It seems to me that the majority of ex-pats you meet when settling into a new place abroad all turn out out to be a little ‘different.‘
Making the choice to move away from the relative comfort of the West to a developing country such as Vietnam is quite a brave thing to do. Many people will say you are ‘crazy’ to leave the comforts of home. ‘What about the roads, the poor food hygiene, bad hospitals and scams…?’ Ye there is all that, but why focus on the negatives. I do think long term travellers and the ex-pat demographic in general are a somewhat interesting bunch and that this lifestyle attracts a certain type of person, many of which are a little wayward or down right messed up.
I’ve met quite a few on my travels, and there’s certainly some ‘interesting’ ones here in Vietnam. Here’s a few i’ve met on my way.
South East Asia attracts these in droves-older guys looking for younger women, at what seems like at times any cost. There are plenty here in Vietnam although it’s nothing like on the scale of Thailand. It always makes me laugh when i see the 55 year old guy with the 21 year old woman. It’s normally a recipe for heartbreak and a scam waiting to happen. With the average wage here in Vietnam around $250 a month many young girls are on the lookout for a ‘provider’ of sorts. I’ve learnt from experience that many of these girls will do and try anything to get at your cash, often playing the long con. You have the ‘good girls’ at one ‘end and the ‘bad girls’ at the other-its the grey area in between you need to be careful of.
The eternal TEFL english teacher
Asia is littered with ‘English Teachers’ young and old.
Some looking for a new start from their dull jobs back home and some coming from no job at all looking for something better abroad. I’ve met the entire spectrum; form drug and alcohol addicted people who can barely string a lesson together to the older guy who wants to ‘give something’ back and takes it all a little too seriously.
Granted you can make some decent money teaching English abroad, but as a long term career option it’s limited in my opinion.
The shady business man
There’s always some guy you meet abroad who no-one really knows how he gets his money or what he does all day. I meet many of these people, especially from Eastern Europe and Russia. They tend to have many tales of their business exploits all over the world, but i often wonder why they are living in some very cheap country and hitting the bars at 10am everyday. Take these guys with a pinch of salt and run a mile when he starts asking for you to ‘invest’ with him.
The bitter old retired guy
Stuck in limbo land, too detached and angry to return to his home country but loves to moan about the current place he calls ‘home’ these guys pepper the bars throughout South East Asia.
They probably have some sort of pension that funds their drinking and whoremongering, however they always seem lonely and unhappy to me. Granted you do see a few older guys who have ‘made it happen’ and settle down with a younger women and start a family or business-however these examples are pretty rare. Approach with caution.
The alcohol or drug addict
These can be found aplenty in SEA; especially in Vietnam due to the very low cost of alcohol and relative ease of procuring illicit substances. Normally at the bar by around 1pm, they love their 60 pence beers and will drink all day everyday until totally inebriated.
They will love to share with you their tales of bitter divorces and failed projects however they just can’t seem to make it back to reality anytime soon and make anything happen. Pretty sad.
- The digital nomad, or ‘location independent entrepreneur’
These guys seem to be cropping up everywhere nowadays, making money online via a majority of different means via the internet. I only very slightly fall into this category, but it is something im interested in pursuing further as it’s a great way to explore the world if you can work from anywhere.
Make no mistake though, starting a business is just as tough online as it is in the ‘real world’ and just as much effort has to be applied. I’ve met a few guys who do well through blogs and selling various services online. I think one of the best skills to have now is computer programming language skills. This will enable you to work remotely and earn in $ or £ which is want you want to aim for when living in SEA.
So one last piece of advice, ‘don’t believe anything they tell you!’ spoken to me by a good Vietnamese friend and holds very true to this day.
Give me your thoughts below guys…