Expats In Ho Chi Minh City: Alexander, Austria
Name: Alexander Egert
Overseas since: Since 1976 (38 years)
Could you name some of the countries you’ve lived in since leaving the place where you grew up?
Italy, France, Germany, the US, Hong Kong, Vietnam.
What’s your definition of ‘home’?
Where I look forward to arriving after any length of absence, drop everything, stretch my legs, and be irresponsibly stress free.
How did you become an expat?
Expats carry their home country in their suitcase and gather in national clubs and associations. I feel I am a citizen of this world and feel at home wherever I decide to set up tent. Since reading my first travel books it was clear to me that in my world boundaries won’t exist! So one day I packed my Beetle and drove south to Rome. That’s how I became a globetrotter.
Have you discovered any new passions during your time as an expat?
Traveling increased my curiosity in other cultures and their customs. In particular their cuisine.
Have you held any unusual jobs or titles over the years you’ve been abroad?
I have started quite a few unusual enterprises, like a shipyard and a modeling agency amongst other businesses.
How has being an expat changed your perception of your home country?
It has not. It’s just another part of my world.
Can you think of any particular moment, exchange or encounter that made you mentally or emotionally feel you’d left home “for good”?
Possibly my marriage here in Vietnam.
Are there any ways in which your adopted country has changed your behavior or thinking significantly?
Yes and no. It has stopped me from smoking, changed my driving behavior, and the climate furthered my laziness. It has no negative influence on my thinking nor my emotions.
Do you have a pet hate about the country you currently live in?
The total absence of consideration and gentlemanlike attitude on the road can sometimes get into my red zone.
What’s most surprising or useful insight you could offer a new expat in your adopted country?
Be patient and don’t judge or measure with your home yardstick! Learn the language as this will help to understand the way the locals click. Behave the same way you would like them to behave in your country.
What aspect of life as an expat is most challenging or worrisome for you?
The lack of security across a wide range of life.
Can you see yourself living in your adopted country indefinitely?
Yes and no. Given the financial needs here are covered and allow me to visit and travel to other countries I’d say yes. The country’s economic uncertainty or regional geopolitics might make me move on. It is a comfortable, friendly and affordable place as a base, from where to continue to explore some parts I have not yet seen. South America would be an attractive alternative.