Wednesday, November 1, 2017

UPDATED: Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #15

We're now officially into the inter-monsoon season on the island, which means mostly clear weather in the mornings followed by thundershowers from the afternoon. It's certainly a very theatrical time of the year from a weather perspective. It's like the skies put on a show with lightning activity and surround sound of thunder and rain. If you're not used to it then it can get a little dramatic, possibly even scary. But, I've grown accustomed to all the theatrics and find it relatively entertaining.

With most of the year behind us I can't help but feel a little bereft. Time seems to be zooming by and that's probably also to do with all the activity in my life and the weight of many things happening across the island. There's still plenty to keep me busy over the next couple of months, such as a few blog posts, including part 2 of the two-part blog post on A Word of Caution on Investing in Sri Lanka.

We are supposed to be heading towards the better part of the year and a bit of a winding down into the holiday season. Peak tourist season is drawing near and the island will be busy with holiday-makers, adventurers and returning expat Sri Lankans.

I haven't quite sorted out my plans for the festive season. I'm not 100% sure whether I'm coming or going this year. Usually I'd have already decided whether to head back to spend the holidays with family or have made travel plans to meet up with friends, or decided to kick back on the island. Not too sure at this stage and probably not too bothered, though my family will probably have something to say about that. What are your plans for the festive season? Will you be staying on the island, or returning to spend it with family and friends, or venturing elsewhere?

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Word of Caution on Investing in Sri Lanka - Part 1

Occasionally you can come across some really jaw-dropping stuff living in a place like Sri Lanka. Some of it is out-of-this-world fantastic and some of it, not so much. This particular blog post is about some of the real experiences and stories that focus on the potential risks and dangers when it comes to investing in Sri Lanka. They can happen to anyone - locals and foreigners. If you haven't had any of these experiences, then count yourself lucky. And if you're new to Sri Lanka then maybe a few words of caution may come in handy when it comes to making investments.

There are many reasons why people look for opportunities to invest in post-war Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is still very much a developing country. Prior to the war Sri Lanka was considered one of the brightest emerging economies in South Asia. So there is undoubtedly plenty of opportunity for investors in the rebuilding and development of post-war Sri Lanka. Additionally, Sri Lanka has a forecast of around 4.5% to 5% GDP growth, which is higher than most countries globally.

In the past two years, almost every country via their embassy or trade development arm has entered Sri Lanka looking for investment opportunities. Areas for investment have included infrastructure projects, finance deals, mining and exploration, industry development, export initiatives, tourism and hospitality projects, large-scale property development, management consultancy and more. Plus, there are individual foreign investors also seeking investment opportunities in the stock market, property development, angel investing, or to set up small to medium-sized businesses and so on.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

An expat in Sri Lanka - the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 18

Only a few months ago I was making plans to throw a Decade in Sri Lanka party as a celebration of making it to the milestone of ten years on the island. A few friends were throwing out a few ideas about party themes as well as food and drink ideas. But then, a week ago, I was suddenly plagued with internal questions of whether the time had come for me to move on from Sri Lanka to another country, or repatriate myself back to the UK.

As an expat in Sri Lanka, I've seen my fair share of expats coming and going, yet I've always considered myself to be in for the long-haul. You've probably read that sentiment in many of my blog posts. But even so, I think as an expat it's important to regularly assess how things are going and whether expat life still works for you. This helps to keep you healthy and honest.

As with all things in life, change is the constant and it can have a positive or negative effect. In my case, plenty of change over the past decade has been largely positive, but in recent times, certain things have started to make me question whether this is still the right place for me.

One incident that happened a few months ago provides a good example of one of the things that has contributed to my current thought process. I was coming out the back of my house to the little herb garden to pluck some herbs. After doing that, I walked round to the front garden to gather some of the mangoes that had fallen from my fruiting mango trees. It was then that I stumbled upon an intruder up in one of my mango trees.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to be a successful expat in Sri Lanka

A common question from foreigners wishing to come and live in Sri Lanka is how to make their expat experience a successful one. It's probably a good idea to define what success means in this context. Success is usually defined as a favorable or desired outcome. In the context of an expat, success could be equated to accomplishing an overall favorable experience during their expat stint, or realizing a state of feeling at home in Sri Lanka.

Whether the expat experience is for a short-term placement, a one-year stint, or longer, the answer to the question of how to be a successful expat is much the same. Naturally, there may be some subtle differences as to how success feels for each individual, but essentially the desired outcome is the same.

Over the years I've learned a number of things about living as an expat in Sri Lanka. I've compiled a list of what I think contributes to a successful expat experience on the island. I hope you find something useful from the list.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #14

After any length of time away from the island, I usually get this gentle sense of calmness enveloping me upon landing back in Sri Lanka. It's definitely a welcoming feeling of coming home, though I find it so much more than just the literal sense of coming home to the place where I live. And this feeling happens pretty much every time I return to the island after being away for business or pleasure. Although I do get excited at times to be departing to visit new places and to create opportunities, I most often tire of of it and look forward to returning home. Oftentimes, being away reminds me to be grateful for what I have discovered and nurtured in Sri Lanka.

What has always attracted me about Sri Lankan life is its simplicity. If you don't complicate it, life on the island can be pretty darn good in its simplicity. And simplicity equates to the mundane stuff of life - eating, drinking, working, playing, engaging and sleeping, then repeat. With simplicity comes a certain level of ease and I think this is what contributes to the essence of Sri Lanka assuming that you don't complicate it unnecessarily (which is actually easier to do than one would think).