Any Substance Free Expats out there?

I don’t smoke, nor do I drink, which on the one hand makes me feel good about myself, my health, and my wallet, but on the other, makes me feel very little connection to this place where it seems like most expats I’ve met spend a lot of their free time partying or staying up late at night and sleeping late through the morning. Don’t mistake me for disliking or judging such people. The truth is my body reacts badly to smoke and I’m allergic to alcohol, therefore I don’t find bars and clubs particularly appealing. I’d like to know if there’s anyone out there in Taiwan who chooses a substance-free lifestyle. What do you do to enjoy your stay here?

Join some activities like the hiking club or games club for example. Or revive the movie club if you like going to the cinema.

Many things you can do without drinking or smoking. :slight_smile:

You can join a good church, most christians don’t smoke, drink or go to wild parties. You can give a try.


Read, photography, chat with friends, go out to the occasional meal, perhaps two movies a year, church.

Many are not really in the clubs to drink I think? More like “picking up the chicks” .

You are referring to Taiwanese churchgoers, right, not expat churchgoers I hope?

I have been accused of having no substance. But in fact I am quite substantial.
It has been 7 months since my last cigarette.

Have you not noticed that you’re on an island? A beautiful one at that? What is there NOT to do?
Surf, go to the beach, go to Taroku park, go creek walking, go for a hike, go try some new foods in a night market, get lost in the woods with your guitar, learn to play guitar, learn chinese, learn any of the many cheap classes they have, go to a museum, go to one of the very many outdoor music events, go for a walk and check out your neighborhood…
I was there for years without substances. It was wonderful.

Just have local friends and not expat ones and you’ll find that much easier.

You are referring to Taiwanese churchgoers, right, not expat churchgoers I hope?[/quote]

Oh no, I am talking about expat churches, there are some in Taiwan, people are really nice, don’t drink or smoke, and I am not talking about mormons (they are not really christians). There are baptist churches in Taipei and Kaoshiung.

I’m substance free, but I do go out to bars, meals with friends etc. I find that usually nobody bats an eyelid if you aren’t a drinker but you get the occasional “But you are British, you don’t drink OR watch football… Wow you must be some sort of free-thinking anarchist” sort of stares.

Also the substance-free thing isn’t a badge I wear. I remember that straight-edge subculture in the early 2000’s where they would endlessly bang on about great they were for not doing any drugs, drink or whatever.

Pretentious qunts.

I drink (very little), that’s it. Now, I spend my time changing diapers. During the season, I play ice hockey. Spend too much time online, working, and taking photos; listen to audio books almost constantly.

When I first showed up in Taiwan, ten years back, I spent maybe 6 months in the pubs, then moved on to hanging out with my girlfriend, mountain biking, practicing t’ai chi, relaxing in cafes, and spending too much time playing games, hanging out in an underground movie theatre.

I’m fairly happy spending large blocks of time on my own, so the quiet ex-pat life suits me well. But if you’re not, there’s lots of stuff going on, assuming you can find your niche.

I drink strong, black coffee. Other than caffeine, I’m substance free and always find plenty to do. Boredom is not possible in Taiwan, IMO.

I understand the OP. Generally, is the younger crowd, fresh out of the boat, that takes being away from home as “no rules anymore” ticket. Actually, I think being without peer social preassure just brings what really lies inside of them, their true selves, and nice or not, sometimes wild things happen when mixed with alcohol or other substances…

I echo the other people’s advice: there is a lot to do, and many interesting people to meet, who are not just only into the bar hopping scene every weekend/night. Widen your horizons, or just stand your ground. You can have a good time out and just don’t drink, though smoke is less avoidable.

How do you cope without substances? I need something to gatecrash my madness from time to time.

If one lacks substance,or mettle, one is most certainly not free.
But what do I know, I’m high on life and just how darn nice folks are everywhere…

OK, to be an awful hippy … you have to strip away all these layers. Replacing drink with vanity or distraction is not a solution.

Many Taiwanese people neither drink nor smoke. I had a couple of club buddies way back when. One of them smoked but wouldn’t touch a drop and one of them drank but hated smoking.

I’m a one or two drinks and a few cigarettes a day type of guy. Moderation works for me.

Thanks for the responses everyone. It has helped my mood quite a bit.

I’ve lived the “quiet” ex-pat life for a while now, and it’s getting a bit lonely. I’d prefer something a bit more active. I miss getting to hang out and going on adventures with good and interesting people.

I’ve thought about going to church, however I’m not a Christian or a believer. Now, a question about that. The church I attended back in New York were often very welcoming to all sorts of people and were a lot more concerned about community and community service than about scripture and worship. I’m not sure how different (or similar) the churches are here. The local Christians I’ve met are very proud about their religion and lifestyle, many having boasted being truth-tellers, loyal church-goers, god-lovers, which is fine, but also admittedly makes me a bit uncomfortable (reminds me too much of certain so-called Christians in the US). To those of you who attend church, would you mind telling me about what it’s like and what you do with your church community?

and to TomHill:

I used to do taekwondo. Wailing on someone else’s ass (with his permission, of course) always helps. That, and you still get to hang out with some good people. I highly recommend it.

Speaking of which (although this is probably a more appropriate question for the “Where can I find” forum), anyone know of a taekwondo school or club in Kaohsiung that isn’t overrun by children? It’s one of those activities I’ve been dying to do since I got here, but I’ve yet to find a place to do it.

Yup, fighting is good too. Weapons help me through the week.

I am much more happy since I gave up sitting around only drinking.

Now I bought one of those horse simulators, sit on it, listen to country music, shoot imaginative cowboys (not Native Americans of course) … and drink.