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A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.  (Read 7747 times)  

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2017, 01:56:00 AM »
Just think what da Vinci could have achieved if he'd ever read a book about leaving Italy.  :o

He died while living/working in France.
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Offline Doglover

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2017, 01:58:46 AM »
He died while living/working in France.
Well then; going abroad didn't do him much good, did it?


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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2017, 02:17:07 AM »
I'm a Canadian expat, living in the UK. Been here 25 years. Have a big stone circle almost in the back yard, lol. Moving never seemed very strange to me though, other than I got tons of annual leave from my UK employers! I'd been back and forth for years, had close family in the UK, and my mother, a war bride, always remained very, very British. Never lost her accent in 50 years.
For  my first ten years in the UK I did little writing at all; I was busy travelling Europe and doing 'other stuff.' I picked up my pen again in around 2003 after a serious illness.  And what was that first book about? It was a dystopian story set in an alternative-world version of my old home town in Canada! (It was a one off, though; most of my stuff is historical fiction set in the British Isles, and yeah, I do find it inspirational being able to visit churches, castles etc.)
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Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2017, 04:53:14 AM »
I'm an American who's lived abroad about half of my adult life (mostly in the Czech Republic, but also, at earlier times, in Hungary, Japan and on Taiwan) and also travelled for long periods. I highly recommend it. Most places are a lot cheaper than the US and Western Europe and especially nowadays, with coworking spaces and virtual work available everywhere and well-paying, steady jobs disappearing it makes a lot of sense. It's an awful lot easier to make the thousand or two a month it takes to live extremely well in most parts of the world than the 4 or 5 thousand it takes to live adequately in most parts of the US.

There are all sorts of other benefits for writers to both travel and living abroad. One writer friend says he has no problem picturing and writing about Victorian London slums after having traveled in India and I got great insights into what living in the sort of society most people used to live in and many still do- where goods are limited and generally not available simply for purchase- by spending a few months in Eastern Europe before 1989.

And of course if you can't or don't want to leave your own country, you can always just study a language that's really different from your own. They're each like whole other worlds to themselves.

Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2017, 05:17:18 AM »
Here's a decent tool for comparing the cost of living between where you live and where you aspire to live: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

Wow! Small world! This was actually developed by a Spaniard in our coworking space in Prague! The data is all crowdsourced, so if you want it to be more accurate just add some more prices for where you are. It's only as accurate as the number of people entering data from whatever places you want to compare.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2017, 05:42:38 AM »
I'm an American who's lived abroad about half of my adult life (mostly in the Czech Republic, but also, at earlier times, in Hungary, Japan and on Taiwan) and also travelled for long periods. I highly recommend it. Most places are a lot cheaper than the US and Western Europe and especially nowadays, with coworking spaces and virtual work available everywhere and well-paying, steady jobs disappearing it makes a lot of sense. It's an awful lot easier to make the thousand or two a month it takes to live extremely well in most parts of the world than the 4 or 5 thousand it takes to live adequately in most parts of the US.

There are all sorts of other benefits for writers to both travel and living abroad. One writer friend says he has no problem picturing and writing about Victorian London slums after having traveled in India and I got great insights into what living in the sort of society most people used to live in and many still do- where goods are limited and generally not available simply for purchase- by spending a few months in Eastern Europe before 1989.

And of course if you can't or don't want to leave your own country, you can always just study a language that's really different from your own. They're each like whole other worlds to themselves.

I am one of those irritating English people who go about the world expecting everyone to speak English. There is no cure, because wherever we go, most folk do speak English so that only encourages us. I have visited a lot of countries in earlier years, but to be honest, I don't like anything too foreign. I like places where they speak the same language and eat the same grub, so I have a particular fondness for the USA.


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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2017, 06:06:53 AM »
My whole family is still in Costa Rica. A lot of expats down there. Some make it. A lot end up leaving.

That's interesting, Alan. Do you know why so many expats end up leaving Costa Rica?

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #57 on: July 13, 2017, 06:16:50 AM »
America is as large as a huge chunk of the entire EU. Americas can travel much farther than a European would travel and still be in America. We can travel half way across the Pacific and still be in the state of Hawaii. We can travel up to the arctic and still be in the state of Alaska. It always surprises me how little Europeans know about geography. This is from an American who has traveled to over twenty countries and lived in three very comfortably. In my current city, we always wonder why the UK expats hole themselves up in pubs and taverns every night with other expats. Usually the Americans I meet are out with locals, learning the language, and getting involved with the local community.

I was born and raised in America and lived abroad for almost a decade and that's not been my experience at all. I grew up in Chicago and my grandparents lived in Clearwater and I spent three months of every year of my life until I was about fifteen in Florida. With my mother's job as a convention planner, she traveled a lot and would frequently take us with her, so I've traveled to many different states.

Yes, you can experience many different climates in America and sure, there might be some small cultural differences, but there's absolutely no comparison to the diversity of culture when you leave America and visit Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, etc.

It's also not my experience that non-American expats are always holed up in the pub or in their little enclaves. My regular expat group was evenly mixed between Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Scots, and Brits, and we often went out with the locals. I knew plenty of Americans who would never interact with the locals and only ever stayed in their apartments.

So how about we skip the generalizations? They help no one.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:10:51 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #58 on: July 13, 2017, 06:28:38 AM »
It's also not my experience that non-American expats are always holed up in the pub or in their little enclaves. My regular expat group was evenly mixed between Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Scots, and Brits, and we often went out with the locals. I knew plenty of Americans who would never interact with the locals and only ever stayed in their apartments.

So how about we skip the generalizations? They help no one.

Yep, that's been my experience too. I think it's more likely to be a product of why you are an expat in the first place. I've met people in Tokyo, Hong Kong etc who there purely because of company transfers. They have zero interest in the local culture or settling into the country. And it's totally understandable that they want to stick to their expat enclaves, especially if they've transferred through multiple countries in a short space of time.

Then you get expats who are totally obsessed with one part of the local culture to the exclusion of all else.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #59 on: July 13, 2017, 06:32:30 AM »
Because anything by Russell is worth reading...

http://russellblake.com/down-meheeco-wayyyyy/

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #60 on: July 13, 2017, 06:41:01 AM »
I was born and raised in America and lived abroad for almost a decade and that's not been my experience at all. I grew up in Chicago and my grandparents lived in Clearwater and I spent three months of every year of my life until I was about fifteen in Florida. With my mother's job as a convention planner, she traveled a lot and would frequently take us with her, so I've traveled to many different states.

Yes, you can experience many different climates in America and sure, there might be some small cultural differences, but there's absolutely no comparison to the diversity of culture when you leave America and visit Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, etc.

It's also not my experience that non-American expats are always holed up in the pub or in their little enclaves. My regular expat group was evenly mixed between Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Scots, and Brits, and we often went out with the locals. I knew plenty of Americans who would never interact with the locals and only ever stayed in their apartments.

So how about we skip the generalizations? They help no one.

It makes no difference if you disagree. You are one person. If thousands of people get sick going to a restaurant and you say "It always good for me" do you think all those people are just going to go along with you?

Give me a break. And if you think the experience in Korean is THAT different than Japan but experience from New York city to Appalachia isn't I don't know what to tell you.

Edited. PM me if you have any questions. --Betsy/KB Mod
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:10:23 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #61 on: July 13, 2017, 06:55:30 AM »
I was born and raised in America and lived abroad for almost a decade and that's not been my experience at all. I grew up in Chicago and my grandparents lived in Clearwater and I spent three months of every year of my life until I was about fifteen in Florida. With my mother's job as a convention planner, she traveled a lot and would frequently take us with her, so I've traveled to many different states.

Yes, you can experience many different climates in America and sure, there might be some small cultural differences, but there's absolutely no comparison to the diversity of culture when you leave America and visit Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, etc.

It's also not my experience that non-American expats are always holed up in the pub or in their little enclaves. My regular expat group was evenly mixed between Americans, Australians, Kiwis, Scots, and Brits, and we often went out with the locals. I knew plenty of Americans who would never interact with the locals and only ever stayed in their apartments.

I agree. We lived in four states and two places outside the US when I was growing up. Sure, there are some regional differences, but they're minor relative to most countries- especially countries with two or more official languages.

In my experiences abroad I've been both in and outside of expat bubbles and I haven't noticed them being particularly dominated by one nationality. I do think  not having the kind of easy access to other countries and cultures that Europeans have- being able to travel a couple of hours and find themselves in a completely new place with a different language and possibly different currency tends to make both Americans and Brits somewhat more parochial than most Europeans, though, and our extremely short vacation times in America definitely put us at a disadvantage when it comes to travel- in OR outside the US.

I used to be pretty snobby about foreigners who lived here long term without learning the language, history or customs, but as I've become friends with so many of them I've gotten a lot more tolerant. They just add a colorful, multicultural dimension to a city that was historically, a major European crossroads.

The only ones I really can't tolerate are the ones who come here, complain incessantly about the locals, the language and the culture, but won't leave.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #62 on: July 13, 2017, 07:04:37 AM »
I think it certainly helps. I live in Colombia. Great weather, low cost of living. I can live just fine, work part-time and have the rest of my time for writing.
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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #63 on: July 13, 2017, 07:22:43 AM »
I live in Japan. Do NOT choose Tokyo as your expat destination if the goal is to save money, although if you are a heavy consumer of health care you can probably live cheaper vis-a-vis the US as health care here is reasonably priced and excellent. And children get their health care FREE, yes 100% free. I love Japan!

Interestingly however, the longer I live here, the more I tend to write about / from within the cultures of the countries where I grew up (Ireland and Scotland). Childhood experience is formative, later experiences are just gravy. I'd be interested to know if other expats tend to write about the cultures where they now live, or if their minds are stuck at home like mine. I speak fluent Japanese so it's not that I don't grasp the local culture. It's more that I DO grasp the fact that I am not qualified to write from a Japanese point of view, so I'm less interested in attempting it (unless in a far future outer space setting or something :D ).

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #64 on: July 13, 2017, 07:41:08 AM »
Interestingly however, the longer I live here, the more I tend to write about / from within the cultures of the countries where I grew up (Ireland and Scotland). Childhood experience is formative, later experiences are just gravy. I'd be interested to know if other expats tend to write about the cultures where they now live, or if their minds are stuck at home like mine. I speak fluent Japanese so it's not that I don't grasp the local culture. It's more that I DO grasp the fact that I am not qualified to write from a Japanese point of view, so I'm less interested in attempting it (unless in a far future outer space setting or something :D ).

A little of both. My Japanese is far from fluent, but I launched my Nakamura Detective Series because I read a lot of news about Japan and wanted to incorporate the little daily things about living in Japan into my writing. I've also used a lot of folktales in the Japanese literature class I used to teach, so that's given me an itch to do some retellings.

Edited. PM me if you have any questions. --Betsy/KB Mod
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:08:18 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #65 on: July 13, 2017, 07:45:28 AM »
Locking so I can catch up.  You know, reports....

EDIT:  I've done some pruning of personal comments and responses to them.  A reminder that not all comments need to be responded to, and if you think a post is inappropriate, report it rather than respond, so as to not derail the thread.

Reopening as the topic is of interest to the community.  Don't make me get the cattle prod back from Dan.


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« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:25:31 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #66 on: July 13, 2017, 08:49:06 AM »
Interestingly however, the longer I live here, the more I tend to write about / from within the cultures of the countries where I grew up (Ireland and Scotland). Childhood experience is formative, later experiences are just gravy. I'd be interested to know if other expats tend to write about the cultures where they now live, or if their minds are stuck at home like mine. I speak fluent Japanese so it's not that I don't grasp the local culture. It's more that I DO grasp the fact that I am not qualified to write from a Japanese point of view, so I'm less interested in attempting it (unless in a far future outer space setting or something :D ).
I think because we moved so much I haven't got nearly as much sense of 'home' as most people. And I've always loved travel, even as a little kid going on the long car trip across the country every year with my family to visit grandparents in California. Anything that gives me a different perspective on things- travel, learning other languages, reading about other times and cultures, meeting people who are really different from me, has always been a source of fascination. My books are all historicals, taking place in different locations, with characters of different races, religions, gender and sexual orientations from my own. I do generally keep my POV characters closer to my experience in one way or another than some of the others, but no, I'm not really writing about anything that would have been familiar to me in my childhood. The third (or maybe the fourth) book in my series is going to take my characters through the old Austro Hungarian empire, particularly Bohemia. I've done some of the research in Czech. Really looking forward to learning more!

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #67 on: July 13, 2017, 08:52:05 AM »
That's interesting, Alan. Do you know why so many expats end up leaving Costa Rica?



These are just my opinions, but Costa Rica has become a lot more expensive than it used to be. The same two-lane roads are carrying a lot more cars than forty years ago, so traffic is awful and there is zero chance of improving the roads.

Crime has gotten worse with the drug cartel crap oozing its way there.

I also think that the proper mindset is needed and speaking the language will help more than expats think.

As a foreigner expect to have folks try to get you to pay more for goods and services in comparison to the locals. Another reason to learn the language.

On the mindset... a lot of expats want all the conveniences of their home country there and they can't handle the slower pace, the annoying red tape to get anything done, paying bills and going to the bank can be a pain. Although a lot of progress has been in the last decade on bill paying, etc. So if you have the right mindset that you're moving to another country and your patient, then you'll do better.

Some expats don't think and do things they would never do back in their home country because they have this romanticized view of the tropical paradise and end up getting ripped off big time, especially when it comes to real estate.

I've known expats that got fleeced and had to back to their home country with their tail between their legs. And some had retired to live down there only to get ripped off and needed to go back to the US and/or Canada to go back to work. It's sad.

Some expats move to remote areas where it's cheaper and less crowded, but then they become isolated and go back home.

I should say some of this won't apply to a young person who wants to move as part of a writer's strategy as per the op. ;D
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:56:04 AM by Alan Petersen »

Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #68 on: July 13, 2017, 09:10:38 AM »
These are just my opinions, but Costa Rica has become a lot more expensive than it used to be. The same two-lane roads are carrying a lot more cars than forty years ago, so traffic is awful and there is zero chance of improving the roads.

Crime has gotten worse with the drug cartel crap oozing its way there.

I also think that the proper mindset is needed and speaking the language will help more than expats think.

As a foreigner expect to have folks try to get you to pay more for goods and services in comparison to the locals. Another reason to learn the language.

On the mindset... a lot of expats want all the conveniences of their home country there and they can't handle the slower pace, the annoying red tape to get anything done, paying bills and going to the bank can be a pain. Although a lot of progress has been in the last decade on bill paying, etc. So if you have the right mindset that you're moving to another country and your patient, then you'll do better.

Some expats don't think and do things they would never do back in their home country because they have this romanticized view of the tropical paradise and end up getting ripped off big time, especially when it comes to real estate.

I've known expats that got fleeced and had to back to their home country with their tail between their legs. And some had retired to live down there only to get ripped off and needed to go back to the US and/or Canada to go back to work. It's sad.

Some expats move to remote areas where it's cheaper and less crowded, but then they become isolated and go back home.

I should say some of this won't apply to a young person who wants to move as part of a writer's strategy as per the op. ;D

With the exception of drug cartels and crime it sounds pretty similar to the list for Prague. We just had a lot of ranting on the main expat forum here over a sign posted at a local registration office saying that foreigners expecting to get registration needed to either speak Czech or bring an interpreter with them. The amount of outrage over the mere suggestion that Czechs should be allowed to live and work in their own country without learning a foreign language was mind boggling. Especially considering most of the complainers were monolingual English speakers.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #69 on: July 13, 2017, 09:42:39 AM »
With the exception of drug cartels and crime it sounds pretty similar to the list for Prague. We just had a lot of ranting on the main expat forum here over a sign posted at a local registration office saying that foreigners expecting to get registration needed to either speak Czech or bring an interpreter with them. The amount of outrage over the mere suggestion that Czechs should be allowed to live and work in their own country without learning a foreign language was mind boggling. Especially considering most of the complainers were monolingual English speakers.

Expats like that drive me nuts. You're in a foreign country, you should make the effort to adapt. You don't have to give up your own culture or anything like that, but you should at least try to learn the local language. It was always nice when I was in Japan and found a place that had English support, but if there wasn't any, then I just accepted it and did the best I could or brought an interpreter.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2017, 10:09:15 AM »
I've been an expat since 1993 (lived in Russia, Croatia, China, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and now Bahamas). The experience has certainly filtered into my writing, but I can't say it helps at all with readers discovering I exist.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2017, 10:27:28 AM »
I'd be interested to know if other expats tend to write about the cultures where they now live, or if their minds are stuck at home like mine.

I grew up in Arizona but haven't written much about that part of my life other than to start a character in Phoenix before he departs for Russia. Mostly I have written using my experiences in Russia, and a bit from Iceland. But Russian Studies was also one of my majors in college, and those four years living in Russia in the early 90's were a huge impact on my life.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2017, 10:41:01 AM »
You know why there's so much cultural diversity between countries in Europe and Asia in the first place? Because most of the natives don't travel! They like their own culture, and they continue to practice it despite the intrusion of foreigners. And those that do travel either keep on traveling to experience as much diversity as possible, eventually settling in a foreign country, where they have no impact on the culture with their foreign ideas, or they come back to their home country and settle down, their newly expanded minds having no impact on their native culture.

Think about it. If all Europeans are so open to other cultures and have traveled widely and had their minds opened, then all that diversity between countries would have been diluted so that the world becomes just one big country with a common culture. Maybe that's what's happening in Europe now. If so, experience and enjoy that cultural diversity while it lasts, because that diversity is there precisely because those countries were all once relatively isolated, since for most of history, traveling abroad wasn't easy at all.

That mind-expanding diversity expats value is DESTROYED by everyone traveling abroad, it isn't helped by it. Diversity exists precisely because of the parochial, conservative, isolationist natives which expats all seem to be poo-pooing. They're traveling to expand their horizons and transcend or better appreciate their own culture, yet the ability to do that in fact DEPENDS upon the vast majority of the world remaining non-"open-minded" homebodies who enjoy and want to perpetuate their own culture rather than seeing it diluted and perhaps even done away with. It's highly ironic.

Conservative, parochial natives make possible the mind-expanding expat experience, and in order for that to remain possible for future expats, the vast majority of the world's people MUST remain parochial and culturally conservative. The continued existence of cultural diversity depends upon isolationism and conservatism. Yet the very people who claim to most value cultural diversity usually adhere to a politics that will ultimately destroy it.

As for the notion that vast numbers of Europeans are allegedly so open-minded to foreign travel and do so quite regularly, while Americans aren't and don't, it's due solely to geographical and financial factors. A trip to anywhere but Mexico or Canada will cost thousands of dollars for a US citizen. Plane ticket across the ocean, room and board, etc.

Constrast that with someone in Europe, who can visit a foreign country for just a few dollars (Euros, pounds, whatever). Get up in the morning, throw a few things in a backpack, hop on a train and be in a foreign country by noon or even earlier, do a little sight-seeing, be back home by dinner, without having had to break the bank by doing so. For a US citizen, a trip to a foreign country, whether for a vacation or a move, is a huge undertaking, both financially and preparation-wise.

With the average American household income being about $51,000 a year, and more than half of working Americans making far less than that (less than $30,000, in fact), foreign travel simply isn't feasible. It's not that average Americans have small, closed minds and don't WANT to visit foreign countries. It's that it's not financially POSSIBLE for the average American to visit foreign countries. Make it as simple as hopping on a train and spending a day's pay or less, the way it is for Europeans, and I'm sure the average American would be visiting a foreign country every weekend.

As proof, research where most Europeans go on their vacations. They go to other European countries. Most of them don't come to the Americas. Do you believe this is because they hate the U.S. and don't want to visit it? No. Its because crossing the Atlantic or the Pacific is cost-prohibitive for most people, anywhere in the world. When the EU finally becomes culturally homogenized due to ease of travel and the broadening of horizons and attitudes that allegedly comes with such travel, Europeans from that point on are going to possess the same lack of experience of cultural diversity that Americans are currently alleged to possess, assuming that overseas travel remains cost-prohibitive.

As for moving to a foreign country, I would say its likely that most American expats have a college education (only 33% of Americans have a college education) AND/OR have very marketable job skills. Or they're retired. Or they've saved up a lot of money, which means they probably had a very good-paying job for years, because the average American is living paycheck to paycheck without any significant savings.

So if you're an expat, you're highly educated, AND you already had enough money to be ABLE to become an expat. Your average American can't afford to become an expat, just as your average American can't afford a trip to a foreign country. You think a Circle K clerk, for example, would be able to say, "Hey, I think I'll become an expat next year," and actually be able to pull it off?

Unless he wants to become a homeless person, stow away aboard a ship or a plane or something, and sneak into a foreign country, with no employment prospects and no in-demand skills he can work with and maybe five hundred dollars to his name, your average American ain't going to no foreign country, whether for a vacation or for a move. It's just a fact of geography and the economy, nothing more. The average American is effectively a prisoner in his/her own country.

So if you're an American expat, then you weren't an average American to begin with. An average American, living an average American lifestyle, probably wouldn't notice much difference in expenses if he moved to a foreign country, provided he didn't move to a third-world country where half the population is starving and/or living in mud huts.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 10:47:29 AM by Scott Reeves »

Scott Reeves

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #73 on: July 13, 2017, 10:51:01 AM »
You know why theres so much cultural diversity between countries in Europe and Asia in the first place? Because most of the natives don't travel! They like their own culture, and they continue to practice it despite the intrusion of foreigners. And those that do travel either keep on traveling to experience as much diversity as possible, eventually settling in a foreign country, where they have no impact on the culture with their foreign ideas, or they come back to their home country and settle down, their newly expanded minds having no impact on their native culture.

Think about it. If all Europeans are so open to other cultures and have traveled widely and had their minds opened, then all that diversity between countries would have been diluted so that the world becomes just one big country with a common culture. Maybe that's what's happening in Europe now. If so, experience and enjoy that cultural diversity while it lasts, because that diversity is there precisely because those countries were all once relatively isolated, since for most of history, traveling abroad wasnt easy at all.

That mind-expanding diversity expats value is DESTROYED by everyone traveling abroad, it isn't helped by it. Diversity exists precisely because of the parochial, conservative, isolationist natives which expats all seem to be poo-pooing. They're traveling to expand their horizons and transcend or better appreciate their own culture, yet the ability to do that in fact DEPENDS upon the vast majority of the world remaining non-open-minded homebodies who enjoy and want to perpetuate their own culture rather than seeing it diluted and perhaps even done away with. It's highly ironic.

Conservative, parochial natives make possible the mind-expanding expat experience, and in order for that to remain possible for future expats, the vast majority of the world's people MUST remain parochial and culturally conservative. The continued existence of cultural diversity depends upon isolationism and conservatism. Yet the very people who claim to most value cultural diversity usually adhere to a politics that will ultimately destroy it.

As for the notion that vast numbers of Europeans are allegedly so open-minded to foreign travel and do so quite regularly, while Americans aren't and don't, it's due solely to geographical and financial factors. A trip to anywhere but Mexico or Canada will cost thousands of dollars for a US citizen. Plane ticket across the ocean, room and board, etc.

Constrast that with someone in Europe, who can visit a foreign country for just a few dollars (Euros, pounds, whatever). Get up in the morning, throw a few things in a backpack, hop on a train and be in a foreign country by noon or even earlier, do a little sight-seeing, be back home by dinner, without having had to break the bank by doing so. For a US citizen, a trip to a foreign country, whether for a vacation or a move, is a huge undertaking, both financially and preparation-wise.

With the average American household income being about $51,000 a year, and more than half of working Americans making far less than that (less than $30,000, in fact), foreign travel simply isn't feasible. It's not that average Americans have small, closed minds and don't WANT to visit foreign countries. It's that it's not financially POSSIBLE for the average American to visit foreign countries. Make it as simple as hopping on a train and spending a day's pay or less, the way it is for Europeans, and I'm sure the average American would be visiting a foreign country every weekend.

As proof, research where most Europeans go on their vacations. They go to other European countries. Most of them don't come to the Americas. Do you believe this is because they hate the U.S. and don't want to visit it? No. Its because crossing the Atlantic or the Pacific is cost-prohibitive for most people, anywhere in the world. When the EU finally becomes culturally homogenized due to ease of travel and the broadening of horizons and attitudes that allegedly comes with such travel, Europeans from that point on are going to possess the same lack of experience of cultural diversity that Americans are currently alleged to possess, assuming that overseas travel remains cost-prohibitive.

As for moving to a foreign country, I would say its likely that most American expats have a college education (only 33% of Americans have a college education) AND/OR have very marketable job skills. Or they're retired. Or they've saved up a lot of money, which means they probably had a very good-paying job for years, because the average American is living paycheck to paycheck without any significant savings.

So if you're an expat, you're highly educated, AND you already had enough money to be ABLE to become an expat. Your average American can't afford to become an expat, just as your average American can't afford a trip to a foreign country. You think a Circle K clerk, for example, would be able to say, "Hey, I think I'll become an expat next year," and actually be able to pull it off?

Unless he wants to become a homeless person, stow away aboard a ship or a plane or something, and sneak into a foreign country, with no employment prospects and no in-demand skills he can work with and maybe five hundred dollars to his name, your average American ain't going to no foreign country, whether for a vacation or for a move. It's just a fact of geography and the economy, nothing more. The average American is effectively a prisoner in his/her own country.

So if you're an American expat, then you weren't an average American to begin with. An average American, living an average American lifestyle, probably wouldn't notice much difference in expenses if he moved to a foreign country, provided he didn't move to a third-world country where half the population is starving and/or living in mud huts.

Quite a few thought-provoking and valuable points here, Scott. But folks, if we're going to keep this thread open, it really needs to remain focused on the experience and possibility of being an expat writer. These larger questions/issues are essentially political (as you can tell from the intrusion of political terms like "isolationist," "conservative," and ... er ... "politics"), and are therefore not appropriate for discussion on this forum, politics and religion being no-go areas on KBoards.

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Re: Expatting as part of a writer's strategy.
« Reply #74 on: July 13, 2017, 11:06:25 AM »
I travel permanently and I've found almost anywhere in the world is cheaper than Australia, except maybe Hong Kong.

As a writer, seeing life through fresh eyes is always an asset. It's not just about exploring new places but having a different perspective on life back home.

I wish you'd write a book about managing a peripatetic life like yours, Kathrynoh. 

Me, too!

I've always wanted to travel. Writing is the perfect career for that, both in terms of portability and the creative boost. Last year, I began prepping for a (domestic and foreign) traveling lifestyle: Passport, Global Entry card, a Surface Pro 4 (which does duty as a tablet, laptop, camera, and voice recorder, among other things), and so on. So glad this thread was started!

As a side note, for those wondering how they can possibly afford travel on a tiny income, I recommend David Bach's Smart Women Finish Rich.

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