Friday, March 24, 2006

Reasons to Live Abroad

Vietnam Motos by Chuck

Checking my RSS links to blogs from Vietnam just brought up this outstanding article by a former San Francisan architect who found himself burned out in the U.S., and so took his Vietnamese wife back to Saigon, where he has reinvigorated his life. It's an insightful reflection on the reasons to leave it all behind, and start a new life in a new country. Do click the link to read the entire post, and find the connecting link to the story he recommends.

Approaching civilizations other than our own...

Preya has posted a very thought-provoking essay on her blog Dreaming of Hanoi (she currently lives in Colorado). This essay goes to the heart of why westerners choose to visit, live and work in Viet Nam. Please read her essay. She is very articulate in expressing her opinion that many westerners come to places like Viet Nam out of good intentions to see and experience new things, but often espouse condescending views towards the ongoing changes in these countries that are the choices of those people to improve their lives.

She sees westerners as wanting to preserve the innocence and simplicity of overseas life "for our viewing pleasure" to replace what we can no longer find at home. In so doing, westerners are using Asia as a means to the end of regaining what we have lost in the western world, treating Asia as an extension of the west rather than the unique place of Asians for Asians. I hope I have done Preya justice in this summary.

In her essay, though, she gets to the very core of my own reasons for relocating to Viet Nam. She states:

"Do not go overseas and treat the places you see and the people you meet as if their only purpose in life is to "spice up" your world and make your travels more interesting, or provide you with a place to unwind, discover yourself, etc."

Antidote to Burnout Link

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