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What if you're not "happier abroad"?

Discuss dating, relationships and foreign women.

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What if you're not "happier abroad"?

Postby emh » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:03 pm

You know there's that saying "wherever you go, there you are". That's kind of how I'm feeling. I've tried living in the philippines, colombia and peru. Never lasted for more than 3-4 months in any of those places. On the one hand, in each place, I was pretty easily able to find an attractive quality girlfriend. Something I've rarely been able to do in the US. But ultimately I couldn't cope with living outside the US - the language barrier, the chaos of 3rd world cities, the lack of entertainment options besides movies and drinking, not having a car to get around in, etc. Granted I wasn't working in any of those places so I probably had too much time on my hands. I also never made any friends in those place...it was just my girlfriend and I, no one else. So while I had a girlfriend, I definitely wasn't "happier abroad". I was just as miserable as I often found myself back in the US.

So I don't know. Having a girlfriend is great but if that's all I've got, I've found it's not enough. Anyway, I'm at a bit of a transition point in my life and can't figure out what to do. I spent most of 2011 outside the US, came back around thanksgiving to visit family and friends. Was planning on settling down in the US till reality hit. Despite all my education I have a "Swiss cheese resume" and little career prospects at this point. And of course, my chances of finding an american girlfriend are limited. And I don't want to keep going through trying to find someone in the US and failing. So then I think about going back overseas. I have plenty of money in the bank so that's not an issue. But then I start thinking about how frustrating it is to live outside the US. I don't know. Maybe I just haven't found the right girlfriend or the right foreign country. Anyone have any thoughts or experience with this?
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Postby onezero4u » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:43 pm

hmmm maybe you could stay overseas & try to find a gringo friend or two as your link to the US culture...

btw...take some language lessons to acclimate....its very stressful being illiterate.
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Postby Falcon » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:19 am

As I have emphasized in other threads, simply having a girl in your life isn't going to turn your life around 180 degrees. You need to truly enjoy the local culture as well. The Philippines and Peru are saturated with fascinating ethnic groups, cuisines, languages, music, history, architecture, geological wonders, and so on and so on. If you had explored those things as well, maybe with your girlfriend, you wouldn't have been bored and miserable.

For instance, see my trip report on Mexico http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/view ... hp?t=12355 . If I were to live in Latin America long-term as you've had, I would definitely try to explore the people, places, and culture as much as possible, and at least get a part-time job, volunteer, or study at a local school, to name some of the possible options. I would still do so even if I had a lot of money in the bank, because you really need to keep yourself at least somewhat busy so that you can have a sense of purpose and be happier.

the language barrier, the chaos of 3rd world cities, the lack of entertainment options besides movies and drinking, not having a car to get around in, etc.

- Language learning should be fun. As a rule of thumb, try to learn as much of the local language before you even set foot in your target country.
- Chaos of Third World Cities: Evidently you are still thinking with an American's point of view. Try to think differently. Additionally, along with the chaos comes a lot of fun and social connectedness. Isn't ghost-town suburban America what you are trying to get away from?
- Lack of entertainment options besides movies and drinking: Isn't it the same in the U.S.? I never do those things either in the U.S. or abroad. I constantly explore, meet new folks, and am occupied by productive hobbies. Hiking, reading, language learning, playing musical instruments, getting to know new friends better, etc.
- Live close to downtown and take public transportation.

I also never made any friends in those place...it was just my girlfriend and I, no one else.

That should be one of the main points of going abroad - to make new friends!
Last edited by Falcon on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby emh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:25 am

Yeah, for some reason I've never been able to make ex-pat friends while living abroad. Maybe cause I'm not really a bar/drinking type of person.

As for the language, my spanish is intermediate but communication is still frustrating. My cousin lived in Chile for 14 years, and her spanish was fluent enough that she translated scientific papers from spanish into english. She recently returned to the US and told me that she will never live in a non-english speaking country again. So even for her, the language barrier was too much.

I don't know, maybe I'm just not adaptable enough to live in another country. Obviously lots of people struggle with it so I know I'm not alone.
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Postby emh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:35 am

Thanks Falcon. I was volunteering in the philippines and studying spanish in colombia but those only took up about 10 hours per week. Definitely not enough!

I hear you about the fun and social connectedness. At least theoretically. One of the reasons I originally left the US was cause it seemed like people in other countries put more emphasis on friendships. But for some reason, I just haven't had much success making friends in other countries. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing some secret that other people have. :) Maybe I'm too much of an introvert. Hard to say.

As for hobbies, I remember when I was living in Mexico, staying with a family and they asked me what my hobbies were. I listed several and the woman of the house responded "those things aren't very popular here".
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Postby E_Irizarry » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:23 am

emh wrote:Yeah, for some reason I've never been able to make ex-pat friends while living abroad. Maybe cause I'm not really a bar/drinking type of person.

As for the language, my spanish is intermediate but communication is still frustrating. My cousin lived in Chile for 14 years, and her spanish was fluent enough that she translated scientific papers from spanish into english. She recently returned to the US and told me that she will never live in a non-english speaking country again. So even for her, the language barrier was too much.

I don't know, maybe I'm just not adaptable enough to live in another country. Obviously lots of people struggle with it so I know I'm not alone.


The worst people to befriend ARE EX-PATS 8 times out of 10. You are better off having a local friend afar from any cognizance of the Anglosphere.

I had been jumped once by 6 Aussies in a non-Anglosphere country while they were pissy-drunk. I was called pejoratives by Colorado Springs prick after he was intoxicated with Singh Thai beer in BKK (Bangkok, Thailand, SE Asia) for no apparent reason whatsoever. I had an Afro-Dutch dude steal a Thai BBW from me (that was primarily interested in me) while they were in Bangkok while I was renewing my visa at the Thai-Cambodian border over that weekend. He promised to my face that he doesn't take any man's p***y from him; LOL - Lying ass! And I met who was cool at the time,a Brit ex-pat at the hostel we were staying at. I was lied to about going with a British dude to his place in Hong Kong to spend the summer only so that he wanted me to experience HK's culture only to find out he had left once I didn't see him at the hostel anymore after a week had transpired. Good thing I didn't buy the ticket for that!!
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Postby ladislav » Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:21 am

A quick note- you will be more fulfilled if you use your money to do something in the local community when you go there. The best times of my life were when I was in India buying books for the local school.
You will never be fully happy if you only think about yourself. As in NEVER.
See how you can contribute to the place where you live to change people's lives there.
Just be aware of scammers and those who prey on your compassion to relieve you of your cash.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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Postby emh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:34 am

ladislav wrote:A quick note- you will be more fulfilled if you use your money to do something in the local community when you go there. The best times of my life were when I was in India buying books for the local school.
You will never be fully happy if you only think about yourself. As in NEVER.
See how you can contribute to the place where you live to change people's lives there.
Just be aware of scammers and those who prey on your compassion to relieve you of your cash.


Dead on man, you're right. For one thing, I've been focusing WAY too much on myself the past 1-2 months. I've been struggling through a major life decision and everything's been about me lately.

Anyway, when I went to Latin America last year, my original plan was to set up some sort of non-profit to benefit poor kids. But I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do and I really don't know the first thing about setting up a non-profit. So I never really did anything with the idea. Then I started dating this girl in Peru and got busy spending time with her and just didn't have time.
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Postby Taco » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:34 am

The biggest problem I have when I leave North America is dealing with a lower standard of living. Generally speaking, everything in Canada and the US is the best in world with the exception of the dating/social scene.

One recommendation I will make is don't leave home without a laptop, it will save you from going insane if your struggling with culture shock or home sickness. You can easily stay in touch with all your friends and pets with skype and e-mail. Also, if you can't speak the local language you can always go online and read your favorite blog or forum to keep your mind occupied. Also, if your able to keep doing your favorite hobbies when your abroad it helps a lot.

Finding a climate that you feel comfortable in is also important. I really struggle with the high heat and humidity of Southeast Asia and tend lose all my electrolytes when I sweat excessively. In addition, cloudy weather seems to have a negative effect on my mood which is common in Europe.

This should take care of your "swiss cheese resume"

Fake Job References Service
http://careerexcuse.com/
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Postby emh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:21 am

Taco wrote:The biggest problem I have when I leave North America is dealing with a lower standard of living. Generally speaking, everything in Canada and the US is the best in world with the exception of the dating/social scene.

One recommendation I will make is don't leave home without a laptop, it will save you from going insane if your struggling with culture shock or home sickness. You can easily stay in touch with all your friends and pets with skype and e-mail. Also, if you can't speak the local language you can always go online and read your favorite blog or forum to keep your mind occupied. Also, if your able to keep doing your favorite hobbies when your abroad it helps a lot.

Finding a climate that you feel comfortable in is also important. I really struggle with the high heat and humidity of Southeast Asia and tend lose all my electrolytes when I sweat excessively. In addition, cloudy weather seems to have a negative effect on my mood which is common in Europe.

This should take care of your "swiss cheese resume"

Fake Job References Service
http://careerexcuse.com/


Yeah, I definitely have a laptop with me when I travel. Though I'm a bit of an addict and I do find that I spend lots of mindless time surfing the web, rather than meeting people, learning the language, etc. So it can be a barrier as well.

Thanks for the fake job reference service. Looks interesting.

So if SE Asia and Europe don't work for you, then where do you hang?
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Postby emh » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:35 am

I've also been thinking about the last place I tried to settle down which was Lima, Peru. I was thinking about how other people reacted to the city. Just some examples:

1) There was this American female who married a local and spent 5-6 years living in Lima. She absolutely hated it. Eventually she was able to get a job in Korea and she's much happier.

2) On the other hand, I met an Australian hostel owner who absolutely loves Lima.

3) Same for a guy from Canada. He works from home and speaks a lot less spanish then I do. And yet he seems really content in Lima.

4) I knew this girl from Germany who came to Lima to volunteer. At first, she absolutely hated Lima. But her last week there, she met a local guy and fell in love. Now she can't wait to go back so she can be with him. By the end she was really enjoying Lima.

So what do I take from this? The first person tells me that sometimes you just have to be in the "right place". The second and third person tell me that attitude matters. The fourth person tells me that if you meet the right person your perception of a place can change.

So I think part of my problem adapting was probably having a "bad attitude". Part of it might have been not meeting the right person for me, someone whom I'd be willing to stay for. Finally, it's also possible that I just wasn't in the right place for me.
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Postby chileanueva » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:51 am

You didn't enjoy living abroad...

1.) Because you're broke as f**k

2.) You didn't learn the local language

3.) You made no friends

4.) You didn't do the research

5.) Stop whining bitch you got some hot young foreign p***y


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Postby Winston » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:26 pm

ladislav wrote:A quick note- you will be more fulfilled if you use your money to do something in the local community when you go there. The best times of my life were when I was in India buying books for the local school.
You will never be fully happy if you only think about yourself. As in NEVER.
See how you can contribute to the place where you live to change people's lives there.
Just be aware of scammers and those who prey on your compassion to relieve you of your cash.


I wouldn't agree with that. I'm happy when I do things for myself. Not everyone derives happiness out of helping others. I feel happy when I help others by spreading knowledge and awareness, like I do with this site and movement, but not in doing basic charity work. Mundane stuff like that has no meaning for me.

Check out these chapters in this ebook "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" which contain airtight logical arguments about how you will never find happiness or freedom if you feel that you always have to help others or change the world:

Ebook download:
http://www.happierabroad.com/Freedom.pdf

Chapters to read:
The Unselfishness Trap
The Utopia Trap
The Burning-Issue Trap

Read those chapters and you'll see they make so much sense.

emh,
Maybe you are hanging out in countries that are not intellectual. Try going to Europe, or at least Eastern Europe. Or maybe even Russia. Those cultures are very intellectual and have rich interesting culture.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Taco » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:44 pm

emh wrote: The fourth person tells me that if you meet the right person your perception of a place can change.


I think this is very true. If you don't make at least one local friend in your new country its going to be really hard for you to stay there.
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Postby Contrarian Expatriate » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:13 pm

I'm not sure why you chose those three countries, but you did not choose well.

I've extensive experience in Peru and Colombia they are grossly over-hyped when I compare them to other regions of the world. Guys tend to gush about them because they can get lucky there, but big whup. Local conquests does not an new home make.

The Philippines is a place I have not been, BUT some love it there and some hate it there.

In my opinion, you need to start from square one and choose better locations based on research and your own personal experiences. Get out in the larger world and explore until you find the vibe that suits you.
Feel free to visit my sites and to leave your respected words of wisdom:

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