Dom Joly: Unhappy expat? Should have gone to Iceland

Related Topics

I'm in the South of France for a week. One of the ways to get under the skin of wherever you are is to read the local newspapers. I bought myself a Nice-Matin but also found a curious little magazine called the Riviera Reporter. This is an English language magazine that comes out every other month and services the large number of expatriates who have fled the UK for the Cote d'Azur. I'm always half thinking of making a move to somewhere sunny but one look through this type of magazine brings you back to your senses.

There is a column called "News of Britain and the British" by someone called Damian Elwes. He attempts to make his expat readers feel happy in their decision to live in France by quoting a friend of his describing London as the "Tower of Babel" in reference to the number of "foreigners" in the capital. It's extraordinary that people who have emigrated to a foreign country spend so much time grumbling about people who have done exactly the same to the UK.

Damian Elwes however, has not finished. There is even worse news for the expat community. Quoting "maverick (but serious) scientist" James Lovelock, he warns readers that the UK could be flooded by "climate refugees" in the next three decades – people fleeing from the effects of climate change on the Mediterranean.

It's a curious thing, being an expat. There seems to be a constant need to prove to people from "back home" that they're having a far better time. The two serious expat friends I have used to constantly send me postcards and photographs showing themselves in various sunny situations with annoying phrases like "Just another day in paradise" and "Work, work, work" scrawled all over them. Slowly, however, the missives ceased as they started to slip inexorably into a depressed alcoholic stupor. Then they started hassling me to get them Sky viewing cards as "the television is rubbish here". Then the phone calls started. "Hey, what are you up to?" one man would ask. "I'm working." I would reply. "Oh... right... do you know what the Test score is?" It was desperate ,and both couples eventually divorced and moved back to the UK.

It's not that the UK is such a special place or anything. There's just this mistaken feeling among expats that if the sun is shining then nothing can go wrong. You can see the end results propping up the seaside bars they try to run, wearing football shirts and drinking most of their own stock. I met a man called Barry in Phnom Penh who ran a bar and started off by telling me how happy he was. After a couple of drinks however, things changed and the mask slipped. Barry was very unhappy but had clearly spent so much time telling everyone back home what a wonderful time he was having that it was going to be very difficult for him to return home with his head held high.

The solution to emigration, in my view, is to go somewhere colder. I have a good friend who moved from London to Newfoundland. There is very little "inbound" traffic on the island and he quickly became something of a local celebrity. He is regularly mentioned in the local newspapers as the man "who moved from the UK to live here in Newfoundland". People wave at him on the street and he takes his summer holidays in the UK when everyone has left to visit bored friends in France.

We need to rethink. I suggest Iceland, Finland, and Nova Scotia as the new "in" emigration destinations. The kids can learn to club seals and walk on snowshoes and will really look forward to visiting "tropical" Britain. Besides, you can buy most of Iceland for the price of some naff villa in France. Go on: you know it makes sense.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas