"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Travel
June 15, 2009

An Anniversary That Did Not Go Completely Unnoticed

A few days back an important anniversary date for our family passed by without much celebration. Three years ago, we left Delhi for Hong Kong. Six years ago, we left London for Delhi. Two huge decisions and important decisions. Add to that the anniversary from earlier this year – ten years since leaving Sydney. I […]

A few days back an important anniversary date for our family passed by without much celebration.

Three years ago, we left Delhi for Hong Kong. Six years ago, we left London for Delhi.

Two huge decisions and important decisions. Add to that the anniversary from earlier this year – ten years since leaving Sydney.

I guess that’s the life of a “global nomad.” There’s plenty of pain mixed in the the joy looking back on those moves. I’ve learnt some important lessons in that time, like living with less, travelling lighter, focussing on work that is portable and learning to adapt to different cultures.

But, moving in the expat world we have been in, at least for the past six years has not always been a smooth ride. Compared to our home cultures in Sydney (or London, for that matter) the expat world is still very patriarchal, traditional (in the sense of men work women change their name and stay home) and all to often very parochial and downmarket (a world of rubgy tops and Rod Stewart concerts).

I miss friends, I miss family, I miss knowing, at least in part, what my future would look like. I’m much better at being productive on a day to day basis, but I still struggle to get my head around big projects.

I certainly don’t want to stay here in Hong Kong too long. This town is not without some charms and a lot of conveniences. But, I long for a city where I can walk, where there is a real and vibrant choice of things to do besides shop and eat and where, to be blunt, I can keep two guitar cases open at the same time.

In fact, surprisingly, the lack of space is perhaps the most tiring aspect of life here. We have, by local standards, a very comfortable apartment; although it is staggeringly small compared to anywhere else we have ever lived. I’m accustomed to smaller working spaces, but that has usually been traded off with decent storage and some sort of “workshop.”

All of which, is a way of saying I’m becoming quite clear about things I would like when we we leave this town, wherever we settle next.

Responses
Toni 13 years ago

Sheesh – I’d no idea you’d been there that long – feels like just a year or so. Is there another move on the horizon yet, or are you there indefinitely? I sympathise on the space front, as I can only have guitars and amps out if I fill/clutter our living space. We do have a ‘spare’ room upstairs now, but that’s a mix of storage and workroom, and needs a lot of rearrangement/clearing of stuff we’ve inherited.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

We are here until further notice and I don’t expect we will move for a couple of years more. Like any expat, I can rack up a list of complaints if I try (dullness and loneliness being high on the list). But, there is a pace to our life right now that is productive.

Still, I am keen on a move. Put bluntly, I’ve lived my whole adult life under the shadow of the Union Jack, either in the UK itself, or in former colonies of Britain. I’m keen for something different from that.

But, what? I don’t know yet.

Toni 13 years ago

You could end up in America, mind you, I suppose that’s just another ex-colony too. Now would that be better, worse or just different?

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

For much of my life I harboured a real desire to live in the US, at least for a season. That has really died off in the last decade.

I think it would be different, only because the US is so vast and diverse. In my experience urban Washinton is very different from suburban Charlestown or rural Vermont and you can substitute any number of urban/suburban/rural combinations and get a different mix and set of contrasts.

That said, as much I would love to live in Boston or New York, right now I would prefer by a long stretch Copenhagen, Madrid or Tokyo.

Toni 13 years ago

Given those choices I’d take Stockholm even if the Swedes are a funny bunch, but Copenhagen is quite nice too.

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