How Taking the Overseas Plunge Turned Doubters to Supporters

“Exactly what do you hope to accomplish from this?” asked my mother-in-law, when we told her our plans to take off overseas. The simple truth was, we had no idea what—if anything—we hoped to accomplish. What we did know was that, for us, it was time to follow our dreams of leaving our traditional jobs and the rat race far behind.

Other family members echoed the same sentiments—doubt, disbelief and worry. “Is it safe?” “How will you make money?” Others warned us, “You’ll be back soon…”

No one we knew had ever considered living abroad like we wanted to do—travelling on a whim with no set itinerary, or staying in any one place in a foreign country for just as long as it pleased us. In 2005, this seemed like a radical idea. Our families and friends just didn’t get it.

We weren’t sure where we were going, or where we would end up, but we were excited for the journey. And, despite the reservations and downright disbelief of family and friends, we were ready for the off. So, off we went.

One of our first stops was China. We arrived exhausted and exhilarated, with our overweight backpacks on our shoulders. Whenever we met another foreigner, we’d latch on to them, asking hundreds of questions. “Is there an internet café anywhere?” “Have you been to the Great Wall yet?” “Is there a place to find a decent breakfast?”

Slowly, we became more confident. Our backpacks became lighter, as we realised how little we actually needed. We learned how to make free phone calls to our families, and they were relieved to know that we were safe and sound, revelling in our new lifestyle.

From China, we went into Southeast Asia—a trip that cemented our desire to make this a permanent move. We explored Thailand, Bali, Singapore, and The Philippines. Everywhere we went, we were safe, we made friends and, most importantly, we had the time of our lives. Since 2012, we’ve made our home in Vietnam, and we love our life here.

These days, my mother-in-law no longer asks what our intentions are—instead, she delights in hearing about our adventures. And our friends, initially so dubious about our lifestyle, now want to know how they can make the move overseas too!

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