Now this is one of those million dollar questions and I am quite sure we would all have our opinions, but I wonder if there is the definite answer?
It is something I ask myself a lot actually as I am more than curious to know if where you live makes a big difference on your contentment, which, for me, is the measure of your life success.
It’s all to easy to conclude that friends and families around you are the key to contentment and happiness, in fact it is the one common leveler between humans, but I have this nagging suspicion it is far more than that.
I guess it is also based on your expectations and choices you have in life. Sometimes I feel it is the ability for me to quite freely change where I live that actually creates more of an issue than a benefit. You see by having such choice means I am never quite sure the best place for my family and I to live. Put it another way, if I did not have the freedom of choice I could just get on with life where I was and make the most from it.
I remember a line from a song by UK group James, which rings all to true:
“If I hadn’t seen such riches,
I could live with being poor” – James song lyric
If we were blissfully unaware of other choices, we could be blissfully, almost ignorantly, be content with our lot.
Perhaps, it begs the question for all us more traveled expats that by being aware of such ‘riches’ – and I draw the parallel to ‘riches’ as ‘life choices – we are never quite sure where our final destination should be?
What does a location give you?
Your location surrounds you with people you want to be surrounded with for starters. Living in Thailand I have become much wiser, in my humble opinion, in my tolerance and understanding of others; and this has been driven by Thai culture.
It is also in the natural habitat, the climate and vegetation around you. If you chose Bangkok then you get the cosmopolitan bustle but the compromise is living around traffic and pollution. But, what is right for one may not be right for others. Bangkok could be paradise for many.
Largely, on that point, we cannot dismiss our own perceptions. One mans rubbish, being another mans treasure as the saying goes. Having lived in two locations in Thailand – Pattaya and Hua Hin – I cannot really compare the two as their proposition is so different. I have enjoyed greatly the riches and differentials both areas offered me.
As an expat, we are spoiled and blessed to have the opportunity to live away from our domestic country, the problem for me though is having had tasted this difference I am continually hungry to experience something again new and invigorating.
It means I can never quite feel at home and happy with a location to call ‘home’, as I know there is so much more in the world to discover, and that – for me at this time – is a very big problem as I can never quite be comfortable.
The result is I push myself to open up new revenue opportunities so that my family and I can actualise more choices in life, but I am all too aware this diminishes the now and the present. It is a Sunday morning, the sun is out and my family and I are about to go for a walk on the beach, can life really get much better?