Matt and Erica Chua: Finding a Home

Part 1 of 4: FINDING A HOME. When we left home we hoped that we’d find the city for us.  We’d walk the streets and feel comfortable.  We’d savor the foods and feel fine if we got fat there.  We’d see the homes and picture ourselves growing old there.  It would feel like home.  After visiting more than 200 cities, where have we decided to settle? Follow us on the second Wednesday of each month to discover what traveling the world taught us about where we want to call home.

The biggest question of all was what do we need in a home?  Do we need the creature comforts of the developed world, or do we want the daily adventure of the developing world?


Developing vs developed says it all, one is present-tense, happening now, one is past-tense, as in finished.  I can’t lie, I love the idea of the developing world, the constant change, the action, the loose liquor laws, but I don’t think it’s for me.

The reason to live in the developing world is simple: it’s where money will be made for my generation.  As the economies grow, so will the prosperity, get in early, play your cards right, and wealth will be created.

construction in HCMC

Vietnam, one of the places growth is happening today.

The downside of the developing world is the lifestyle.  Sure I can live great, have a driver to deal with the endless traffic jams, have a housekeeper to clean, and have assorted other staff that I’ll never be certain what they do.  Within a walled house everything seems great, but living with the crappy infrastructure, having to send my children to pretentious private schools, and being part of such a vast wealth distribution doesn’t interest me.

I want the adventure, the potential, the excitement that comes with developing economies.  I even want some of the danger that comes with it, the fact that governments may fall or I may occasionally see a tank rolling down the street, but in the end I love being able to enjoy my life fully, to have public spaces that surpass private ones.  I want the developed world.




Often times the potential for something to be great is more exciting than something that is already great. For me that is the allure of the developing world, there is so much possibility.  Somehow by  living in the developing world I feel like I could be part of a prospectively amazing place, it’s just not there yet. However, with the developed world you know what you get because it’s already lived up to it’s potential.

A gathering of Nepalese on strike during the “bandha” that shut down parts of Nepal as the country was trying to vote on a constitution.  Just one example of the type of adventure living in the developing world would bring.

Living in the developing world is enticing for me because everyday is an adventure where you may not get to work due to a strike or the road being washed out.  I love being on the “front line” the way you are in the developing world.  There’s nothing shielding you from the triumphs and struggles of daily life in the developing world.

The developed world may lack the thrill that an uncertain life can bring, but it allows for a comfortable level of security without living in a compound.  It allows for stability, which is especially important if you want to have a family.  And it brings a lifestyle that allows for more social interaction, enjoyment of the outdoors and less government instability.

In the end when I weigh both sides of the argument, the pros of the developed world out-weigh the cons. I still wouldn’t rule out living in the developing country for a short period of time, but creating a life amongst the chaos is a tough sell.  I know that the lifestyle I want is not suited for living in the developing world.

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