You often hear the same conversation arise when discussing the development of sportspeople in New Zealand.
The positive but less significant part of the discussion references New Zealand's isolation as an advantage, it gives our athletes a safe haven in a unique location to master their craft before unleashing their talents onto the rest of the world.
However, our country's seclusion is often what dominates this conversation about how homegrown athletes are forced to look elsewhere to become a world leader in their sport.
The reasons are numerous for why our sportspeople move to find success. Better facilities, more funding, harder competition, experienced coaches, more sponsors and more exposure are just some of the benefits that can come from leaving family and friends for a chance at stardom.
The discussion can be further broken down to a regional level. Northland is renowned for producing immensely talented athletes but, thanks to the region's geographic isolation and a lack of resources, many sportspeople head to the bigger centres like Auckland and Wellington to increase their chances of making it to the top.
We all were reminded of just how talented Northland's young sporting products are after the Northland Secondary School Sports awards were held at ASB Stadium on Thursday. Scores of athletes packed out the stadium for the awards, at which squash prodigy Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist and talented water-skiier Courtney Williams received the top prizes.
But if the experience of two of Northland's top karate prospects in Chile this week has taught us anything, it's that growing up in Northland and/or New Zealand isn't the worst thing you can do.
Read more: Northland karate kids heading to Chile
D'Artagnan Gould, 15, and Kingiteahuahu Tana, 14, left Northland on October 18 and travelled to Santiago, Chile, for the World Junior Karate Championships, which were held during the past week.
Sport awards: Williams and Vette-Blomquist star
As soon as they touched down in the South American capital city, Gould and Tana, along with their Miyagi Kan karate club coach Craig Nordstrand, found themselves in the middle of deadly riots which had claimed at least 18 lives as of Thursday.
The riots, as reported by nearly all global media organisations, have lasted six days and concern the raising of public transport costs which has prompted a severe response from the country's youth.
The scenes of immense unrest have been awful and it further hit home when the Northern Advocate got in touch with Nordstrand, who described how it seemed like a war zone over there as local shops were set alight by protesters and burnt down before their eyes.
Fortunately, the global karate tournament did go ahead but not without the notable withdrawals of athletes from Japan, China, Greece and Sweden. From what I've heard, our two boys performed admirably on the world stage and thoroughly benefited from the experience.
But what it does highlight is how radically different life can be for young sportspeople in other countries. Having to deal with riots, the threat of gang violence, political unrest, and regular crime would be a completely foreign experience for most young Kiwi sportspeople.
While these incidents are not definite inhibitors to sporting success, it does impose a barrier difficult to overcome for anyone looking to succeed in any industry.
So, it seems while our separation from the world can limit New Zealand's success in sport, it is this very isolation which provides our talented young athletes the space to grow and learn, unencumbered by some of the harsh realities of life elsewhere.