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Is going back home easier said than done?


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Is going back home easier said than done?

By Dan Cheeseman

 

expat-going-home.jpg

 

Before I start this blog let me be clear: I am a happy expat. Previous blogs have allured to the possibility of a return back to the UK, but I was just being open in sharing some of the questions expats, like myself, inevitably have had. What is our end game – will we ever return back ‘home’ and will there ever come a time in the short term where one would need to go back?

 

The longer I spend living abroad, the less likely it is that I will ever go back to live again. The reality is there is very little back in the UK for me to go back for, I have my two brothers but see them when they come over on whenever I go back to the UK for a vacation. I have friends but we have all moved on from when I last lived in the UK over a decade ago. We are certainly still friends, but our mindsets have shifted in opposite directions.

Can you fit back in with a society that you left?

 

One of the biggest reasons for why I don’t think I will end up back in the UK is that I no longer fit in and no longer think aligned to the UK culture, friends and family. During August I saw on my Facebook feed all my friends back in the UK having their summer holidays – as it was half term for their children. So, every family gets away as the kids are off school. And they all jump on plane to British areas abroad in Europe and surround themselves with fellow Brit holiday makers. If ever I wanted reminding of the structure and routine to UK living that was it.

 

Full story: https://danaboutthailand.com/2018/09/10/is-going-back-home-easier-said-than-done/

 

DAN ABOUT THAILAND

Weekly Vlogs and Blogs from in and around Thailand

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Couldn't do it. The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control for everything.

And that is before you add in the dire weather to the mix.

Asia is where its at, all the comforts of home, and moee, but without all the BS.

 

I couldn't think of even 1 reason to go back there

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10 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

What is our end game – will we ever return back ‘home’

My home is Thailand. It wasn't in my original life plan. The first decade or so that I lived here, I had an escape route back home to America, just in case. The last few years not so much. For the most part I no longer have the desire to go back and live in a log cabin in the mountains of Colorado. Mainly because the wife and daughter would want to come along.

 

My life choices ultimately led me to stay in Thailand.  It ain't perfect, but it is home.

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2 hours ago, markaoffy said:

“Fit in and alligned to English culture “ would be the easiest part of moving back ! One thing I’ve never done (only parts I had to) is be part of or engage in Thai culture !

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do".... or you know better than 2,000 plus years of history???

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Yeah after six years here, i don't see my self going back to Australia,the UK,well i left 22 years ago,went back once for about 10 days in 2008,knew then would probably be the last time,was thinking of moving to Philippines couple of years ago,after a month came back here and met my now wife. The cold hard facts were she was far better looking than the Filipina i had been with,and all the hassle of relocating to another country swung it for me.

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A few years back a UK masters degree student (area of study was behavior and culture) did his/her thesis on this. I was interested because my company, over many years had from small to serious problems with expats assigned to other countries in regard to coping with different cultures etc., and was interested to try to smooth out the problems associated with moving to / living in / working in different cultures, the research covered both parties (wife / husband - husband / wife). The thesis was well researched and well presented.

 

In regard to this TV thread the research mentioned several cases of 'reverse culture shock'; meaning: some difficulty, severe difficulty, high stress, unable to return to original country and easily return to the original culture lifestyle, typical behaviors, etc.

 

The cases the researcher found which fitted the levels of: severe difficulty, high stress, unable to return to original country and easily return to the original culture lifestyle, typical behaviors, etc., revealed that this 'condition' applied to both the working partner and the accompanying spouse. In some cases it was just one partner, and in some cases it was both partners.

 

The thesis prompted me to arrange some deeper senior level internal discussion in my company on this subject and it became policy to have a discussion* (both partners present) at the end of each year in a new posting to note what the partners were thinking about the ultimate future; return to original home country when the assignment was completed, or company find some way to continue / redirect the assignment purpose abroad in the 'new' country, look for another posting within the same region (somewhere within Asia, within Sth. America, within Eastern Europe, etc.) Ultimately, some expat partners indicated to stay within the same region. In reality this was a win-win, expat partners happy and a bonus for the company.

 

  • * The discussion was led by an expat (preferably the CEO, or another quite senior manager). The HR manager was present and had to quite quickly present a summary of the discussion to the CEO. If the HR manager was also an expat the summary was usually well balanced and realistic. If the HR manager was a local (e.g. Thai HR manager) then on most occasions the CEO had to adjust the report so that it was realistic). Bottom line - it was obvious that local HR managers just didn't understand the subject area. When the report was signed off by the CEO a copy was sent to the company HR office in the HO in the US, this office had international HR responsibilities.

 

The bigger broader picture, my company, like many MNCs had regular problems with expat 'failure' on first overseas posting, in most cases this was because the spouse just couldn't settle and wanted / desperately wanted to 'go home'.

 

Company policy in such cases was to terminate the posting as quickly as possible to relieve the family problems involved and get the expat back to being productive elsewhere (probably at home) and to quickly refill the post abroad. The company didn't sanction the expat who went home early except that no further posts abroad were offered. 

 

 

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I really think it comes down to money.  If you want to leave Thailand i.e. you no longer wish to live in Thailand (for whatever reason), then so long as you have the money to start a new life in your country it shouldn't be too difficult.  If you don't want to leave Thailand however, but are somehow forced to leave then I think adjusting to life back home could be kinda tough!

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4 hours ago, markaoffy said:

“Fit in and alligned to English culture “ would be the easiest part of moving back ! One thing I’ve never done (only parts I had to) is be part of or engage in Thai culture !


Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

you are missing out on one of the greatest joys and most interesting parts of being here... at least for me... not sure why you might be here otherwise?? Sort of like going for a day at a waterpark if you hate getting wet... 

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The only way I can see of going back to Australia would be to purchase a motorhome. All other forms of abode are too expensive.

Hopefully health issues won't drive me back there.

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14 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

The only way I can see of going back to Australia would be to purchase a motorhome. All other forms of abode are too expensive.

Hopefully health issues won't drive me back there.

You could also rent a place, rather then buy one.

 

 

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Our family uprooted and moved back to Australia so the children could get a better education and have more choice in their futures. My wife and I intend move back later to resume retirement and a care free existence (assuming Thailand is still livable for farang), later on. Returning has only confirmed my fears that Australia has lost the lifestyle and freedoms I enjoyed as a boy growing up and I don't like where it's heading - the 'lucky country' is fast becoming a sterile place to exist. I suppose everyone has individual wants and needs but I feel, for me at least, navigating Thailand's imperfections and quirks are something I want to spend my retirement doing....just to make it interesting.

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5 hours ago, z42 said:

Couldn't do it. The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control for everything.

And that is before you add in the dire weather to the mix.

Asia is where its at, all the comforts of home, and moee, but without all the BS.

 

I couldn't think of even 1 reason to go back there

Couldn't do it. The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control for everything.

 

getting a bit like that here in Bkk Phuket and Pattaya

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26 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

The only way I can see of going back to Australia would be to purchase a motorhome. All other forms of abode are too expensive.

Hopefully health issues won't drive me back there.

If Thailand plans don't work out for Mrs Rasi and I, we've discussed the same as an option. Sell the house and become nomads. ?

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Here's a cautionary tale which might get a few potential returnees thinking. . . 

 

A pal of mine in his eighties who has been resident in Thailand for many years recently announced that he was returning to the UK on a permanent basis. He reckoned it was affordable and he wanted to spend more time with his family, particularly his grandchildren who he only got to see once a year when he flew back to Blighty for a few weeks' holiday.

 

I tried to point out some of the cons as well as the pros, just in case he hadn't thought of them. He clearly had, but his mind was made up. As I rather wistfully waved him farewell and bon voyage, he was in high spirits and clearly relishing the prospect of a new life in the old country.

 

I heard nothing from him for a week or two and left him alone, assuming (correctly, as it turned out) that he was having a hectic time catching up with friends and relatives and organising the nuts and bolts of his new life.

 

Then suddenly, out of the blue, came an email announcing he was coming back to live in Thailand. You could have knocked me and his other pals down with a feather. He didn't go into the reasons and I waited until we were celebrating his return with dinner at our favourite restaurant to satisfy my curiosity.

 

He listed a few problems which on their own weren't game changers: the reality that he would only be able to see his family occasionally; because of work and travel problems; the difficulty of making new friends (particularly female!) and building a new social life; the thought of enduring those long, cold winter months. Plus, of course, the higher cost of living.

 

Individually, all of these drawbacks were manageable. But in combination they were enough to shatter his dream of forging a happy new life in his former homeland.

 

My friend's disappointed family urged him to try for a few months before getting back on the plane to LOS, and I said I thought they may have a point. After all he had been away less than eight weeks. But he was admant that he had made the right choice. "I knew after eight days," he said, "that I would rather be in Thailand."

 

After two decades of living in the most volatile,  intriguing,  mixed-up, delightful, infuriating, contradictory and utterly endearing country in South-East Asia, what could I say but, "Me, too"?

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Reverse culture shock is right on the money. Thai culture Vs western culture is vastly different. I always felt like an outsider looking in at my life back in the states and in Europe. Had a family but was never close to them. 

 

My first time meeting Thai people was on my flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok. I will never forget them and how nice, friendly, and warm they were. I even went to JJ with one of the attendants. Being in Thailand for only a couple of days, for the first time, I felt like I was home. I felt more at home with thai strangers Than I had in many years in the states. We saw each other maybe twice a year. Christmas and thanksgiving. 

In eight years, I have only been back once. To sell EVERYTHING and never go back. It was one of the longest months of my life. 

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a long time ago a pal who lives in California said: 'you're a dinosaur tutsi...ain't no way you'd ever fit in back here if you wanted to return...don't delude yerself for yer own sake...'

 

I manage things here in rural SE Asia OK...so who wantsta?...

 

 

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5 hours ago, z42 said:

Couldn't do it. The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control for everything.

And that is before you add in the dire weather to the mix.

Asia is where its at, all the comforts of home, and moee, but without all the BS.

 

I couldn't think of even 1 reason to go back there

Camra bitter, Hollands steak puds, there's 2. But agree with you, I will never go back for more than a month's holiday, that's if they'll let me in after Brexit!

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I can tell you from hard experience that going home is easier said than done. Don’t leave it till the last minute, make sure your lights are working, and even if it’s a familiar route, one more for the road won’t make it easier or safer.

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6 hours ago, z42 said:

Couldn't do it. The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control for everything.

Really is nonsense.. Most everything i want is cheaper in the UK. 

 

Two years ago I decided to restart businesses back in the west as I was stagnating in my 40s after almost 2 decades in Thailand.. 

I have set up a home in UK (and NL and partly one in Ireland) and restarted a western life in the spring and summer times. My cost of living in UK is really no more than my cost of living in Thailand while enjoying much higher quality of things (clothes, cars, toys, hobbys, home stuff) and making a multi 100k per annum income, which makes it less than free in terms of my savings / wealth effect. 

Summer months in UK, goodwood festival of speed, autosport events, music events, day at the geegee's (horse races) just so much to do.. Last year I did my paraglider training, I am signing up next year for a springtime batch of sailplane pilot lessons, theres simply a head spinning amount of things I can be active with which are simply impractical or impossible in asia at any price. Supermarkets, clothing, shoes, cars, electronics, etc etc etc are not only cheaper are FAR better quality. 

I love my life in asia also, dirtbiking in the mountains, camping national parks, time at the beach, my dog and 'home' with the wife.. But 4 - 6 months a year is enough before I end up in a cycle of boredom and hangovers. It will probably be ok when I am slowing down and want to watch the garden grow, but the constant expat whining about the deterioration of the west is simply old man bias confirmation to reinforce their choices. 
 

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1 hour ago, jak2002003 said:

You could also rent a place, rather then buy one.

 

 

Not anywhere near a capital city, rents are just too expensive. A month's rent in Thailand will only stretch to one week in Australia.

Rents will be cheaper in towns that are dying; however, they are dying because they are losing services which one then has to drive a long way to access.

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2 hours ago, mstevens said:

If you don't want to leave Thailand however, but are somehow forced to leave then I think adjusting to life back home could be kinda tough!

Sure if they for some reason want to stay in Thailand, but dont have funds and are another one of the bones of thier arse expats.. They will constantly look at the new situation in a negative light. 

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I consider Thailand to be my home. England has no appeal for me what so ever. Living in any country means you need to adapt to that countries way of life. I have found that to be pretty easy in Thailand but maybe that is because for more than half my life  living and working overseas so for me it is just a routine thing to assimilate to the country I am in.

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Greetings Viewers.....

An interesting topic,as i have lived more than 25 years of my life abroad.20 years in Spain and then 5 years in Thailand.I am not the typical Brit ( although speak with a Radio 2 accent ..) and i have always become part of the real life wherever i have lived.My biggest worry was to ever move back to the UK knowing that i would never fit in,and it would be like " Living on Mars ".But i did move back to the UK about 3 years ago.It was not easy at all,nobody could understand how you felt.You will all be " delighted " to hear that i an fine now! ( well almost..) no i do not fit in completely and probably never will.I spend everyday of the year outside walking ( as i have always done ) i have found that many Brits seem to work a 9 to 5 and then just gaze at the T.V for hours ( to me that just seems a waste of life) I enjoy life again,grab Ryanair £20 flight seats now and again and have a break,take photos etc.But i just seem to have a different view on life than many of the people that surround me.I like to have a laugh everyday as i have always done as life is short.But moving back to the UK can be done but believe me it takes time.......

Mr M ( Living on Mars ) x

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7 hours ago, z42 said:

The UK is an absolute monster in terms of rules, regulations, and prices that are spiralling out of control

I've followed several threads from expats who have gone back to the UK for various reasons.  The main one being health followed by the financial problem caused by the shrinking pound.

One of the common reports are that apart from accommodation and 'eating out', returning expats were quite amazed at how much cheaper it is than Thailand.  Even a large Chang can be bought cheaper in the UK than here!!

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2 minutes ago, HHTel said:

 

One of the common reports are that apart from accommodation and 'eating out', returning expats were quite amazed at how much cheaper it is than Thailand.  Even a large Chang can be bought cheaper in the UK than here!!

Are they forgetting the council tax, utility bills, internet charges, parking charges, road tax and other taxes, parking fees, phone bills, water bills, hair cuts, public transport prices and the rest of the list?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, HHTel said:

One of the common reports are that apart from accommodation and 'eating out', returning expats were quite amazed at how much cheaper it is than Thailand.  Even a large Chang can be bought cheaper in the UK than here!!

Yes it CAN be cheaper, but the reality is you have to search for the cheap items, rather than just find them anywhere. To use your beer example, a pint of IPA beer in most local pubs round my way costs from £3.50 - £5. In Weatherspoons (the exception) it's £1.99. So choice is limited to 1 out of 20 pubs if I want the economy. Obviously "up to me" but just putting some balance on it. 

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1 minute ago, jak2002003 said:

Are they forgetting the council tax, utility bills, internet charges, parking charges, road tax and other taxes, parking fees, phone bills, water bills, hair cuts, public transport prices and the rest of the list?

 

 

I agree.  However that was the underlying statement from a number of people.  My half Thai daughter is included in that.  She's 20 years old and has been back in the UK (London) for 2 years.  Also my son who is in his 30's who also returned to the UK after living here for 12 years.

I can't comment personally as I've not tried it.  I can only repeat what those that have done it are saying. 

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