A British Expat Describing His Homeland

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In 2006, I am embarked on a life changing journey to USA, at the time pursuing my lifelong ambition of becoming a professional golfer on the pro circuit. Ok so reality soon set in and I realized that I was not quite to the standard required to make the mega bucks but my time in the States was soon enhanced when I met my wife, Heather in January 2008. Every since January 1st 2008, my life has changed around completely and I have cherished every minute since then.

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I am settled in the States right now with Heather and we are both on the same page in terms of our location being ideal for right now as it gives us a perfect spot to expand our travel horizons and explore new surroundings given the relatively low cost of living in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

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I am always asked the same old question – how on earth did you end up in the small town of Jonesboro? After going through the same spiel as I just described, it really makes me start thinking about England and how much I miss everything there is on offer there. Of course, it goes without saying that I miss my family, that is just a given but you get used to the fact that you can’t see them all the time.

There are so many decisions you have to make in life and you have to opt for those that you feel will make you a better person. At the same time, whenever I return to England on holidays for a week or so at a time, I certainly appreciate everything this great country has to offer.

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The old saying that you take things for granted when you are surrounded by them all the time is certainly true when considering your home country. I am sure if Heather moves with me to England at some point in the future, she will feel the same way about the States. Would we be able to survive without those amazing, free refills? What about that $3 gas that we are all complaining about? Trust me when you think about the price of a Coke or the price of gas (petrol) in England, you would appreciate these low costs an awful lot more than we probably do right now!

England really does have everything and I am not just saying that because I am patriotic or passionate about my home country. The thing that I really do miss the most is the proximity of locations within a region. I love the fact that whenever I am in England, if I am willing to drive up to 3 or 4 hours, the number of destinations is almost unlimited because there is so much to see within that radius. Whether it is city life, the coast or remote countryside that you are looking, everything is close together because you are so tightly packed on a small island. Again, I appreciate that this is not to everyone’s liking and many would be put off by the closeness of everyday life.

Another great aspect of England life is the history and heritage that is present throughout the nation. The architecture that spreads through those local hamlets that appear to have the same design and layout as they did centuries ago is astonishing but at the same time you look at the modern infrastructure within cities such as London and Manchester to show how the country is obviously moving with the times in the modern era!

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If I had to name my top 5 things I miss most about England, I would probably go with (in no particular order of course):

  • Family
  • Football (Soccer to the Americans reading this)
  • Golf Courses
  • Location/Proximity to other places
  • Food (Miss the good old English breakfast and of course the local chippy)

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 To any expats out there from any country, what do you miss most about your home country? 

Are you considering returning at some point in the future? 

How does your new country compare to your origin nation?

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Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article. Honest and really enjoyable to read.

    Being an expat is always a strange situation. On one hand you want to embrace the change, but you can’t hide from what you really are or love. I live in Austria but I know that my heart is and always will be in South Devon. Doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects here I like, but it lacks what is familiar, and we all like that and it’s not bad to say it. I miss banter and humour, the vibe is just different. Austria is a nice place but it is hellishly conservative and the people take themselves quite seriously. Of course, you won’t hear many expats saying that, why? Because to admit that there are things which you do not like about your new ‘home’ sends out a message that you don’t want to be there, and people are scared of this for some silly reason. So what normally happens is, you meet expats on the street and within 10 minutes they are spewing out a list of all the good things to help justify their decision to leave home. ” Oh yes, the healthcare is great, and the education, and the culture…oh…can you ski? we ski all the time! You really should ski…”

    When I meet fellow expats here in Austria they nearly always bash where they are from, like they need to justify the move and show that they are not at all attached to what used to be their world. Sometimes quite over the top attacks : ” I hate the UK, bloody dump, taken over, wont catch me back there..no way, no way in hell…( ok…ok,…we get it…)

    They also play this game, and expats all over the world do it – I’ve seen it in Hong Kong, the USA, Austria, Germany..it’s not an official game, but it’s essentially about showing that you have integrated FULLY and proving it. How do expats do this? By checking with other expats how well they have mastered the language, got to know the city, got to know OTHER expats ( Do you know so and so? Oh, right, you’re new! Bless! Ahhhh..let me show you how it works here! How’s your German? I’m pretty fluent now! It’s a game. There are the established long in the tooth expats who claim to be fully integrated..but if you want to find them it’s easy, they are the ones sitting in the Irish pub watching Sky Sports nursing their 6 euro pint of Guinness whilst reading a 4 day old copy of The Guardian. But ask them if they would go home…” Back to Britain? nah mate..washed up place, never…” Secretly though, it’s home…and it always will be. Doesnt mean that all expats are kidding themselves, but some do protest a bit too much and bash home for no reason. As you have written so honestly, it’s OK to to miss home and like it, it’s ok to go back now and then and even admit that one day we might just return. I will. Home is home, travel is great, even 20 or so years away is great, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we can eradicate our past.

    It all comes down to acting a little insecure “I’ve left my homeland and deep down I miss it like mad, but I cannot and will not let it show!”

    I love to play the game with established expats though. As Jeremy Clarkson said in an article about expats.
    They sit there in Spain, bitching about the UK and ripping it to shreds…after which they say:
    “You don’t happen to have a copy of yesterday’s Telegraph, do you?”

    Oh the irony.

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