When's the right time to leave Taiwan?

It can be quite difficult for long-term expats such as myself to know when to call it quits. It

7pm is a good time to leave Taiwan particularly when travelling to Europe.
You fly over night get some sleep , arrive early in the morning Euro time & have the full day ahead of you.

Leaving permanently ? Leave when you have something better to go to.
ie Run towards something raher than running away from Taiwan.
If you have no qualifications or “prospects” here , it probably wont be much better somewhere else.

Everyone feels down about the place they live & the job they do from time to time . When I feel like that I always ask myself "What would I rather be doing? ". Cant think of anything? then cheer up & enjoy it.

Taiwan is a great place. I beleive in the “happiness is a journey not a destination” principle (most of the time …)& I almost always feel as if I am on an interesting journey here.

I tried that, I left Taiwan permanently last year to find a better life, got rid of all my belongings in Taiwan, my cats… :cry: . But it all went pair-shaped and I had little choice but to come back. So now I am stuck in Taiwan and leaving is no longer a viable option.

You might want to consider leaving Taiwan:

  1. when every sentence you say ends with “ah”, “yah”, “lah”, “ler”, “oh”…
  2. when you think squating with your legs wide open on the street eating soup noodle is normal and a form of machoism
  3. if you find yourself (or your children) “v-ing” in all the pictures in the family album (a.k.a. the “peace” sign to most Westerners; bet you didn’t know that Taiwan is such a “peace” loving nation)
  4. when you start to sing along Taiwanese (as opposed to Mandarin) songs in the taxi cabs with the driver
  5. when your Mandarin carries a slant of Taiwanese accent
  6. when you begin to find yourself looking better and better in pseudo-Japanese fashion
  7. when you think driving a Cadelliac shows class and taste
  8. when you start shaving your forearm and chest hair just to fit in
  9. when chewing betel-nuts becomes a social thing
  10. when you find local soap operas additictive

You see three people on a motorcycle and figure there’s room for two more
You look both ways before crossing the sidewalk
You don’t notice the smell
You stop conjugating verbs
The main reason you stop at 7-1 1 is to -buy tea eggs
Firecrackers don’t wake you up
Your family stops asking when you’ll be coming back
You can’t think of any good reason to leave
You find yourself saying, "Oh geez, not ANOTHER Year of the Rat!’
Other foreigners give you a funny look when you tell them how long you’ve been here
You’re very concerned about not losing face.
Even YOU are bored by your stories, which begin “When I first came to Taiwan…”

Thanks to Hsinchu Dick

I’ve left Taiwan permanently several times. It’s no good. This place really is Hotel California.

All of these lists sound like reasons to stay, not leave. Why leave when you’re already used to it?

Then again, perhaps thinking that should be on the list as well.

almasjohn, it’s time to leave when you start thinking it’s time to leave and post a post like this on a forum here. Try it. Leave. See what else is out there. It’s a big world.

If you’re contemplating leaving, I say


I’ll tell you why: Three years ago, after having spent a year here, I became incredibly frustrated and left. Not three months later and I was back again. Taiwan, although a real pain in the ass sometimes, is one on the better places to live. And I’ve lived most everywhere. Well not really but enough to know. Hexuan said it best–this the hotel California.

To find this out, you’ll have to leave.

Mr. Wilde (my #1 celebrity desert island pick) said something once about how we only appreciate something when we don’t have it.

So go.

You’ll be back.

The way I see it is that there is no right or wrong time to leave Taiwan, at least not at this point. Of course if Mainland China was about to attack and everyone knew it would definitely happen, then I think I would probably leave…

Well, I left once and a couple of years later came back again. Then I left again. I’m still not sure whether I will come back to Taiwan, but it is possible.

I think leaving the first time was a good idea. It puts Taiwan in perspective and you can have a better idea of what is really good and bad about the place. Then you can make a much better decision about coming back again.

I enjoy living in Taiwan, and that’s part of the problem. I’m just annoyed at myself for being sidetracked from projects in Mongolia and Burma by less exciting ones here. Just spent 8 months writing (in my freetime) a textbook. That was double what I expected it to take.
It must be a lot easier if your departure is based around saving a certain amount of money. My goal is to write three books about Taiwan and it is very difficult to know how long the mothers will take.

[quote=“alleycat”]Mr. Wilde (my #1 celebrity desert island pick) said something once about how we only appreciate something when we don’t have it.

“That’s very witty, Wilde – I wish I’d said that!”
And here was me thinking that was Joni Mitchell.
I think Poagao said it best in his post – they’re all reasons to stay, far as I’m concerned.
I was also going to make a wisecrack about the perils to some of us at being marooned on a desert island with Oscar Wilde, but that would be a little too un-PC, even for me.


So go.

You’ll be back.[/quote]

Not this time. I’m leaving next summer and I won’t be back, except for visits and business.
I came back three separate occassions, for personal reasons which are now non-factors, I but haven’t left properly since I returned in 96.

I never have liked living here that much. I think I just felt more stuck than anything else. Not knowing what I’d do elsewhere. It’s the glue that keeps most of us here, we must admit it if we’re honest.

But now, I am saving money like a mad person, and luckily, I’ll still be doing some consultancy type work for companies in Taiwan, so I won’t actually have to live here any longer to profit from that. The guanxi, experience, and education I’ve worked so hard to achieve over the years is paying off, and it’s the perfect time for me to move on. Of course I may miss Taiwan in some ways, but the world is a big place, while Taiwan is only a tiny little island.

So, I’m not ‘going back’, I’m ‘going forward’, and I’m psyched about it. I shall boldly split my infinitives and travel new roads. And become a wee fish in a very big pond. Somewhere else.


I knew you’d “slip in” something naughty Sandie, but no he’d be there only for discourse.

shouldn’t it be “deserted island?” Deserts do not have islands, do they. They have oases, but not islands. But then, again Oscar Wilde probably would be unPC whomever he screwed.

Desert island?
Dessert island?
Deserted island?
Desserted island?

OK. Here is the real question:
I want to live in a place that is just as (fill in reasons you like it here) as the Taiwan that I have loved (and hated) for the last decade and a half.

Life is hard, then you die…but not in Taiwan I hope.

I wish Taiwan had more cultural options, like London say. Things are changing–a revival cinema here, an exhibition there–slowly though.

In a decade or so, this could be a great city, if it incorporates the new and still manages to keep its inexpicable charm, the charm that keeps us here, through plague, typhoons, earthquakes, pollution, and the rest.

Can you imagine a Taipei like that?

Yep, Alleycat, one of the main reasons i stay here is because it’s one of the few places that i’ve lived in that is actually improving. I’m sure that it will continue.

BTW Fredericka, very good post.

I stay because I get stuck everywhere I go. First I got stuck in my hometown. Then I got stuck at my university for seven years, then in teaching at that same stupid university. And now in Taiwan. When actually I had planned to do a little of Japan too, and maybe some Spain, and then a bite of Mexico.

Whenever I weed myself into some spot, I find it impossible to leave the friends, pets, haunts, security, potted plants, entertainment, etc behind. I love being in a big city, but also finding that one place where everybody knows your name. Sad but true.
I guess I’ll leave when this batch of guinea pigs make their little trip to guinea heaven, or when I get a shot at life with Wilde on a dessert island. Whichever comes first…