Welcome to October in the Displaced Nation — a month of night terrors and gruesome tales, all with a global spin.
While most us regard telling horror stories round the campfire as just a bit of harmless fun, some unfortunate souls find the experience too close for comfort. Many global travelers, when they first embark upon an expat lifestyle, see the change as a way to escape past events. And why not? New surroundings can mean a chance to reinvent yourself, to live the dream.
Sadly, as these news stories attest this week, the dream can sometimes become a nightmare:
A 41-year-old French businessman in Dubai is on trial, accused of holding a woman prisoner and using white magic to persuade her to marry him;
A British man in Turkey was convicted of murdering his Russian wife after he discovered she used to be a man;
A Thai woman plundered her British husband’s bank account to pay a hitman to kill him;
A British expat in Spain drowned in the freak floods last week.
The last incident seems particularly sad in its irony: leaving rainy Britain for sunny Spain, only to perish in Spanish floods.
Often underlying the media stories such as these is the insinuation that, had these unfortunate people never strayed from their homelands, the situations wouldn’t have arisen. True enough in case number 1 — it’s difficult to be accused of practicing white magic in France. But the others? They could happen anywhere. Homegrown horror stories are every bit as bad as those cultivated abroad.
Although — thankfully — most of our misfortunes are not as extreme as the examples above, we’ve probably all had moments when we’ve thought, “This wouldn’t have happened if…” Yet how helpful is that train of thought, really?
So, to travel or not to travel? To take risks at home — or abroad? If you’re asking this, you’re already halfway there. Perhaps at this point you should turn to C.S Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew, where Digory and Polly have found themselves in a strange world, in front of a mysterious bell and hammer bearing the following message:
Make your choice, adventurous Stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.
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About The Displaced Nation
The founders of The Displaced Nation share a passion for what we call the "displaced life" of global residency and travel—particularly when it leads to creative pursuits, be it writing, art, food, business or even humo(u)r.
I often think how different our lives would have been had we not taken our “big leap”; and it did feel like a big leap at the time, to come to America from the UK for a 3 year job secondment! It was so difficult to think of leaving family behind, but then 3 years we thought, it will fly and we will be back. Needless to say, 18 years later we are not back! We have had many travels and experiences, none of which have yet killed us, a few close calls (there are some very bad taxi drivers in Asia lol!). The thought of looking back one day and saying “what if” was our motivation then. Glad we took our own advice.
I agree! Somehow having Kate frame it like this made me realize that if I had it do again, I would have made the same choices. (Thanks, Kate! You’re better than a psychologist. :))
We try to be all things to all people at this site, don’t we, ML?!
I hear you, Lynn — better than most 🙂
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