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Am I the only one who gets annoyed by "where are you from?"


by @replay | 5yr  | 13 comments

-rant on-
Iโ€™m out of my home country (Switzerland) since about 10 years now and Iโ€™ve spent most of those years in places where itโ€™s pretty obvious that Iโ€™m probably no local (European in Asia / Africa).

I feel like whenever I talk with anybody, no matter how casual or unimportant the conversation is, like for example talking to a taxi driver while going somewhere, or talking with the waiter at a bar while waiting for my drink, one of the first question is always the exact same โ€œWhere are you from?โ€. I donโ€™t mind sharing my story with anybody who wants to know it, the reason why I get annoyed is because everybody is asking the same question while actually I really do not think the answer matters at all.

Whether I reply with โ€œSwitzerlandโ€ or any other random country that comes to my mind, how is the behavior of the person asking going to differ after knowing that? Obviously there are certain situations where this question makes sense, like when applying for a visa, but in >90% of the cases it does not matter at all.

Lately Iโ€™ve started trying to figure that out more precisely by giving various different answers like Russia, South Africa, Namibia, Argentina, Sweden (many people think thatโ€™s the same as Switzerland anyway :slight_smile: and observed the reactions. As far as I could tell, unless Iโ€™m picking the wrong one which has some obviously bad relation ship with the country Iโ€™m currently in (e.g. say Norway in China), I could not see any difference.

The conclusion is Iโ€™ll continue giving out random answers and watch how the people react :slight_smile: .
-rant off-

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@worldtravel | 5yr

I donโ€™t ask people where their from or what they doโ€ฆwhen you travel and you have to repeat over and over it gets tiringโ€ฆ

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@normaldude | 5yr

When people around the world hear that Iโ€™m from New York City, their faces light up, they get all excited, they talk about how they love NYC, recite NYC trivia, ask about obscure NYC restaurants, even though theyโ€™ve never been to NYC. Some will ask absurd questions like โ€œHave you ever met my cousin Bob? He lives in Brooklynโ€ฆโ€ and Iโ€™ll just chuckle, and say โ€œSorry, no, itโ€™s a big cityโ€.

But when I say that Iโ€™m from another US town or city, people just have a blank look on their face, and they say โ€œOh, thatโ€™s niceโ€.

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@replay | 5yr

Actually I didnโ€™t mean to assume that there is any animosity in that question, but I also donโ€™t believe it means that people are really interested in learning about me (with few exceptions), I think most of the time itโ€™s just a gap filler to avoid awkward silence when they donโ€™t know what else to say :slight_smile: . What I donโ€™t like about it is that often it feels like they try to put me into a scheme or categorize me based on my answer, despite the fact that I believe that the category I usually end up in is just โ€œwestern guyโ€ anyway (plus maybe some unimportant associations like Roger Federer). So whatโ€™s the point of the question then, or why not just ask whatโ€™s the middle name of my grand mother instead :stuck_out_tongue: ?

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@neutron | 5yr

From what I can tell, people tend to ask this because theyโ€™re interested in finding out more about you, so they can find out ways to engage with your more (drum up further conversation). Iโ€™ve never heard this question asked with animosity. I find it very flattering when people ask where Iโ€™m from. It means theyโ€™re interested in you (or you are interesting).

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Ultimately, it doesnโ€™t matter. Like you said, nobody ever treats you differently if you say another country (unless itโ€™s aggravating).

Iโ€™m English. I have an English accent, but Iโ€™m also half-Asian and people use the โ€œWhere are you from?โ€ to really mean โ€œWhat race are you?โ€ - I get it a lot in Dubai (where Iโ€™ve been living for the last 2 years). If theyโ€™re not happy with โ€œEnglandโ€ and ask โ€œBut where are you really from?โ€, I answer with โ€œMy motherโ€™s vagina - you?โ€ which tends to shut people up rather abruptly. :wink:

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

I hate that question. my standard answer โ€œIโ€™m originally from Chicago but I havenโ€™t lived there in decadesโ€

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@rudiments | 5yr

Youโ€™ve chosen to have a highly irregular lifestyle and dealing with repetitive questions is one of the downsides you just have to deal with. I have a different issue. I have lived in several different places and havenโ€™t lived in my home state for more than a decade, yet I still feel a strong attachment to it. The question begs a short answer, but mine is long and complicated. People really are just pinging you for some sort of connection. They could also ask, โ€œwhat do you do?โ€ but that is rude in a lot of cultures. They could also ask, โ€œwho is your favorite Bolshevik revolutionary?โ€ but that would be a bit esoteric.

I still love asking the question, even though I know it is irritating or complicated for a handful of people. I really enjoy places, have been to many and know many more from maps, so I often have some way of digging deeper and connecting no matter the response.

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Curiosity. People ask because itโ€™s human nature to want to be able to relate to the person youโ€™re talking to.

How many times have you answered that question to have the questioner regale you of the time they went to Switzerland and blah blah blah or how they have a friend/family member who went 5 years ago or how they have seen pictures and think its beautiful and would love to be able to go some day.

Itโ€™s not about creed, race or anything like that. Itโ€™s about trying to converse.

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@replay | 5yr

Doesnโ€™t what youโ€™re saying actually mean it really doesnโ€™t matter what I reply?

If the person talking only wants to converse about some family member who has been to country X a few years ago I can smile and nod no matter if country X is identical to whatโ€™s written on my passport or not.

Maybe the problem is just that even within Switzerland I actually only know one place and Iโ€™ve been there only once for 4 days during the past 10 years, so I wonโ€™t relate to any of the places tourists tell me about anyway. And if I have to explain that situation every single time it just gets very repetitive, so thatโ€™s why it starts getting annoying after a whileโ€ฆ probably just me being moody :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: after thinking about that, maybe the original question was wrong, the proper question would be: Donโ€™t you get annoyed by โ€œwhere are you from?โ€ if youโ€™ve been nomading for so long that you have no national identity anymore?

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

Thatโ€™s true but itโ€™s like a dripping tap, isnโ€™t it? The first few drips, you probably donโ€™t even notice but at some point, that constant noise drives you nuts.

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@ifdattic | 5yr

I started trying to get into a habit of replying with โ€œFrom Earth, last time I checkedโ€ to this question :smile:

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@replay | 5yr

Once I replied โ€œIโ€™m from the internetโ€ and everybody thought itโ€™s funny. But I guess that only works in nerd circles, not with the taxi driver.

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@coffeejunk | 5yr

I get this but for a different reasonโ€ฆ Whenever I tell someone that Iโ€™m originally from Germany, theyโ€™ll start talking about the latest soccer results or news that I have no idea about and canโ€™t relate to. This is, for some reason, especially true for cabbies and they tend to be extremely disappointed if I tell them that I either have no interest in soccer or that I have no idea who those people are that they just asked me about.

ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ

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Read and participate in 14,020 discussions on Nomad List

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Best place in Portugal near cool nomads, good surf, and a great cowork spot


in Portugal by @joelnicholson | 6d 5 days ago | 9 comments

Hi there, title says it all. Canadian nomad hoping to find the city/town in Portugal with great, consistent surfing, a solid coworking spot, and a fun group of young nomads. Please recommend!

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Where should I set up my company as a remote worker?


by @beloruchka | 6d 6 days ago | 7 comments

Iโ€™m looking for any recommendations for services or people others have used to get answers on the best place to set up their businesses based on their personal circumstances.

Leaning towards Singapore after a ton of research, but would really like some concrete advice before jumping in.

Appreciate it!

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How to learn a language without taking a formal class?


by @zakamercury | 6d 6 days ago | 5 comments

How to learn a language without taking a formal class, while traveling in different countries?

What advice can you give me?

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What's the best thing to do with your phone/ your phone number when travelling?


in Poland by @davda1546 | 15d 15 days ago | 6 comments

Hey, hope everyone is well!

We're leaving in a month to go travelling. Our first destination is still to be confirmed, but will likely be Poland or Slovakia. We will be moving around every month or two to different destinations.

The question we have is: what do people do with phones/ phone numbers when hopping from country to country? Ideally we'd just like one number for the whole trip (even better, the number we already have) wherever we go, rather than getting new SIMs with different numbers.

This is just so it's easier to keep in contact with family/ clients/ etc.

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Where do I get good legal advice/support to have a long-term stay?


in Lisbon, Portugal by @mzorrilla | 1mo 1 month ago | 1 comment

Hello, everyone!

My idea is to stay as low as 6 months and as long as a year (maybe, who knows) over Lisbon after doing some analysis from many cities in Europe.

I'm an Argentinian and Chilean (both nationalities) so... no Euro-pass for me (getting my Italian nationality could take 2 years easily). I'm also a remote worker and I have a really good income (I work for a Silicon Valley company) so I can show more than enough resources to stay in the country.

Everything I see online doesn't inspire me much confidence (most sites looks a bit scammy) and this is not a "vacation stay"... I want to be clear my head far away from Argentina right now. If someone has a good website, recommendations, etc I will super appreciate.

Thanks in advance!

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How do I set current location? I've looked everywhere for this option.


by @yousifyalda | 2mo 1 month ago | 5 comments

All I see is section to add trips, but I reside here. Home and all.

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What are some nice French beach towns?


in France by @amin | 2mo 1 month ago | 4 comments

I'm thinking to head over to France during the winter and I'm looking for recommendations on a good French town that has beach and is warm enough during the winter.

What are your favourites? Any recommendation is appreciated.

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 2mo 1 month ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Driving from Italy to Croatia..how to handle passport?


in Croatia by @ld | 2mo 2 months ago | 3 comments

Hello, we are US citizens that have been able to stay in Italy past our standard visa stay due to covid. Now we must leave. We want to drive to Croatia as our โ€œout of EUโ€ stay. But Iโ€™m now wondering what considerations I need to take care of for my visa. I wonโ€™t go through an airport and get my passport stamped. But I assume I need to get my passport stamped as a way to prove Iโ€™m out of the EU.

Anyone else travel in and out of Schengen zone via car? Or know what I should do to properly handle the visa situation? I get unclear answers online. Hmm.

Appreciate your help!

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Introduce yourself โ€” who are you, where are you and what do you do?

 

by @coffeeshopceo | 2mo 2 months ago | 672 comments

tl;dr: introduce yourself in this thread.

We must all get sick of the same backpacker travel questions when we meet new friends, I know I do.

You know the ones - where are you from, whereโ€™ve you been, where are you going, what do you do, how long have you been doing it - etc.

The novelty of answering these questions wears off after maybe a week, but theyโ€™re nonetheless insightful and no matter how much we hate them, we find ourselves asking others.

So letโ€™s bring the dreaded backpacker questionnaire to NomadForum and introduce ourselves shall we?

**

  • whatโ€™s your name?
  • where are you from?
  • how long have you been away from home?
  • what do you do?
  • where are you currently?
  • where are you going?
  • what has been memorable for you so far?
  • will you go home anytime soon?
  • what have you learnt during your time as a nomad?
  • [insert your own question here]

**

No need to answer them all if you donโ€™t want to :smile:
But the more you shareโ€ฆ The merrier!

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Best/quickest way from Italy to Croatia?


in Croatia by @ld | 2mo 2 months ago | 3 comments

Hello,

We are in Umbria until August 31. We've been here since March, but crisis-level visa extensions are over. After that we have to leave the EU. We would like to stay out of the USA (our home) due to it's covid crisis, at the same time we want to be responsible about travel. Ideally we would not travel at all, rather stay hidden in the countryside of Umbria forever until covid is more under control globally, but here we are!

So we must leave the Schengen zone. We should avoid USA. We should avoid long air travel.

We were thinking Croatia.

Do you recommend a route to Croatia? We are open to long train rides. Ideally not long ferry rides. Is there a ferry route under 4 hours? I read about it...I don't see it. If not, the other option is to make our way north and up over to Croatia via train.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and insights!

Thanks.

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Anybody bring their car to Mexico instead of flying?


in Mexico by @digitaldiva | 2mo 2 months ago | 1 comment

Iโ€™m curious whether anyone drove to Mexico instead of flying and used their car down there. Iโ€™ve heard bad stories of people driving down there but not sure I believe them. How safe is it to drive through rural areas, and to park in cities? It would be cool to have the car to explore while there.

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Did you learn any Thai before staying in Chiang Mai?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @digitaldiva | 2mo 2 months ago | 0 comments

Iโ€™m curious to know how many people learned some Thai before going there. Learning languages is a hobby of mine but Iโ€™m very put off by how complex the writing system is, and if I decide not to learn it Iโ€™ll probably cross Chiang Mai off my bucket list. I prefer to be at least conversational in a language before I do an extended stay in a country. Iโ€™m curious how people who learned no Thai did getting by. And Iโ€™m curious, from people who did learn some, if itโ€™s any easier than it seems? Thanks!

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What age did you start out and went location independent?


by @raynesio | 3mo 2 months ago | 11 comments

Eager to find out what age most start out as a DN? (Me)โ€ฆ 27 and just started out in the last 6 months or so. Not presently 100% location independent, probably more like 90% as still required to visit the office from time to time

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How to get SMS verifications for banks while traveling?

 

by @jackgopack | 3mo 2 months ago | 39 comments

Any suggestions for seamlessly receiving SMS Verifications from US financial institutions and other sites while traveling internationally continuously? Wonโ€™t keep my US Verizon account due to cost and currently plan to use local sims at each destination (T-Mobile and Project Fi are NOT an option as they terminate for continuous roaming). In summation, I wonโ€™t have a US mobile account.

Unless Iโ€™m missing something, which is very possible, this appears to be the single most complex issue Iโ€™ve encountered in my preparations, and one that no one addresses. I would greatly appreciate any possible solution that works 100% of the time. Canโ€™t afford surprises in this regard. Many Thanks! Jack.

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How do you ensure that you have good WiFi for working whilst travelling e.g. in places like India?


in India by @davda1546 | 3mo 2 months ago | 4 comments

We are hoping to travel later this year and we will be working remotely - how do you ensure you get good WiFi in places such as in India where the signal isn't always great? Do you have any tips on where to go/ what equipment you have to get?

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Do you prefer co-living spaces or hostels or Airbnbs?


by @davda1546 | 3mo 2 months ago | 5 comments

We are hoping to become nomads soon and have booked an AirBnB in September in Goa for our first destination. We are considering what would be the best option for accommodation after that. We are trying to decide between co-living spaces, hostels, or Airbnbs.

What are your experiences of accommodation in terms of the following: reliable wifi, social aspect, pricing, cleanliness, cooking facilities?

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Can Americans with EU Passports Travel to EU during COVID-19?


in France by @fqlx | 3mo 2 months ago | 1 comment

I'm a dual citizen of America and France with my resident based in the America. Can I travel to the EU using my French passport?

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How do you find people to meet whilst travelling?


by @davda1546 | 3mo 2 months ago | 1 comment

We are going travelling but we won't know anyone out there, what's your best advice for meeting people and socialising abroad? We've thought about the obvious things like Meetup etc, is there anything else you can suggest from your experience?

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Best place in South East Asia to live for 6+ months per year


in Indonesia by @miklaskroager | 3mo 2 months ago | 1 comment

We're looking for a country in South East Asia that can function as our base, mainly for tax purposes. Meaning it will have to be a place where we can stay for the 183 days required without too much hassle.

We've been looking at Thailand, but have heard that it's very hard to do visa runs etc., so what other can you recommend? Indonesia looked like a good option, but the income rate is a flat 20% and very high for the region.

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