This is an expat issue. Would it be nice to see old friends? Of course. But I get it. It's expensive. And even for the friends who could afford it, or who love you enough that they might save up for it... it's not always convenient.
Travel is inconvenient.
Packing for a trip is a pain.
Airports are crowded, and not always comfortable.
There may not be a free charging station.
Airport food is expensive and often unhealthy.
Unknown food in a foreign country is a risk!
Travel is not for everyone.
Travel outside your home country is definitely not for everyone.
Personally, I get a little panicked before any social event. Maybe some people get that way before they travel.
I know a lot of my American friends who just don't think travel is safe. (not picking on Americans, but any of my friends of other nationalities are already travelers, so...)
Flip-side: Any time I've lived in another country, they think America is unsafe! Literally. I heard that in Sri Lanka and India in the 80s, and hear it here on a regular basis.
Pick your safe.
Even of my friends who I think would *pipe-dream* like to visit, how many have a passport? A passport card to travel within North America, maybe, but few leave the country. So if they actually made up their minds to come, they'd have to shell out about $100 for a passport before even looking at tickets. And they'd have to do that months before booking tickets, too, so it's a long-term commitment!
Do I have friends who could do it? Sure. But let's consider priorities:
Unless travel is a priority for you and your family, you aren't going to make this trip. Maybe the comfort of the known is where you are at your best. Even friends who take big trips annually often make the same trip - comfort of the known.
Maybe getting the kids to their favorite summer camp is a bigger deal than showing them the wider world. I don't get that, but I won't judge. I'm not a parent.
For years, I lived on the East Coast while my family lived in the Midwest. My vacation time was usually spent visiting them. America is a big country. For families that are spread out, visiting a friend in a far-off land just isn't a priority.
Besides, America is big. REALLY BIG! Unless you live on the west coast, flying to China is a LLOOOONNNNGggg trip. It's actually really annoying, to be honest. You have to have a major sense of adventure to do this.
My brother's family lived in Turkey for 7 years. For 7 years, I intended to visit, but couldn't afford it, couldn't afford it, couldn't find the time... and I only got there weeks before they moved back to the US! There is a lot that goes into international travel, and I will not ever begrudge my friends who "intend" to visit but can't make it happen.
Life is hard.
Travel is good, but not easy.
Pick your hard.