Readers Who Escaped From Amerika

Reg (Taiwan)

Eleven years ago I graduated from university in Newfoundland, Canada. While in university I noticed many of the bad things happening that you mention on your website, but couldn’t quite realize it. I was involved with the student left-wing movement; I studied Philosophy, got a student loan, became sympathetic to feminism, turned against my church, and I even ran in a provincial election for the [socialist] NDP.

But all through that time, I always knew there was something wrong with our country and society, but couldn’t quite figure what it was, just that I wanted to change it. I thought that running for politics would be the way, but that turned out to be futile. The truth is, nobody gets elected for being good.

The other issue I had was with women. I figured if I am all for women’s rights, I should have no problem in that field. But of course that approach is also futile: western women don’t like nice guys.

There was something severely wrong with the western women I knew and tried to date–even in good ole Newfoundland the most traditional part of English Canada. In University, the women were so promiscuous, yet difficult to get close to. Birth control pills were the biggest seller at the campus pharmacy. Feminists ran the student union. Every woman played one man off against another and did ‘not need a man.’ Marriage and children meant oppression to them but they liked to have sex with multiple partners.

The whole thing made me sick! On the other hand, the last few years I was there, I started to notice Asian women. They seemed to be real women who would make loyal wives.

Another issue was the economy: everything was so bloody expensive! I graduated with an Arts Degree, went to Alberta, and all I was qualified to do was move boxes around in a warehouse. I made barely enough to eat and pay rent while finding a wife and paying a student loan was impossible. So I made the decision to go to Taiwan and teach English.

Ten years ago I came to this tropical island and I’ve been here ever since. I only goes home every four years or so in the summer for a few weeks to see my aged parents–and that’s the only thing I goes back for.

Here in Taiwan, life is much better for me. I got a nice wife and she is a real woman. Very loving, loyal and feminine. She cooks and cleans and is very happy to do that for me. A good mother and loving wife who never complains about the toilet seat being left up. I get home from a hard day at work and she’s got my supper cooked and never asks me to wash a dish, even though I would if she asked. She never raises her voice to me or complains about anything. She is good to my parents and loves Newfoundland music–what more can I say?

Now compare that to my brother. He married a blond hair beauty from Western Canada and had two children. Now they are getting divorced and she is taking him for every cent he’s got. When they were married, they were always fighting and she was always yelling and barking and complaining about everything. She would even yell at my father! She did not cook or do housework–their house was a mess!

And when I was younger I thought my brother was so lucky because he could get women. Now I know they were not worth getting and I’ve done much better since after I turned thirty.

There are also other good things about being in Taiwan as opposed to Canada. For one, the weather is much warmer. They grow all kinds of tropical fruit here all year long, so my health has improved. Financially, it is much cheaper to live: I’m renting a two story house for $200 (my friend in Canada is renting a one bedroom apartment for $1000). Food is cheaper and can be bought at traditional markets. You can go out late at night and eat good food for about a dollar.

But perhaps the biggest thing is the issue of freedom: I am more free here than I ever was anywhere in Canada. I can ride a motorcycle without a license or helmet and it’s no problem. Also, I can go to the shop, buy a can of beer for a dollar, and drink it on the street. In contrast, last year I went to Canada and got a $300 fine for drinking a beer on the street, and I wasn’t even drunk.

Also, in this country, you are allowed to make a living: low taxes and cheap supplies. I can easily set up my own business with licensing or fees. Try doing that in Canada and the government will stop you. If you’re rich enough to start a business in Canada, you don’t need to start a business.

The more I read about what’s happening in Canada, and all the stupid laws they’re passing, the more glad I am that I left.

Michael (Mexico)

I, too, have escaped the American life. My story is a bit different from you, as I was a doctor and medical school professor when I dropped out. Nine years ago I saw the coming collapse of America and feel it is rightfully deserved due to her lack of sympathy for her people, an overwhelming desire to cradle corporations , her destructive use of the military and the lack of understanding of what is happening by her people.

My wife and I left for a little village in Mexico in the Central Highlands (near Mexico City). We live on a lake in the wood at 8,300 feet. Life is simple, the villagers (many who had never seen an American) live their lives at their pace. Their lack of world understanding, helps them lead their uncomplicated lives. No one bothers us and what money we have we make sure to spend it in the village to help a little when we can without changing their current lifestyle. This is their world which we invaded and we leave as little footprints as we can. I enjoy the simple things of going to the market, seeing the old cathedrals, finding a waterfall beside the roadway, watching a farmer plow his field with a mule these are the things important to me now.

The best tasting local produce and fruit that I’ve ever tasted can be found in these little villages. Life is much different and much happier for me here in Mexico. I understand what you are saying in your article.

Bob- (India)

I left America two years ago – also to India. I was born in suburbs outside New York City and spent my first 29 years of my life in New York and California (Silicon Valley).

There were a number of reasons I left America, but largely I felt like a stranger in my own country. I was never at home with the materialist culture; this is slightly different than a culture of greed. In America it seems that no matter whether one is poor or rich- there is an obsession with “things”. It is to the point that people consider it their hobby to discuss consumption like the latest model of cars, for example. The same could be said for gadgets or antiques. The first question out of someone’s mouth when you discuss a vacation, is “Where did you stay?”. It seemed as if people defined their identity and “uniqueness” based on what they consumed- as if they were creative because they bought a certain band’s album- rather than what they produced (even if they produced amateur music, I would see that as truer evidence of creativity).

I observed a lot of the traits that you’ve discussed as you’ve dissected feminism- that women seem to increasingly emulate the worst qualities of men- selfishness, self-indulgence, and crude behavior. Another trait that I could not shake was that we Americans seem to respect bullies- whether its on an individual level (Simon Cowell, Donald Trump) or in a geopolitical

One of the reasons I am concerned that America won’t exorcise its demons and remove the elite that pulls its strings is that, silently, they respect such “cleverness” and demonstration of strength. I assume this is why we make no apologies for bombing Iraq (though a country with no intent or means to harm us) but cower before Chinese threats for our President not to meet with the Dali Lama before the Chinese summit.

We value “winning” but not winning for the right reasons- perhaps this is why we thrill to shows such as Survivor where deceit is rewarded and we know that Richard Hatch won the first contest, but don’t particularly care how it was done. I can’t help that this culture is being foisted on the people because it is so unnatural and undesirable to the human spirit, and yet inculcating these beliefs explains to me why the people have not rejected the elite; they have been taught, indirectly, to revere them. These are some reasons I grew alienated by the culture.

In India, there is a simpler quality of life. Here, without a tampering of the culture, people seem to value what people naturally would otherwise- family, friends, ethics. One of the first books I saw at a bookstore was a 400 page book on why it wasn’t easy being “good” or “nice” but why it matters and why in the long run, and why you’ll be glad you were. I have been here less than two years, but I am hoping the cultural programming I received in America slowly wears off.

KM — (Turkey)

By the time I applied to the Peace Corps in the late 60’s, the point WAS assigning volunteers based on their skills and not on where they themselves wanted to go. So there I was with an offer of an assignment in Turkey, a country I’d hardly been aware of. Of course, I took it.

I now know that beginning something with very few preconceptions is a great thing. I was eager to learn about the customs and language of Turkey as well as about the particular tasks and skills needed for my job there, setting up and running a play program for the children in an orphanage or a hospital, a new idea then. Training was a total immersion experience–only your hours for sleep were your own. For me, it felt just fine. My life was no longer so ordinary.

Then, came arriving in Turkey, some on-site training, getting our actual job assignments, finding places to live, and then setting off on our first days of work–the last one all on your own. Life became even less ordinary as I settled in. I felt that I had a worthwhile job that had nothing to do with being an “Ugly American.” I got on well with both the children and the others at work. I felt safe and happy.

However, as we went into our second year, elsewhere in Turkey there were anti-American protests that affected some of the other volunteers. Abruptly, the plug was pulled, and there were plane trips home for everyone–but for me fate, kismet in Turkish, stepped in. I rather easily found a job at a private Turkish school for girls.

Over and over again, as I changed, I was able to rather easily re-train myself and move on to new and different jobs mainly at Turkish universities. As a foreigner, I was outside of the regular positions and promotion system, but this actually made it easier for me to teach in the several fields I got training in. There has rarely been a dull moment.

I also felt that kismet related to the people I met–mainly very nice families. Over time I learned that family life and the network of friends connected to one’s family is very important in Turkey. It is this network that IS one’s “safety net” in the broadest sense of that term. It is they who can and do offer expertise and ideas to you and to the others in the network. As you understand its existence and its importance, you value you it even more, and you work out the ways that you yourself, even as a foreigner, can contribute to it and also maintain your position in it–by acting with integrity.

It is this notion of actually joining and contributing to a family/friend related network that somehow got lost in America–too old-fashioned, I guess. Yes, there is that superficial idea of “networking” in order to form business contacts, but how deep into your life can that go? Obviously, in today’s America with the looting of the citizens by the elite, building a real “family/friend” network or networks is an important way to go.

For me, since I worked so much overseas, I ended up unable to save up enough to make the jump to living in the more expensive America. Also, not working in the US meant that I was NOT paying into the US Social Security system. On the other hand, I gained the right to obtain Turkish retirement benefits and health care in Turkey’s universal health care system. It’s that kismet business again.

So there it is–my story. It actually turns out to be rather ordinary–although living in the Middle East and really learning about geopolitics isn’t, but if I’ve managed to avoid being an “Ugly American,” that’s enough for me.

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to these readers and everyone who responded. I’d like to get more reports from Westerners who have left home, and also from people who didn’t like what they found and returned home.)