The expat life. Living away from home. It’s all very glamorous, we are allured by extravagant tales revealed by racy travelers and once you get the urge to go, there is no stopping you. There are countless ways to do it, some a bit braver than others, I myself waited until I had a confirmed job before I left. Some just pick a date, pack a bag and off they go.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St.Augustine
That quote that has always stood out in my head and regardless of how or when you decide to live abroad it’s not necessarily for everybody. However if it is for you then be prepared for the time of your life. But regardless of how amazing a time your having there may be a little twinge in the back of your mind reminding you of home.
Anybody I know that has gone travelling or has moved abroad hasn’t looked back since but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t both negatives as well as positives to moving somewhere it just means that the positives outweigh the negatives. Here i’m going to start with the positives.
You get to see a bit of the world, there is a lot to be said for venturing out of your home town and seeing what our big green and blue earth has to offer us. You will not be disappointed, it’s the same reason people go on holidays every summer. But instead of just experiencing these majesties for a week or two of the Summer we get to live it everyday.
You get to experience some different cultures. You would be surprised how short a distance you need to travel before you start seeing some major culture changes. You get to witness how different people in live their day-to-day lives. The biggest different I noticed when I moved from Ireland to Belgium was the drinking culture. The Irish definitely drink more but the Belgians certainly drink more often!
Traveling broadens the mind, it may sound a bit pretentious to say but I believe that to be true. There are many ways that traveling broadens the mind. The chance to learn new languages, or at least try. I also recently read an article about the humble traveler, a man that realised he couldn’t communicate well enough with people in another country in situations where he needed help. This man soon learned more about his own limitations.
Meeting like minded people, it’s nice to build a foundation of International friends. Not limited to people from the country you are visiting but other travelers as well. I have found that most people I have met that are also travelling have been easy to get on with and there is no shortage of conversation as everybody comes with a million and one stories to tell.
Homesickness does occur, stronger and more often for some people that for others. However I think the modern day traveler has it a lot easier. If you find yourself feeling homesick you can find yourself in a conversation or even face to face with loved ones from home using tools like, Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype. It’s very easy to sit down in front of the laptop for thirty minutes and Skype with your entire family and once conversation ensues you’ll find yourself forgetting that the conversation is occurring through a screen.
Missing events, one thing even Skype can’t replicate is going to your Auntie’s wedding, your brothers birthday or the mid summer meet up with all your friends from school. You may feel left out, or you may feel like your falling out of the loop with your friends because you begin to miss these kind of events. Despite all of this all it takes is a quick trip home to see some familiar faces and it will feel like you never left.
Relationships. Long distance relationships can be arduous nonetheless they are not impossible. There are a million pros and cons to a long distance relationship that you can read here. (A possible future article) Albeit it seems that perhaps the cons may exceed the pros. Then there are those who say that absence makes the heart grow stronger.
Like everything, moving abroad has it’s pros and cons. It’s just down to each individual how you rate them, for me the positives certainly outbalance the negatives and that’s why I feel this is the correct thing for me to be doing. What about you? Have you any experience living abroad? How do you feel about it? I would love to hear your opinions on the matter in the comment section, thanks. Dan.