Want to Live Abroad? Here’s How to Actually DO IT!!!


I’m Xiongmao from the Happier Abroad forum. Unlike most other guys who post on that board, I do now actually live abroad!

Six months into my self-imposed exile from the UK and…

…well I’m having the time of my life!

My advice to anyone thinking of going to live abroad is simple:

Just Do IT!!!

So why not get off your own ass and go do something SPECTACULAR with your life?

I’ll warn you though – changing your life is HARD. We’re creatures of habit, and hate change.

So to change your life, you’ll need to implement some MASSIVE ACTION.


In my case I wanted to go abroad because I liked the idea of finding a sexy beautiful foreign bride.

I had a couple of attempts at going down the whole¬†mail order bride route, but who am I kidding? I couldn’t choose a wife on a two week trip to Asia. So I decided to relocate to Asia, then take my time when choosing my future life partner.

Of course if you’re a single dude then meeting ladies is top notch reason for going abroad. But there are plenty of other reasons, from advancing your career, to just chilling out. Life is short, but it’s also long enough that if you work, work, work, you’ll pay a very heavy price later in life.

One quick tip I have is that if you’re going abroad for dating, you should also choose a second goal for relocating. Most Asian ladies who are worth dating work during the day. So you’ll need to have a second goal that doesn’t involve sitting in a bar drinking beer all morning and afternoon! Which is especially important if you’re planning on going somewhere like Thailand.

Anyway, once you’ve got a reason for going abroad, it’s time for a PLAN.

Planning for Your Great New Beginning…

It really depends on your age and your circumstances, but you’ll no doubt have BAGGAGE to deal with.

So how to deal with the major obstacles in your path of relative freedom?

  • Your job – well if you have a job, then quit it. But before you just walk out the door, see if you can take a sabbatical, or if you can work overseas. A sabbatical is worth angling for in case you go to another country, find out it sucks and want your old life back! If you’re good at your job then your boss might just agree to you working remotely. In my case I failed to make any headway in getting a sabbatical or a shot at working remotely. Fear not though, because if you have enough money saved up to go abroad for 6 months, then just walk out the door! If you were financially successful in your own country, you’re very likely to be financially successful abroad.
  • Debts – pay them off as soon as you can! Focus on EARNING MONEY rather than on the debts themselves. A good way of paying down debts quickly is to instigate a spending freeze. Just buy food and essentials, nothing else. While I was never in debt, I lived a frugal life for just one year, and in that time I managed to save two-thirds of my annual salary.
  • Property – if you own property then check if you are able to rent it out while you’re abroad. I currently rent out my small UK apartment through a property agency. It means that if I need to return to the UK, then at least I’ve got somewhere to live. In the meantime, the agency takes care of finding tenants for me, as well as keeping an eye on the place.
  • Your stuff – sell it! Seriously! I’ve been living in Asia for six months now and I don’t miss any of my stuff thats sitting in boxes in my sister’s house! In fact I wish I’d thrown away/sold even more things than I did. By all means keep sentimental stuff, but if you’re going away for a while then it’s well worth selling everything that you can easily buy again.
  • People – if you have dependents then make sure someone back home will look after them while you’re gone. If you have a lot of family commitments then think twice about going abroad to live – you’ll tear yourself apart trying to live on two continents simultaneously.

Planning for your Arrival Abroad

I talked before about having a plan. In my case I wanted to find a foreign wife.

It’s important to be a bit more specific about a plan. You need to decide where to go, and what you’re gonna do once you’re there. And I’ll also add that you shouldn’t overlook an important banana skin – it’s just not that easy to just go and live in someone else’s country!

In my case I decided to go to China. I’d already visited that country, and so I knew that it was home to the most beautiful ladies on the planet.

However, I also knew that Chinese ladies are for the most part BUSY, and virtually all of the ladies I’d be interested in would be working during the day.

So I wanted to find something to do while I was out there.

In my case I killed three birds with one stone by enrolling on a Mandarin Chinese course:

  1. Studying took care of the visa issue. It’s really hard these days to just go and live in China (or most other countries for that matter). If you can afford it, then a student visa is usually fairly easy to obtain, and will often be valid for 6-12 months.
  2. By learning Mandarin Chinese, I’ve improved my chances of landing a date with all those stunning non-English speaking Chinese girls who can only say “Hello” and “David Beckham”.
  3. Finally, since my career in the UK was in the higher education industry, studying in a Chinese University has given me a unique insight into the education sector in the world’s second biggest economy.

Remember that unless you’re really close to retirement or are retired already, it’s good to have some sort of backstory to cover the time you spend overseas. Man sits in Pattaya bar for 6 months won’t impress future employers, but man gets internship at Chinese sports equipment manufacturer will be something great to talk about in any future job interview.

Getting Things Moving…

Let’s talk about timescales. It took 9 months from the day I decided to quit my job and go live in China, to my flight from London touching down at Beijing airport.

My whole life condensed into one 20Kg suitcase and one backpack. Oh, and my sister's new kitten thinks it would be a really neat idea to come with me!

My whole life condensed into one 20Kg suitcase and one backpack. Oh, and my sister’s new kitten thinks it would be a really neat idea to come with me!

Going overseas is a big decision to make, especially if you’re over 30 years old (and I just turned 40).

So think about things for a while!

But while you’re thinking things over, start saving up money, and getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Also spend a lot of time in forums like Happier Abroad, talking to guys who have already made the move.

Remember your first goal is to decide WHERE to go and WHAT to do. After that everything should fall into place.

I should just add though that there was never a single day when I thought my plan was a bad one. And four months into my adventure, I still don’t regret leaving that cubicle!

So What ACTUALLY Happened Since I Left My Cubicle?

I quit my job in November 2012, and worked out my 3 month notice period.

My former cubicle back in the UK. I sure don't miss rotting away and wasting my life in this place!

My former cubicle back in the UK. I sure don’t miss rotting away and wasting my life in this place!

A notice period is a good time to get your life together, especially if you’re lucky enough to be on a 3 month notice period like I was.
During your notice period, your priority is YOU and YOUR PLAN. Don’t get distracted by everybody else.

If you work in a large organisation like I did, then milk those email lists or notice boards and use them to sell all your stuff. I sold my TV, furniture and even my old Simpsons DVD box sets to my colleagues. You’ll be so busy abroad that you won’t need stuff. Hell I haven’t even got a TV out here. I spent hours ripping my entire DVD collection to .mp3 files. How many of them have I watched in China? 0. Yeah, a big fat zero.

Anyway, the last day of work came and went, various people came to my house to collect stuff, and before I knew it I was sitting in the airport departure lounge.

In my four months in China I starred in such personal adventures as…

“Man takes date to Macau and Hong Kong but never actually gets to Macau or Hong Kong.”

“Man goes on date with Chinese Angelina Jolie lookalike. Then after a bit of Googling realises his date is 10x hotter than Angelina is. Sorry, Brad – maybe you also should have tried international dating.”

“Western man finds a way of attending a Chinese singles party full of beautiful sexy Chinese women.”

“Man teaches English to a class of 18 girl and 2 boy University students!”

“Man finds cockroach in apartment that is so big, it won’t fit in the cockroach trap.”

“Man’s shoes destroyed by 3 inches of rain in a single afternoon, so he goes on date in pair of rubbish flip-flops.”

Some guy on another forum thought this sounded boring. Well who cares about him, you’ve got to live your own life for yourself. Quit caring what everybody else thinks about you.

I bet he went home from his boring office job, went home to his boring wife and spent the whole night watching boring television and eating a boring TV dinner.

Whatever my critics claim, there was never a single boring day to be had living in this hectic, overpopulated Chinese city...

Whatever my critics claim, there was never a single boring day to be had living in this hectic, overpopulated Chinese city…

Now I’m living in Bangkok, and I can do stuff like going ladyboy spotting in shopping malls, I can visit a bar and talk to cute chicks, or I can try and find the best Pad Thai in the whole of Bangkok.

I can’t say it’s always been easy living abroad, but it’s sure as hell been a whole lot of fun.

So when are you going to start your own great adventure?

I quit my boring job in February 2013 and have absolutely no regrets about doing so. Now I can live anywhere I want to.

Follow HappierBackHome.com to read about the great and not so great stuff I’ve seen on my travels.

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