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Beginning in 2016, I will have complete freedom to travel wherever I want for a while. I will not need a job in these places and will likely not settle long-term.
Here are my stats:
I have money to travel wherever and do whatever (for a while)
I also have access to every US military facility overseas
I've been to a few countries already. Philippines is too much of a shithole for me and the food sucks. Thailand is better with good food, but I don't really like the women. South America has a sketchy feel to it and I don't know Spanish.
I'm thinking Japan, since I could spend time around the bases there (there are 3).
What do you guys think?
Depends if women are your main goal or not. If you want the party scenes then of course stay in the big cities. I haven't been enough places yet to give you advice on where the best spots are for single white guys.
If you are like me, I enjoy off the beaten path enclaves that produce the wow factor when asked where you have been. Adventures and experiences are more valuable to me than sluts, though I'd be lying in saying women don't matter at all on trips.
Here's my list if I were you:
1) Bhutan (since Nepal is now in ruins)
2) Tanzania (Mt. Kiliminjaro)
3) China (history)
5) Brazil (Amazon fishing)
If you are white with blue/green eyes and are attracted to mixed latinas or more indigenous looking girls you could check out Peru. It is ideal for a shorter guy like yourself IMHO (you will be still be taller than the average Peruvian guy who is like 5'5) and the food is the best in South-America.
Yes, you have to be a little careful there (lots of robberies) but if you stay in safe areas you should be fine. I recommend the upscale areas of Lima: Miraflores, Barranco,San Isidro, etc. You will almost feel like you are in a first world city in those places (the rest of Lima is more 3rd world though).
Lots of things to see and do in Peru as well (Machu Picchu, jungle, nice beaches in the north, etc.)
Nightlife is also a lot of fun in Peru if you are into that. Downside is that, yes, you will have to learn at least some Spanish unless you only date more upper middle class women who usually know English.
Maverick if you don't want to learn Spanish, you'll have an even harder time with Japanese. If you don't want to learn any language then you're stuck with the Philippines. I think the right question to start with is how much do you want to integrate into a place? There is such a thing as being a lonely expatriate in paradise, which is what will happen if you don't talk to anyone.
A lot of travelers are of the fast food type. They want to travel, but don't take time getting to know the country, choosing instead to try greasy sodium-filled touristy option as they go. It takes a really long time (years) to really get to know a country and be successful there, whether it's dating the women or being able to live there successfully. This involves dedication and an open mind to try new things, learn the culture, and the language. Especially the language. Like I said before, you can spend your entire lifetime in one country and not be able to fully explore it.
I am a terrible person.
I'm a young-ish professional (and soon to be military vet). Spent a lot of time building a career and have a solid education. So staying abroad really isn't an option for me. I'd have to give up fairly lucrative job prospects and it's not something that I really want to do (anymore).
So I'm pretty much just looking to visit.
Plus, I'm terrible at learning languages. I would absolutely do it if I lived in a foreign country though.
I would strongly suggesting going with Japan then. Japan is known for having the best customer service in the world. If you don't speak their language they will go out of their way to accommodate you as a tourist. You won't have any problems walking into stores or restaurants to get what you need. You're much more likely to find Japanese who speak English than for instance Mexicans who speak English. Also Japanese will try practicing their English with you on subways and stuff because they are studious. In this respect Japan is much better than latin America, where people will make no accommodation for you whatsoever because they're too lazy. Japan is also better than the rest of Asia in this respect, definitely avoid China.
You can just move to a country without knowing the language. I've been in Spain for 3 months now but I've never studied Spanish. My Spanish is still terrible. I just get by because you just need to pick up the most frequently used words, plus I can read a lot as a lot of words are similar to French/English/Latin.
I've observed a lot of people in my language school, the best conversationalists are those who just go out and talk to Spanish people. I'd have no idea how to do that, hence I am way better at learning how to read a foreign language.
There are some great Spanish speakers in my school, but their secret is they've been learning for years.
Yeah, if you don't know a language you can always join a language school in the country you want to visit. It is also a good way to build a social circle and make friends/meet girls.
I have to disagree a bit here. In my experience people in Latin America LOVE to speak English. Sure, it is perhaps hard to find people who speak a lot of it (depending on the country of course) but those that do know some English love to speak it with a "gringo". In some countries, like Peru, speaking English is seen as "cool". Of course this may depend on the country you visit not all Latin American countries are the same.
I think there's a caveat to this. While Spanish speakers are more likely to talk to you in any language, since they're warm and friendly, what they say may be useless. I had plenty of people interact with me on a basic level, but the burden of translation was on me. I definitely think latin culture is the easiest culture in the world to learn a language and immerse yourself in, but it's not a place I'd go if I was in survival mode for a short trip. If the OP takes a wrong turn in latin America it can get nasty, a wrong turn in Japan is pretty harmless.
Chibolo, here in Ensenada the portion of the upper class (a fraction of them) that has spent time in the US loves to show off their English. But I still think DRealm has the main point right. MOST people speak NO English, and are shy about "reaching out" to a stranger. They are sort of the opposite of "busibodies", minding their own business, and not eager to go out of their way. If I didn't speak my Monster-of-Frankenstein Spanish with all the charm I can muster, it would be hard to get A LOT of things done. And on a couple of occasions over 18 months I have STILL needed a translator - when renting a house, and at a particularly obtuse public utility company.
I think Japan does sound like the better choice for this young man. The clincher is that he is not looking to settle down. Visiting Japan sounds like a dream. Assimilation difficulty is irrelevant. Plus he has his "network" there in the form of US military.
"Pick a point and go to it."
-- Dr John Hunsucker, speaking about canoeing on Georgia's Lake Lanier, with its irregular shape, and 1000 miles of meandering shoreline
Based on what you have and where you don't want to go OP, why not try Europe? You could go through a lot of countries, and if you didn't like a place, you could move on through since you have money. And you said you are good looking, which would be a per-requisite for success there. Or in Western Europe anyway.
A helpful guide:
Expatriation Apocalypse! The Guide to Expatriation for the Broke and Hopeless (Kindle)
Expatriation Apocalypse! (Paperback)
Yeah, I agree. The OP will have to learn Spanish if he wants to meet people in Latin America. However, like I said, if the OP is interested in Latin America he could join a language school where he learns Spanish for a couple of months, while making friends/meeting girls in the process. These schools will often also offer you a place to stay, show you around, keep you safe etc. Lots of people who don't know Spanish do this. Here is a good one in Peru:
Of course the OP will need to stay in the country for a while to do this. If the OP only wants to take a short trip then this won't be an option. He could still travel to Latin America without knowing Spanish if he sticks to tourist areas (where lots of people speak English) however it will be hard to meet women except for the "gringo hunters" and semi-hookers who hang out in tourist bars (they usually speak English).
Last edited by chibolo on Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I wouldn't recommend Western-Europe for a shorter guy like the OP. He could still do well of course, but he will be at a disadvantage especially in countries where people are really tall on average like the Netherlands or Germany (I am from Western Europe btw (Belgium)). That was why I recommended Peru, because people are short there and the women don't care about height as much (lots of very short guys there with cute girls).
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