About Happier Back Home


I’m Xiongmao, and I’d like to welcome you to Happier Back Home!

If you think you’ll be Happier Abroad, then visit Winston Wu’s one stop shop to making a new life for yourself overseas at HappierAbroad.com.

If not, then stick around here.

OK, so to answer some questions…

Why “Happier Back Home”, and not “Happier at Home”?

Basically I found that the HappieratHome.com domain name was already taken.


But then I did some more Googling and found that Happier at Home is already the name of an uplifting book by Gretchen Rubin.

See, I’m not the only one who thinks it’s better staying put.

Also, my late grandparents used to refer to their house as “back home”. In 30 years I only recall them ever leaving England twice. They went to France and to Jersey, and that was it. Oh, they also went to Cornwall a few times.

Why did I go to live abroad in the first place?

Us men need goals, and there’s no way you’ll ever quit your job and go abroad if you don’t have a goal.

In my case, my original goal for going abroad was to find one of those exotic foreign brides that so many guys lust after.

Well after dating so many foreign ladies I’m not sure women are any better outside of your own country.

Since then my goal has become, er, fuzzy at best. Currently I’m a man in need of a life plan!

Still, one thing is absolutely clear – quitting my Dilbert-like cubicle life was absolutely the right thing to do. I’ve no regrets whatsoever about leaving my job.

How do I earn money abroad?

Ah, this is the stumbling block that stops so many people from going and living their dreams overseas.

All I can say is that if you REALLY want to go abroad, you’ll find the way to achieve your dream.

Back in the UK I had a pretty good job and I lived a frugal lifestyle. The result was that I was able to save at least half my salary each month. Look at your own life and ask yourself, do you really need that book/DVD/magazine/weekend trip to Paris. Being frugal for 2-3 years can build a surprisingly large bank balance.

I do have a couple of small online businesses. I run a software business and a dating site.

They don’t bring in that much money these days, but it all helps.

I also have a couple of customers on oDesk. As a software developer I can earn $20 an hour there, often involving fixing software code written by $2 an hour developers. Sadly, the contracts are few and far between.

There are many other ways of making money abroad though, from teaching English to picking up jobs needing token foreigners where someone of your race and skin colour is very rare. China or Japan are especially good for these gigs – just make sure you have a legit work permit!

I also live a fairly frugal life overseas, just as I did back in the UK.

It’s not worth buying any material goods, since they’d send me over the standard 23Kg checked baggage luggage limit. And eating what the locals eat is how I minimise my food bills.

Is it worth going abroad?


I have no regrets about quitting my job and going to live overseas.

At the same time, I’d say be realistic in WHY you want to go overseas.

It’s not necessarily better here. In many ways it’s worse.

Worse weather, worse food, worse bugs, worse traffic, worse shop prices, worse pollution… these are all things you’ll probably have to put up with!

So if you want to go abroad…


But just don’t expect your life abroad to be any better than it is at home.

Xiongmao, July 2013.

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