My last entry detailed the frontrunners in the “Where Anthony Might Move” sweepstakes, but there are some dark horses that I have some knowledge about. They’re unlikely compared to China, Taiwan and Thailand but who knows? I’ll go where the jobs/news stories are.
Thailand could be described as Disney Land. Neighboring Cambodia could be described as a country dealing with an unimaginable genocide. I was there for a long weekend a couple years ago and it truly was a terrifying place. Lawless, chaotic and unforgettable. Any vice –some of which would mean years in jail if indulged in back in the United States - is just a few dollars away.
Most of the weekend was spent in Siem Reap and around the Angkor temples. Phnom Penh, from what I saw, was impossible to fathom with its lack of rules and order. It was like the Wild West. The Wild Wild West. The Wicked Wild Wild West. If I were to move to Cambodia, I’d likely be based here and it seems like a miserable city to spend a lot of time in.
The plus side is that there are so many fascinating stories here form a journalistic standpoint. Every family has tales that would make me realize how blessed I’ve been in my life. There’s also the occasional border skirmish with Thailand and how foreign investments are poring into the country. The only problem would be getting around the language barrier. Khmer isn’t the easiest of language to learn or the most practical.
Ideally, I’d just be visiting Cambodia. I don’t think I could live there.
Update: My perception of Cambodia changed with this video. I want to go now. Embedding isn't allowed, but do check it out.
When it comes to newsworthy events, Vietnam is as interesting as Cambodia. The problem is that the communist government isn’t the most welcoming to Western reporters.
I spent a week in and around Hanoi and it just didn’t do it for me. People were up by 6 a.m. with their motorcycles honking endlessly, and by 10 p.m. the city was shut down. It was a great trip, especially since northern Vietnam was much more “traditional” than any other place I’ve been, but I don’t know how much I’d enjoy it. It’d be unfair to rule it out since I only saw practically nothing in the country. Ho Chi Minh City sounds like Hanoi on crack/speed/caffeine.
The reason I’m lumping these two countries together is because my motivation to live in either is based on the same thing: money. Korea has the best pay when compared to living cost for teachers, and Japan also pays more than I could dream of making at a newspaper. The living costs in Japan are exorbitant, which is a bit of a downer. The reason I’d want to move abroad is to go on cheap adventures.
Still, I’d love to visit both countries but I don’t know about living in either.
I dated a girl from Malaysia and had vague aspirations of moving there, but it was never meant to be. It’d be fun (and super awkward) to see her again, but I think I’d be pretty useless in Malaysia. English is widely spoken (along with Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay) and reporting is often difficult thanks to yet another not-so-open-minded Asian government. Plus, it’s hotter than balls down here. Thailand is practically an arctic climate comparatively. Considering how disgusting I’d look by 1 p.m. in a typical day of class while in Bangkok, I don’t think it’s the best climate for me.
My heart races when I think of chasing down stories in Cambodia while dodging landmines, but the reality is I need to find a place where I can hold a steady job (i.e. teaching) and live somewhat decently until I get my feet on the ground. I’ll eventually figure out what country is the best for that.