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NOT Happier Abroad - USA really better?

What's your story? Discussions your reasons for going abroad.

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NOT Happier Abroad - USA really better?

Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:42 pm

Looks like not everyone will agree the pastures overseas are greener after trying out life abroad. Here is a recent Stickman Post by a young American man who developed a US$10K per month income source from his online business and then decided to relocate abroad. But after a year in Phuket, Thailand, he concluded that the US is a much better place to live.

This is my first ever Stick submission after having lived in Thailand for a year. I love all of the submissions you guys do and your weekly column, Stick. You guys have amused me, made me think critically, let me learn from your mistakes and have given me a wide range of perspectives. I really appreciate it and all of those thoughts will really help me through my life. Anyway, in response to Tim:

I'm a 25 year old from Oregon and I moved to Phuket a year ago. I am in a somewhat different situation than you in that I work over the internet and make good money (10k USD/month). Thus, I haven't given up my financial security by leaving the USA. All of my success in life comes from the USA - and this doesn't come from some crazed patriot. I really dislike some things about our country (namely foreign policy), but as far as personal freedoms and maximum opportunities, I think home is impossible to beat. I've met countless expats living in Thailand now and my observation is that *none* of them make their money from Thailand. If they are actually making money out here it is usually a very small amount. The guys who do well for themselves get their money from outside the country. It has been a year and I haven't met a single westerner that I felt was actually "successful" in Thailand. Now obviously I am sure there are a couple that are, but think of what this means in terms of your odds of "making it" out here. They certainly aren't good.

You and I had similar work situations. I worked in the cubicle world of accounting right out of college. I hated studying accounting in college but told myself the money was so important and figured it was a means to an end. When I finished school I also hated my job and loathed going in every morning. And like your situation, I could tell that so many people in the office also hated their work and their lives... they'd often leave Friday with a significant amount of "crazy" in their eyes, like they really just hated the world. A few of my friends still lead this life style and it certainly doesn't seem to be getting any better for them. I worked my ass off in a job... and then was laid off at the peak of the recession when my firm lost 30% of their clients in a couple months. I remember when I walked out the door of that gaudy office for the last time, and this is no hyperbole at all, that I felt like I was a free man walking out of prison. This should have been one of the most miserable days of my life - I had just lost a job that I worked in school for years to be qualified for. But interestingly enough this was hands down one of the happiest of my life. Kind of backwards, right? I now know that I'll never even consider working like that again - I'd rather flip burgers into my 70s if I have to and it's not even close.

Anyway, what exactly am I getting at? Maybe you should think this through a bit more fully. We all hear the idea, "find the root cause of your problems, don't just treat the symptoms". Now think about this and read your submission to Stick again. What is your big take away, that 1: "Man I love Thailand so much and I can't wait to get back" or 2: "God I hate my work and I'd rather kill myself than continuing down that path". I think it is pretty clear that your problems don't lie with your country... they lie with your career choice. So fix that part of your life before you do anything as drastic as moving to Thailand on a whim. There are other a ton of great opportunities in America and working for a big company is no longer one of them. People talk about how big companies screw us over all the time now - well guess what, don't feed into their game and accept their underpaid, overworking job. Leave. If you're legitimately smart, and based on what you wrote I'd bet that you are, you will find that there are ways to make even more money than you were before with a fraction of the work. You can also give up that materialistic lifestyle - I didn't miss my new car at all once I sold it. Guess what? Nobody really cares what kind of car you drive. That quote from Fight Club is so true, "The things that you own end up owning you." Instead of frantically spending your money, stick it in the bank. You'll be amazed at the type of freedom you will feel that you finally have once you accomplish this.

As far as coming to Thailand... well I hate to confirm it for you, but yes that will be a complete dead end. There isn't anything out here. I leave in 2 days after spending a year out here. The Thailand you saw doesn't give an accurate picture of what it is really like out here. My eyes have slowly been opening after a year out here. I don't claim to fully understand the country... but I understand it enough to tell you that the USA is far and away a better place to be. I might come back here - because unlike you I do enjoy the bar scene, it is pretty much the only up side to the country IMO - but I don't think I'd ever plan on setting up permanent residence here. That would be one of the most illogical conclusions a person could make unless they have already "finished life" and by that I mean they are done having kids and are retired from work. Instead, quit your job and go find a way to make your life in the USA happy. Thailand won't make you happy... it might trick you into thinking that for a short while, but really listen to what the guys here are telling you and avoid that life pitfall.
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Postby pete98146 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:12 pm

That's a fantastic post Rock!! I also read a lot of Stickman's body of work. It's interesting that he often speaks of the love/hate relationship that many expats seem to have with Thailand. There is an understanding that once the novelty of the bar scene wears off (and yes it does wear off at some point in time), you are left in a land where the women will go out of their way to avoid the farang. It would seem that loneliness is the biggest problem that an expat would encounter living in Thailand.

Compare and contrast this with Philippines where you would have the opposite problem. A guy would literally trip over lovely and available women but Phils lacks infrastructure and many places are a real shit hole.

So why not bring a cute filipina and retire in Thailand? Why not have the best of both worlds. I contend that I'll be happy wherever I live as long as I have my lovely wife by my side.
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Postby Rock » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:44 pm

pete98146 wrote:That's a fantastic post Rock!! I also read a lot of Stickman's body of work. It's interesting that he often speaks of the love/hate relationship that many expats seem to have with Thailand. There is an understanding that once the novelty of the bar scene wears off (and yes it does wear off at some point in time), you are left in a land where the women will go out of their way to avoid the farang. It would seem that loneliness is the biggest problem that an expat would encounter living in Thailand.

Compare and contrast this with Philippines where you would have the opposite problem. A guy would literally trip over lovely and available women but Phils lacks infrastructure and many places are a real shit hole.

So why not bring a cute filipina and retire in Thailand? Why not have the best of both worlds. I contend that I'll be happy wherever I live as long as I have my lovely wife by my side.


Well the PI, its people, and women are currently being debated on some other threads. Some of the guys seem disillusioned with the situation there.

Personally, I still have a lot of research ahead of me including an extended trip to Cebu to gauge how much typical women really do like or dislike us westerners. So far, from my brief travels to Makati, Angeles, and Subic Bay area, I have felt that I have a bigger social and dating handicap as a westerner in some parts of China than in the PI. But, I really need to spend a lot more time, both in PI and China, to update my experiences and get a more accurate picture. Things always seem to change so fast in Asia.
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Postby rome86 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:15 pm

that is why ladislav said that to enjoy a perfect life ..you need to combine countries .. you work and invest in capitalist/successful countries but your social life is based in socialist/less developed countries .. well just prepare yourself to travel a lot at least until you can retire.... business men travel all the time , it is not something new.
I am 25 for now i am studying in the us for me countries like USA-canada-australia-singapore are only investment grounds.... but I will never raise a family in those countries... i prefer countries like brazil-philippines-colombia-latin countries for social venture .... See we live in global village now
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Postby pete98146 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:46 pm

Rock wrote:
pete98146 wrote:That's a fantastic post Rock!! I also read a lot of Stickman's body of work. It's interesting that he often speaks of the love/hate relationship that many expats seem to have with Thailand. There is an understanding that once the novelty of the bar scene wears off (and yes it does wear off at some point in time), you are left in a land where the women will go out of their way to avoid the farang. It would seem that loneliness is the biggest problem that an expat would encounter living in Thailand.

Compare and contrast this with Philippines where you would have the opposite problem. A guy would literally trip over lovely and available women but Phils lacks infrastructure and many places are a real shit hole.

So why not bring a cute filipina and retire in Thailand? Why not have the best of both worlds. I contend that I'll be happy wherever I live as long as I have my lovely wife by my side.


Well the PI, its people, and women are currently being debated on some other threads. Some of the guys seem disillusioned with the situation there.

Personally, I still have a lot of research ahead of me including an extended trip to Cebu to gauge how much typical women really do like or dislike us westerners. So far, from my brief travels to Makati, Angeles, and Subic Bay area, I have felt that I have a bigger social and dating handicap as a westerner in some parts of China than in the PI. But, I really need to spend a lot more time, both in PI and China, to update my experiences and get a more accurate picture. Things always seem to change so fast in Asia.


Rock Makati, AC and Subic are great party spots but I agree that places like Cebu or Davao would be areas to concentrate on choosing a "good" lady. My wife is from Mindinao. Don't know if it's the higher degree of spanish blood but that island sure produces some cuties. Not a bad idea to find an unspoiled province girl.

I'm always curious about trip reports from China.
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Postby Truthville » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:55 pm

Yes, I read that post also. Stickman is a daily read for me.

The thought seems to be that once the "excitement" of the bar scene and all the beautiful women wears off, the "rush" of living in a foreign country evaporates, and you are no longer wishing to be on permanant vaction time, then a expat perhaps starts noticing all the little and big things that they took for granted in their home country. I guess it depends on what you are looking for and what kind of life you want.

BTW pete98146?

Your wife is STUNNING! I'm happy that you found each other!

Does she have any unattached sisters? :D

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Postby odbo » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:04 pm

I'm a 25 year old from Oregon and I moved to Phuket a year ago.

why so much praise for a cliche creep from Oregon that's completely FULL OF SHIT ??

I really dislike some things about our country (namely foreign policy), but as far as personal freedoms and maximum opportunities, I think home is impossible to beat.

The USA is a police state. I've known this since I was in elementary school, having visited abroad. You can't so much as fart without breaking a law. I think what he means by personal freedom is being able to leave your house, drive 100 miles in your car, passing towns which all look identical to eachother, and not have to converse with a single soul. I'll relent that after Iceland, the US is hard to beat.

I am in a somewhat different situation than you in that I work over the internet and make good money (10k USD/month).

The guy's making $10,000 a month, ONLINE, and thinks he can relate to the average american/expat. Might as well have Bill Gates writing about how the US is better than Thailand for business. NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

I think it is pretty clear that your problems don't lie with your country... they lie with your career choice.

ahahHAHAHHAhahahHAHAHAH!!!


In conclusion:
This guy is full of shit and I can rip apart his asinine argument in a more thorough and less childish fashion but it really doesn't merit an intellectual response, plus I'm fed up of stupidity (wow, so accounting isn't a fun career? really!?) and feeling like a prick. I DO NOT like the culture of the Pacific north-west AT ALL. Everyone is in their own box, but at the same time it's like the borg mind and you're not allowed to be a non-conforming individual. They value privacy way too much. I can best describe it as not being a human environment. I don't think Scandinavia is anywhere near as bad as this. A person who feels at home in such a place should not be moving to Thailand or Bangladesh or wherever. This fella is still soundly asleep, I wouldn't be surprised if his next blog was about how men are the reason for all of America's problems or how germany has a better economy than banana republic-x.
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Postby MrPeabody » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:31 pm

I am currently in Bangkok. I can't talk much because I am taking the CELTA. I rented an apartment outside of the city center and commute to the school everyday. People on the skytrain look just as gloomy as people looked on the metro when I commuted to my job in Washington D.C many year ago. So, in some sense it seems the "Land of Smiles" may have turned into a marketing slogan. However, when getting to know the people and students here, I find some really nice people and they do have a grace under pressure about them. Here is my hypothesis: "Many guys go to places like Thailand seeing it as a sex paradise". I notice he mentions "bar scene" and isn't Stickman a mongering board? Ok, so they discover that mongering isn't a paradise, but rather a slow death hell. What does that have to do with Thailand?
Last edited by MrPeabody on Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby well-informed » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:32 pm

For once Linux i have to agree with you with everything you said. There's so many things in this article that me question whether this is true or not.

1. I can understand if he doesn't like Thailand enough that he would permanently live there. But to say that USA is better than foreign countries because he doesn't like to live in ONE country is absolutely stupid. Hello there's 190+ countries that you have yet to experience. Not every foreign country will be a good fit for every American.

2. Never goes into detail why he can't live in Thailand even though he loves the bar scene and we apparently don't. Talks a lot but not much substance behind his reasonings.

3. $10,000 A MONTH ONLINE. Why did he even have an accounting job in the first place, if he could make that much money online. With that much money he can live really WELL in any foreign country and yet he wants to go back to the US.

It just doesn't make any sense. Never explains Thailand's faults and the amount of money he earns online per month is kinda fishy. Why would have he applied for an accounting job if he can make more money online. This article to me is kinda sketchy
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Postby pete98146 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:17 am

Truthville wrote:Does she have any unattached sisters? :D

TruthVille


She has and elder and younger sister. All three of them met husbands and moved to the US via Cherry Blossoms...so 0/3 in the availablity department! Thanks for the compliment!
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Postby Contrarian Expatriate » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:00 am

If this guy is basing his assessment on his year in Thailand only, the he is a bigger tool than he will ever know.

It takes extensive travel to different countries and regions to develop a good fit. Thailand is not even on my radar and I've been to 70+ countries.

Thailand is a place where older western men can bed or marry younger women. Other than that, it is not known for having a culture that appeals to western men or anything else (other than good food).

It's time for this "Stickman" to move to Argentina, Romania, then Japan or Hong Kong before he gets a sense of what being an expat is really all about.

If not, move back to Oregon marry your fat nagging wife and be done with it.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:33 am

I agree with a lot of what this guy is saying, but I can't agree with his conclusions. You can see what I write about "conclusions" elsewhere. Like Contrarian mentioned, Thailand has never been a consideration for me, and the fact that this guy came to a conclusion about eh US being better from spending a year in Phuket (really Phuket?) is absolutely laughable.

With $10,000/month online he could be anywhere, even Tokyo and do quite well. He would miss nothing from his western lifestyle and if opportunity is what he seeks, he was in the wrong country to begin with. I know in my business, people don't seem to think the opportunity is in the US. I, in fact, know it isn't.

My online endeavors don't quite make $10,000 per month, but if they did, I can be certain the US is possibly the last place I would want to be with it.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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Re: NOT Happier Abroad - USA really better?

Postby momopi » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:24 am

I'm a 25 year old from Oregon and I moved to Phuket a year ago. I am in a somewhat different situation than you in that I work over the internet and make good money (10k USD/month). Thus, I haven't given up my financial security by leaving the USA. All of my success in life comes from the USA - and this doesn't come from some crazed patriot. I really dislike some things about our country (namely foreign policy), but as far as personal freedoms and maximum opportunities, I think home is impossible to beat. I've met countless expats living in Thailand now and my observation is that *none* of them make their money from Thailand. If they are actually making money out here it is usually a very small amount. The guys who do well for themselves get their money from outside the country. It has been a year and I haven't met a single westerner that I felt was actually "successful" in Thailand. Now obviously I am sure there are a couple that are, but think of what this means in terms of your odds of "making it" out here. They certainly aren't good.


Is he evaluating Thailand based on economic opportunities for an ex-pat?
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Postby TRADER1972 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:00 am

It seems obvious to me that for one reason or another, all of us here are unhappy about 1 or more aspects of life in America.

The list is long, there are many single reasons which could make a thoughtful person seek a new country or women from abroad.

So each man here will individually look at their own situation, preferences, likes and dislikes and seek out a place that will make him happier.

By sharing information with each other, we can help to find the places closer to our individual preferences.

Its all about the hierarchy of need/wants that each man has.

AW and their huge asses aside, to me the police state of America is reason enough to want to get the hell out of here. For some, that may not be much of an issue. Some men want to find a wife, some do not, some prefer Asian women, some prefer other women.

What people(not of this forum) should realize is that a country(the greatest ever) really has to be screwed up in one way or another when men seek to get away from it. All the inertia is on the side of staying put. So to go against the current means there must be some very compelling reasons. I do not know personally when I will leave but definitely I would not be here if I had 100k unless I determined it was in my sons interest education/career wise.

The fact is, this country is not conducive to enjoying life to the fullest, no matter how each of us define that.

I could give a rats ass about anyone trying to convince me about how America is better than ___________. (fill in the blank). Considering how stupid and closed minded most Americans are, its much safer to do the exact opposite of whatever the average idiot says.

Truly independent people do not follow others.
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Postby MrPeabody » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:50 pm

I have found the Thai people to be friendly. I have an apartment in a suburban Bangkok middle class gated community. I have seen several couples in the community where I live of older, white haired men and younger Thai women. They appear to be accepted, act as normal couples, and the men also have the relaxed, friendly Thai attitude. These are obviously cultured men who know how to blend into a country. The strong expectation of the culture to remain calm no matter what, has already had a calming effect on me after only one week. I find things in the culture that are interesting to me. I would love to go on one of the 20 day Vipassana meditation retreats in the south. I would like to learn Muay Thai. I taught my first class today, and have met young Thai women and many of them are extremely shy, but very nice. Meeting a decent Thai woman would be difficult unless you are interested in immersing yourself in the culture. I think that a younger man with the right motivation and interest could find a girlfriend here.
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