At Home in Asia Expatriates in Southeast Asia and Their Stories

Harold Stephens
Publication Date: 
October, 1995
List Price: 
385 pages with photographs

At Home in Asia comes from the pen of Harold Stephens who has spent most of his adult years in Asia where he has become one of that region's best-known writer/adventurers. From mountain climbing to jungle trekking, from sailing to diving, few have experienced Asia and its people with the richness of Harold Stephens.

In At Home in Asia, Stephens introduces the reader to some of the fascinating expatriate men and women he has come to know over the years. The biographical sketches of action photographers, artists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, sailors, environmentalists and others, are as varied and alluring as Southeast Asia itself. The book can also serve as a how-to book for those who dream about living abroad.

Biographical Sketches of the People in At Home in Asia:

  • John Everingham, Australian Photographer, was too young to be accepted into the military so we went to join the fighting in Vietnam on his own. At first, to support himself, he ran charcoal temple rubbings across the border into Saigon to sell as souvenirs to American GIs. Became a war correspondent, a POW of the Pathet Lao, and expelled from Laos. To rescue his Laotian sweetheart, he devised a scheme to swim with her along the bottom of the Mekong River. Hollywood made a feature film of his adventure, and National Geographic published his life story. He is a successful publisher in Bangkok today.
  • Hans Hoefer hitchhiked across Asia and made his way to Bali. Finding the island without a proper guidebook, he decided to produce one. He borrowed a camera, hired a writer, and from this humble beginning came the Insight Guide series with over 200 titles in print, and a multi-million income for the German expatriate.
  • Della Butcher, Grand Dame of the Arts in Asia. From a stewardess on a charter airline called Hunting Clan Airline, to the Grand Dame of the Native Arts of the aborigines from the Malay jungle to wilds of Borneo.
  • Robin Dannhorn as a young man came to Bangkok as a public relations consultant, turned to writing and adventure and never went home.
  • Han Snel, Artist. A conscripted soldier in the Dutch army, he was sent to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today), and traded in his uniform for a full life as a painter in paradise, a life that anyone would envy.
  • Inger Lissonevitch, the wife of the late Boris of Kathmandu. Boris was one of the most colorful characters of Nepal, while Inger kept in the background. Yet her life was as dramatic as her husband, except no one knew it.
  • Barbara Adams, the American girl from Virginia. Every girl’s dream, to meet a prince and have him carry her away to his castle on a mountaintop. This is Barbara’s life.
  • Lisa Choegyal, a British expatriate. Married to the son of the eastern ruler if Tibet; she has become a lady of the Himalayas, leading a storybook life in this mountain kingdom.
  • Three hotel managers, including Kurt Wachtveitl form the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, the world’s most famous hotel. This is the story of how one man maintains that position, for some 35 years.
  • Bill Heinecke, the son of a war correspondent, raised in Bangkok, and at 18 he decided he’d rather race cars than go to college. Needing finances for his habit, he started his own business and is one of the kingdom’s most prosperous entrepreneurs, with the deed to five-star hotels and food chains in his pocket.
  • Bill Mathers, marine archaeologist turned treasure diver. He spent nine months in solitary confinement in Vietnam awaiting his execution. He continues to hunt for sunken wrecks.
  • Tristan Jones, yachtsman and writer of 14 books about the sea. He sailed his tiny boat upon the highest body of water in the world, and the lowest. He lived out his days in Phuket in southern Thailand.
  • Karel Van Wolferen. He came to Asia with a pack on his back, became an expert on the Japanese economy, wrote a best selling book and addressed the US Congress on Japanese matters, and never finished high school.
  • Living in Asia. So you would like to be an expat and live in a land of enchantment, but read this chapter first.


"At Home in Asia is to be savored and treasured and kept ..."

-- Mort Rosenthal, Associated Press, Paris


"If you've ever been tempted to chuck one life and start another, At Home in Asia can be positively dangerous."

-- David Tenor


"Stephens has the same feudal hold on Asian post-colonial mythology as...Maugham had on the subject of forlorn district magistrates."

--S. Tsering Bhalla, The Sunday Times


"Some of the stories are the stuff of which movies are made."

--Bernie Cooper, The Bangkok Post


"Stephens in fact is a very gifted, infinitely curious and highly disciplined writer."

--Dennis D. Gray, Bureau Chief, AP Bangkok.