Did you move around a lot as a kid?

How many apply: (1) yr parents born in different countries, (2) you lived at least 1 yr outside yr native country before age 16, (3) at least 3 yrs outside country before 16, (4) lived in at least 6 locations before 16, (5) don’t have a "home tow

  • None of those applies to me
  • One applies
  • Two apply
  • Three apply
  • Four apply
  • Five apply

0 voters

I wonder if most forumosans, who are likely to be living outside their native country presently or in the past, are different from other people “back home.” Do we generally come from more migratory backgrounds, with parents who moved around a lot when we were kids, so we’ve got less of an attachment to one place and are just as comfortable living in foreign lands as back home.

That’s not necessarily the case. It’s perfectly possible some of us lived for generations in the same spot and we never ventured out of the county, much less country, until we became interested in Asia/Chinese/Taiwan as adults. But I suspect that’s not the case for most of us. Just curious.

As for me, I never lived in any foreign countries as a child, but my father was an immigrant, coming to the US at age 7, my family lived in lots of different locations on both coasts of the US, and I have no place I can call my “home town.” I believe my dad’s immigrant status is relevant. I believe because of that, he had no “home town” and was comfortable moving from one location to the next, and I believe I learned the lifestyle from him.

Sometimes it seems it might be nice to have lived in the same town for generations, to get together from time to time with good friends you have known since kindergarten, to live close by your parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. But, that was not my fate and I have no regrets. How about you?

I’m American, as are both my parents.

I was born in the UK when my father was doing his doctoral research there. Between my birth and age 13, I lived in England 3 separate times, Chicago once and California 4 separate times, and by that time I had visited 13 countries.

My father (a doctoral student, and subsequently a professor of early English literature and director of an overseas education program) moved around a lot, taking the rest of us with him. He finally settled down when I was 13, and the five years afterwards were the longest period of “stay-puttedness” in my life since. After 18, I began moving around a lot.

I think that my living abroad and love of travel is directly connected to my parents’ habit of traveling to and living in different countries. My parents still spend several months each year in the UK - my father’s main purpose for going there is the same as when I was born: academic research.

I consider Berkeley, CA, my hometown because I spent 11 years living there (though broken up into four separate stretches) between my birth and my high school graduation at 18, and my parents still live in the same house there that I grew up in.

As a child I lived in two different cities. Although I was in bording school in a third city for three years. As an adult I lived and worked in two additional cities. First time I left the country was as an adult in the Navy. After six years of that I decided to come to Taiwan to study Chinese. Probably due to wanderlust instilled during my Navy stint.

Don’t really have a place back in SA I would consider home or my hometown. Probably why I haven’t bothered to go back in three years.

Born in California, then about a year living in Scotland. Back to the U.S. living in at least 6 different locations before 16 years old.
Left California for Japan in 1980 and came here in 1983.
I think moving around as a kid has something to do with my ending up over here and staying so long.

My Pop was in the USAF and I was born on Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Lived also on bases in San Angelo and Houston and on Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. But, that was all before the age of 5. When my Pop got out of the Air Force in 1968, He and Mom moved back to Pittsburgh (where both of them are from), where I went to school from grade 1 through graduate school. So, Pittsburgh is my home town (Go Steelers!).

While I was in jr. and sr. high school (and well after), my family hosted several exchange students and as a result I have a sister from Sweden and a brother and sister from Germany. My folks believed that travel was a good education and I went to Europe while I was in high school, and then in college. But, my interest was primarily with China from a very young age.

I came to Taiwan after graduating from college and … well, I’m still here after graduating from the rest of my schooling after that…

We (wife and I) wonder where our boy will end up… though, “end up” is probably not the way to look at this… he could be very mobile…

Does that mean what it sounds like? Your dad took an active part in educating the foreign exchange students, eh? :howyoudoin:

Hmm, Grandmother moved to Canada and had Mum (Canadian citizen) who came back to the UK and married Dad.

Dad was in high street banking (not the sexy investment kind) and moved from town to town for promotion. As a result I lived in
Croydon (Surrey) to 3 months
New Ash Green (Kent) to 4 years old
Peterborough (Cambs) to 7/8 years old
Maidenhead (Berks) to 10 years old
Bristol to 18 years old, but 3 areas, 4 schools…3 of them in a 12 month period!
London to 21 years old

After this I take full responsibility for
Bradford (W.yorks) to 24
Milton Keynes to 25
Slough (Berks) to 26
Cardiff to28
Bradford (W.Yorks) to 29
Hong Kong to 31
Seoul only 7months
Hong Kong to 32
Ho Chi Minh City to 34
Hong Kong only 3 months
Taipei until now

Most of the people I know that have lived abroad had parents who either came from overseas or had lived overseas. I am convinced that it removes a barrier that is there for those who grew up with all their cousins and who’s parents never went further than the coast.

My movement pattern is a little unusual, my sister has been in New Zealand for the last 5 years and is now a Kiwi, but my brother has been in Charlton, London since he was 13 years old…go figure.

I onced counted and before going to college I had lived in 20 different places on 3 different continents. It was great to be exposed to so many different cultures but it sucked to not have any long term friends. After college I kept on moving, NJ to San Francisco to LA to Taipei to …

Hey hey, maybe I finally found a place to call home…I’m from F.com!

My mother is the UK, my dad is Canadian.
Army brat: postings to Germany, Norway, Belgium, Ghana, Scotland. By 16, had 9 years outta the country. Lived in countless Canadian Cities. No real hometown. Such was the life of the children of a career cold warrior. :neutral:

Dad’s from Celaya, in Guanajuato, Mexico, but grew up in Mexico City. Mom’s from Stark, Florida, and met him while studying Spanish (one of her various languages) in D.F… After they did grad school in Fla., Dad got a lifelong job with John Deere in Moline, Ill., where I was born. I lived in East Moline, Madrid Spain, E. Moline again, then Monterrey Mexico for 5 years. High school in Moline, college in Champaign Ill., grad school in Columbus Ohio, then moved to Taipei on August 11, 1994. I’ve been here longer than any other city! :astonished:

Since I was born in Moline and finished high school there, I sometimes call it my hometown, even though I only spent days 1-3 there and then years 15-17 and have no family there. (My folks live in Celaya, having retired to Dad’s hometown.)

I expect I’ll marry and settle down here permanently. :smiley:

I fidgetted alot.

[quote=“TheGingerMan”]My mother is the UK, my dad is Canadian.
Army brat: postings to Germany, Norway, Belgium, Ghana, Scotland. By 16, had 9 years outta the country. Lived in countless Canadian Cities. No real hometown. Such was the life of the children of a career cold warrior. :neutral:[/quote]
In my case Navy (Australian) brat. 14 schools in 4 states (and PNG) before 13. Since adulthood 1 year in Yokohama, 4 years in Tokyo, 2.2+ years in Taipei. Have visited all continents except S. America. The longest I’ve ever lived in the same dwelling was 3 years in my apartment in Tokyo.

Never moved when I was a kid, not even within Germany. Moved to Malaysia for work and now Taiwan. I guess a year or more and I will go somewhere else again (probably around Asia) though I think I will eventually settle down / retire back home.

[quote=“llama_lout”][quote=“TheGingerMan”]My mother is the UK, my dad is Canadian.
Army brat: postings to Germany, Norway, Belgium, Ghana, Scotland. By 16, had 9 years outta the country. Lived in countless Canadian Cities. No real hometown. Such was the life of the children of a career cold warrior. :neutral:[/quote]
In my case Navy (Australian) brat. 14 schools in 4 states (and PNG) before 13. Since adulthood 1 year in Yokohama, 4 years in Tokyo, 2.2+ years in Taipei. Have visited all continents except S. America. The longest I’ve ever lived in the same dwelling was 3 years in my apartment in Tokyo.[/quote]

Oz airforce brat, I was actually born on the road, almost literally. Folks were driving a VW from Melbourne to Sydney and I stepped out at Wagga Wagga, of all the farking places in the world! I have spent more time writing down my ridiculous place of birth on assorted forms than I ever spent there. Wagga Wagga is even considered hilarious in Oz, so you can just imagine the crap I’ve endured from that stain on my birth certificate over the years!

And the worst thing is at the time my parents were living in Kirribili, which if you look it up is where the prime minister lives, smack on Sydney Harbour. Why didn’t they just stay there? I’d be obscenely rich now if they had.

The local folks, or those familiar with it, never say Wagga twice. There’s even a joke about a flood and how it washed away half the town and now it’s just called Wagga. Of course, me, who believed they were taking the word “gullible” out of the Oxford English dictionary (“but why would they do that?”), said, “really?” And no, for the millionth time, I do not know the Joneses of Wagga, even though I “must!”

Three posting, two states and three houses later, Penang, Malaysia. Six years later back to West Oz where my old man bailed out of the services and we settled down. Sort of. With the extended family in Sydney, we regularly hit the road across Australia. Back then it was four days drive each way at the least. Left school when I was 15 to go shearing and split West Oz at 23 to hit the wider road. Four countries, four Oz states and countless homes, I was 28 when it dawned on me that the house I’d lived in for three years marked the longest I’d ever lived in the same gaffe.

In a way, Sydney is my home town, at least when asked, but I have very few links there these days.

The only legacy I think I have from this is a strong sense that wherever I live is my home and that I don’t have to pussyfoot around, even if it is technically not my country. And I don’t have a car.


Geez, thanks guys for confirming that I am a freak! :wink:

My first 18 years were all spent in my hometown in Ohio, with a whopping poulation of 6,000. My mother was born there, my dad nearby. All of my family (extended) still lives within 60 miles bar me and one cousin.

Then I took the BIG :unamused: leap to go 2 hours away to University in Columbus, Ohio. (OT Dragonbones, OSU?) Stayed there the requisite time. Saved money.

March 1996 - moved to Taiwan, met future hubby. (not TWese, but Aussie)
August 1996 - moved to Australia, lived in Melbourne.
June 2002 - married hubby in good ole US of A
August 2002 - back to Taiwan.

Visited and travelled to quite a few places in between.

My family is both fascinated and mortified! :laughing:

Everyone else’s stories are way cooler! :slight_smile:


Don’t feel lonely, I moved even less than you… born on NZ’s West Coast, third generation West Coaster, in the region’s biggest town (population around 7000, 15000 including all the farming areas), father’s family all live within 3 blocks of us. During childhood went to the North Island once, all other holidays in the South Island. University at 17. Came to Taipei at age 21, 11 years later still here.

What inspired me to travel? Maybe my elementary school teachers - one lived on a kibbutz for five years, another spent many years in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, and brought wonderful stories to the classroom. Maybe all the second-hand National Geographics in our home. Or maybe it was my great-grandmothers leather-bound book - Shepp’s Photographs of the World, published 1902.

Lived in a few different places in Sweden, been to school in 4 different places, but didn’t leave the country as such until I was 22. Not as lucky as some of you :wink:
Travelling is great though, wish I could do a lot more of it.

Very interesting topic. Sometimes I wish I had a “Hometown” and knew lots of family. My dad’s sister’s son or 2 daughters could walk across the street, smack me in the face, and I still wouldn’t know who they were.

Born in Seville, Spain, to a USAF officer. Moved from there to Nebraska (SAC HQ, I believe). Then, to the Panama Canal Zone, Pacific side (Ft. Clayton, Albrook AFB), then Dayton, Ohio. And finally, Northern Virginia (Washington, D.C.) where I turned 8 years old and dad exited the Air Force. Twas a very transient area with many families there associated with the military or U.S. gov’t, so when I go back to visit the folks, not too many peeps I knew way back when are still around. Some . . . but not many.

I definitely got my wanderlust from those early childhood experiences. When the folks went down to Panama, we took the boat down from Florida to Cartegena, Columbia. When we came back we drove the Pan-American highway through Central America and Mexico - crazy people my parents - they had 6 children under the age of 13 in a Town and Country Station wagon cruising the mountains of Costa Rica and such.

In coming back to the States from Taiwan in the early part of the 1990’s, it was my goal to acquire more schooling that would lead me to a career that would enable me to travel. Didn’t quite achieve that - the travel part. I miss living abroad. Hope to do some traveling, though.


Lots of interesting stories. Not surprisingly, lots of military brats (or children of uni profs).

Of course there are pros and cons to everything. Having been continuously uprooted, I’ve told myself over the years, enables one to see many different places, learn to adapt in new settings with new friends and acquaintances, and perhaps strive for bigger, more adventurous, more exciting goals. One has a broader vision and, like a chameleon, learns valuable adaptive skills that others may lack to the same extent.

On the other hand, the intimate familiarity, long-term stability and life-long friends gained from living in one place for so long: that sounds great too and I’ve felt envy from time to time. I would think such people may feel more at peace with themselves, with less need to keep striving, exploring, moving on to the next thing. I sometimes get a cozy, homey feeling being around such people, as they chat about their life-long friends and their seemingly tranquil lives, and feel I’m faking it sitting there talking with them, pretending we share common bonds, because I am actually completely alien from them, as if we were from different planets.