I would probably fit better inn in England or southern parts of Europe where people are less full of themselves and their high moral standards.
    If I went back to Norway I'm quite sure I would feel way more lonely than I've ever felt in Thailand.
    Last edited by geir; 23rd September 2015 at 13:36.
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    I never understand that family obligation. not that it's a bad thing neccessarily, I just don't feel it. My family are the people I happen to be related to by birth, other than that I have to like them to want to spend time with them. A decision to go against what would make you happy, like living where you want to live, in order to please somebody else would puzzle me.

    I might be odd, I accept that, but family wishes would be way down on my list of criteria to choose my home by. That said, I wouldn't run out on my son in any way so by family I mean the wider family not my immediate family who live in my house.

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    I agree with the article it is often selfish.. and I have done it. Left home 25 years ago... was only supposed to be for a couple of years, but never went back.. except for short holidays... I know it has hurt my parents deeply and that guilt will always be with me. Actually it is no longer guilt, it's more a deep sadness now. Doing my best to resolve it it, but too little, too late I think... dad always called me a selfish bastard. He wasn't wrong... I've never felt settled since I left...
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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    ^^Yeah that's another dimension to this... for those that are older and have adult children, is there ever pressure from them or perhaps an internal pressure you might feel to not be so far away from them?

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    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    I don't really see my dad that much and I live in the same country! Mum already dead and my sister I have never been that close too because quite a big age gap and she lives far away. So I don't think would ever feel particularity guilty, my dad is actually always saying when am I moving away etc. My folks went out of their way to ensure me and my sister had dual UK/NZ passports because they really wanted us to go and move around and find happiness somewhere I think. More so because both did the same when they were young...my dad from Manchester left to move down to London after he graduated, a big thing in those days and his parents didn't even go to his wedding as they thought London was too far a place to go 555 Mum grew up on a farm in Whangarei, NZ and left as soon as she could..doing the hippy trail and ending up in 60s London. Don't think she went back to NZ more than a couple of times, certainly only once in my lifetime. So I think it also depends on if your parents have moved around.




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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    ^^Yeah that's another dimension to this... for those that are older and have adult children, is there ever pressure from them or perhaps an internal pressure you might feel to not be so far away from them?
    They never said it directly, but you could feel they wished their children were closer to them. My brother moved away as well and my sister was away a lot. But in recent years now they are retired and ageing, it's hitting home for them and us.. that most of my adult life I have spent hardly any time with them... so trying to get them back to the UK. Though they dread coming back to such a cold place... especially at their age. But mum especially just wants to be near her kids now...

    It's probably why I never felt settled here. Always felt a bit of a Nomad living in different parts of the UK. Never feeling settled anywhere... and never sure why. And I think it's the family thing. Well for me anyway.
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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris-one View Post
    I don't really see my dad that much and I live in the same country! Mum already dead and my sister I have never been that close too because quite a big age gap and she lives far away. So I don't think would ever feel particularity guilty, my dad is actually always saying when am I moving away etc. My folks went out of their way to ensure me and my sister had dual UK/NZ passports because they really wanted us to go and move around and find happiness somewhere I think. More so because both did the same when they were young...my dad from Manchester left to move down to London after he graduated, a big thing in those days and his parents didn't even go to his wedding as they thought London was too far a place to go 555 Mum grew up on a farm in Whangarei, NZ and left as soon as she could..doing the hippy trail and ending up in 60s London. Don't think she went back to NZ more than a couple of times, certainly only once in my lifetime. So I think it also depends on if your parents have moved around.
    I think it's a different feeling when they are in the same country. You at least know they are there if you want to see them... which is subconsciously reassuring...

    My parents were like yours.. wanted us to travel and see the world... I just don't think they expected us to stay away forever... or rather never thought about that scenario.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    So last night I got the speech (again) about how my family is happy that I've changed and become a much more peaceful, relaxed person since moving to Thailand. That said, the folks are getting older (dad's 69 and mom's 66) and my brother's life badly needs a positive influence, so I get the "we want you to come home" thing every now and then. It reminded me a bit of a piece of an article I read recently...

    5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

    The specific part I thought of was this...


    Your loved ones will be devastated.

    No matter how you try to sugarcoat it, moving abroad is essentially a selfish choice.
    Itís great that youíre living your dream and are choosing the life (you think) you want, but really, youíre not making anyone happy but yourself.
    If youíre blessed with amazing family and friends, they will do anything to hide their true feelings from you. They donít want to burden you with their doubts, fears and ďwhat on earth are you doing?!Ē thoughts. They will tell you, ďIf youíre happy, weíre happy, too!Ē

    My parents did an impressive job. By the time I left for Los Angeles, I was convinced my upcoming adventure was as exciting to them as it was to me. I was so busy with me, me and me, that I was completely and utterly oblivious to their pain. That day at the airport, I saw a sadness in my parentsí eyes that I had never seen before. When, after our final goodbyes, I turned around one more time, they looked fragile, lost and 10 years older. My adventure was their misery.



    Just wondering if anyone else gets the occasional guilt trip put on them by family or close friends? If so, how do you effectively handle it? And is the decision to live elsewhere truly a selfish decision?

    I think if your parents were good to you, people should make an effort to visit more but don't need to move back to appease anyone


    Also, while I didnt agree with everything in the article (I've hardly ever felt lonely or alone here, nor do I feel guilty) this part also really hit home with me...


    You wonít fit in anymore.

    Moving abroad has changed me in so many more ways than I ever imagined it would. Iíve discovered loves, passions and fears I never knew I had, and have abandoned old convictions and beliefs that just didnít feel right anymore.

    Itís a good change Iíve embraced fully, but it has also ó very slowly and very subtly ó alienated me from the people and place I used to call home. When moving abroad, such an important and large chunk of your life and development is happening elsewhere, that fully identifying with what used to be becomes nearly impossible. Instead, you find a new home in your new country that partially fills the void. However, since you lack roots and history in your new home, you will never, despite your best efforts, fit in 100 percent.

    Itís why almost all globetrotters Iíve met throughout the years struggle with existential questions like, where do I belong? Where is home? Where do I want to grow old?
    I think if your parents were good to you, people should make an effort to visit more but don't need to move back to appease anyone



    Usually I find people who say "they don't fit in anymore" are saying it condescendingly and pompously...........feeling they are better than the people from home because they have lived abroad.
    I am as different as anyone from home because I have lived away. But there is room for both. You can be the person you were growing up and also be the person who has grown with experiences.

  10. #10
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    I cant be the guy my family friends used to know years ago, cuz I aint that guy anymore and I'm not even willing to make a pretense about it. I'd say it's honestly half Thailand and half working in warzones, but both have taken their toll. Nothing uppity about it, I'm just not the same. Much more intolerant of 'first world problems', which isnt an endearing quality. I couldnt give a single fuck about the things that seem so important to the folks back home... American Idol, Housewives of wherever, I've got no talent... no thanks, cant we just play some cards or sit on the porch and have a drink & a chat instead?
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    I cant be the guy my family friends used to know years ago, cuz I aint that guy anymore and I'm not even willing to make a pretense about it. I'd say it's honestly half Thailand and half working in warzones, but both have taken their toll. Nothing uppity about it, I'm just not the same. Much more intolerant of 'first world problems', which isnt an endearing quality. I couldnt give a single fuck about the things that seem so important to the folks back home... American Idol, Housewives of wherever, I've got no talent... no thanks, cant we just play some cards or sit on the porch and have a drink & a chat instead?
    You basically just confirmed what I said......
    And of course you see yourself as better, just with what you just posted.

    Yet you choose to live in one of the least intelligent places I have been in the whole world, seriously. You talk about people at home caring about such nonsense when I have at the least amount of intelligent conversations with expats and locals in LOS than anywhere else I have ever been.

    I was home for July 4th and went to my best friend's house for a party. All my old friends I grew up with were there. All very different from me, married with kids, never really ventured too far. Some questioned my lifestyle but I just explained we are different. But I don't feel superior to them, we are just different people and can still have a great time together.

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    Senior Member sundancekid's Avatar
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    Donít really think itís about feeling superior though. At least it shouldnít be. Whenever I speak to friends back home they envy parts of my lifestyle at the same time as I envy parts of theirs.

    For me personally, Iíve never in my life felt I belonged anywhere Iíve ever lived, and Iíve certainly never felt the need to ďfit in 100%Ē. The revelation of going to Thailand, and travelling in general, was meeting like-minded people.

    Now, Iím an anti-social person at nature, and generally just want to left alone. But come high-season, family and friends start arriving which Iím both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. Sure, some would view that as a sad and selfish existence. I donít. Maybe future SDK will look at things differently though.
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    Senior Member geir's Avatar
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    Non of mine best friends or family have visited me in Thailand, but a lot of friends from friends and people I knew from I was a kid but never hang out with.
    I still have met most of my old friends and some new the 3 times I've been back in Norway in the last 12 years.
    The funny thing is that I was about to write "back home", but it didn't feel right. This is my home, and it's the longest period of time I've lived at the same place since I was 17.
    To be honest, except from my mother and my cousin, I don't miss anyone back in Norway. Sometimes I miss the food and the long summer days/nights, and maybe that will take me back to Norway for a few months every year in the future. (But I have to get my finances sorted before that can happen, otherwise I have to work while I'm there).
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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    Yeah the best remedy for this is to split your time between two countries....but finances obviously come into play.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geir View Post
    Non of mine best friends or family have visited me in Thailand, but a lot of friends from friends and people I knew from I was a kid but never hang out with.
    I still have met most of my old friends and some new the 3 times I've been back in Norway in the last 12 years.
    The funny thing is that I was about to write "back home", but it didn't feel right. This is my home, and it's the longest period of time I've lived at the same place since I was 17.
    To be honest, except from my mother and my cousin, I don't miss anyone back in Norway. Sometimes I miss the food and the long summer days/nights, and maybe that will take me back to Norway for a few months every year in the future. (But I have to get my finances sorted before that can happen, otherwise I have to work while I'm there).
    Home is where the heart is..............it really is true

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    Home is where the heart is..............it really is true
    wherever I lay my hat...that's my home....its really true....555

    TBH I may well go back and live in AUS again one day (or maybe some other country)...but it won't be the pull of family driving me...I'm just not made that way and nor is anyone else in my family, it's really only my brother and his family now and whilst we are always happy to see each other (almost every year) we do lead very separate lives...it will probably be more an age or a boredom thing if I do go back..however if I do I would still probably spend large chunks of time up here or somewhere similar

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    Senior Member Thin White Duke's Avatar
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    When I drove out my folks gate the last look I got from my Mum was really difficult...kinda haunting.

    But I was only away for 6 months FFS......(didn't know that at the time....could have been forever)

    By the same token the drama when leaving Thailand was also haunting.

    My only consolation is that I am not bankrupt and haven't lost everything.Thailand can wait for now.

    Longterm I would like to spend time in two countries.

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin White Duke View Post
    When I drove out my folks gate the last look I got from my Mum was really difficult...kinda haunting.

    But I was only away for 6 months FFS......(didn't know that at the time....could have been forever)

    By the same token the drama when leaving Thailand was also haunting.

    My only consolation is that I am not bankrupt and haven't lost everything.Thailand can wait for now.

    Longterm I would like to spend time in two countries.
    Did you live in Thailand for a while?

  19. #19
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin White Duke View Post
    Yeah the best remedy for this is to split your time between two countries....but finances obviously come into play.
    This really would be the ideal.. being financially sorted enough to go for visits multiple times per year... say 3 or 4 times, not just once when I can. That's also a contributing factor to me wanting to eventually be in central America (Panama, Costa Rica) vs Asia... I'd only be a 6 hour flight away from Florida. I'd probably be there already but I'm now coming up on 4 years with Taky and she's done nothing but impress me with how hard she's worked to improve her life and herself... that + no dramas = hard to walk away from... so I'm still Thailand based for now.

    But you're spot on... the ideal would be several visits per year and shared holidays, that way my family and friends would still feel like I'm an occasional part of their life, yet most of my time would still be spent outside of the country.

  20. #20
    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    This really would be the ideal.. being financially sorted enough to go for visits multiple times per year... say 3 or 4 times, not just once when I can. That's also a contributing factor to me wanting to eventually be in central America (Panama, Costa Rica) vs Asia... I'd only be a 6 hour flight away from Florida. I'd probably be there already but I'm now coming up on 4 years with Taky and she's done nothing but impress me with how hard she's worked to improve her life and herself... that + no dramas = hard to walk away from... so I'm still Thailand based for now.

    But you're spot on... the ideal would be several visits per year and shared holidays, that way my family and friends would still feel like I'm an occasional part of their life, yet most of my time would still be spent outside of the country.
    Well the price of flights at the moment should help that also.
    Now it may not stay that way but flights do add up.
    Even to just Boston if we don't book way in advance it can be 1400 for both of us to go.

    But we just booked a Cathay flight for Ao for next month for 975cad
    I just booked a YVR-NYC-BOS return flight for Thanksgiving for 424cad

    I actually looked into buying a block of tickets YVR-BOS......say 10 to he used in 18 months or so......but there was no real incentive to do it that way.
    They should offer that type of bulk discount

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