Life as an Expat

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Moving to another country can be quite a step. Moving to another continent, clearly a bigger one. I guess for me it wasn’t such a big deal. I had toured the world for 30 years as a singer songwriter and led a quite nomadic life. Sure I had family in the UK and other things that I would miss, but I had grown used to four, six or eight weeks away from home. I’m not saying that is the same, but most people rarely spend more than two or three weeks away.

Taking the leap and emigrating is, not in any way, like having an extended holiday, and those that treat it as such often fail, miserably. One needs a different mindset, an acceptance of new rules and an ability to put the past behind them. Sitting in a bar in Southeast Asia moaning about how great the homeland is and how much you miss it, will not win you many friends, and quite frankly drive you to a dark place.


The disadvantages are the isolating distance between you and your loved ones, the list of familiarity of things that you enjoy and a few home comforts. Social networks have to some degree lessoned the impact of missing loved ones. The advantages are, in my opinion, innumerable. I think it helps if you figuratively dive right in and get ‘local’ as soon as possible. Eating local food and ditching the wristwatch is a great start.

Life here IS different, and the sooner you accept that the better really. So many seem to try and recreate their homeland in a foreign country; it never works as far as I am concerned. This is probably why I have always sort of steered clear of “ The English Pub”. I don’t care what they say, you are not going to get an English Breakfast, and why would you want to? I know at this point some will argue that there are places that serve a great full English. I disagree, they will serve a good Asian version of a Full English here. I’ve never had black puddings on an Asian English for starters. And, as anyone from the north of England will tell you, black puddings are round affairs, not fried sliced rubbish.

Everywhere you go in the world you will find Aussie Bars, American Bars, English Pubs and Irish Pubs; what is the point? If you want a great Irish bar, go to Ireland. If you want a Traditional English pub go to the English countryside, for a great American bar go to California or New York and if you want a truly exceptional Australian Pub you will more than likely be disappointed (ok maybe in Melbourne, but I bet the guys from Sydney will disagree).


The most important thing is to just enjoy the ride. Southeast Asia is the most fascinating region I have ever visited and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. The weather is great, sure it’s damned hot when you first arrive but you get used to that. The people are amongst the most generous and friendly I have ever met. There is great food, an abundance of things to do and it is certainly one of the best bases in the world, if you want to go exploring.

It is no holiday, but it is a truly amazing life.