Everyone’s motivations are different, but I think those of us wanting to be able to live abroad – and indeed wherever we want for as long as want – seek the same release. I’ve compiled five great reasons, as if you need any more, to make the move.
Opens your eyes to different ways of living
This can reveal itself in big or small ways. From things you notice immediately like the weather, to those that you might not give a second glance until a few months in. In the south of France for example, people spend more time outside, because they can. Montpellier is much smaller than London and lots of people think of London as their dream destination, whereas I know a different London and wanted something smaller and slower-paced. Here, I think people eat more healthily as there is a greater availability of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. In Australia, there are no ales or bitters (I’m talking about beer here) or “warm-beers” as they like to call them, because why would there be? These sort of things make you a more well-rounded person just by knowing about them. Of course that’s just my opinion. My point is it’s fascinating to experience a different culture.
Once you take that first step, you’ll see it’s not that scary
The likelihood is that if you are reading this then you are either my mum, or an aspiring traveller. If the latter, you want to challenge yourself but maybe feel intimidated by places where the culture is different to your own. My first really foreign place was Bangkok. I’d done my research. I knew it would be loud, colourful, smelly, and bustling with activity. I knew it was easy to get scammed by cab drivers going from the airport to the city. Some people would have been ready to throw themselves in and go it alone. Indeed I met some of them! However, if you’re like me, this is a lot to take in. Have no fear. There’s no shame in getting help. In fact it’s quite sensible. ;).
Rarely are people either complete extroverts or hermits. I booked an organised adventure tour for 10 days which included being picked up at the airport, thereby side-stepping the challenge of getting myself to the city. I didn’t go trekking into the jungle solo, battling spider-sized mosquitos, trying to speak Thai with everyone.
My message here is that by taking that first step to booking your flight, or whatever it might be, you can give yourself a big pat on the back. Ease yourself in. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Life’s a series of challenges and you’re figuring out what kind of life you want.
It’s a big world, and holidays aren’t enough
With it being more and more possible to work online and have less face-to-face interaction with clients and colleagues there are more opportunities than ever. Choosing to live in a new city means you’ll start to try and mingle with local people and other like-minded travellers, whereas knowing you’re there for 1 or 2 weeks for example, you’ll probably stay with your companion(s) and do all the touristy things. At the moment my life revolves around improving my French, and doing that outside of a school setting introduces me to the real french language, and how good it feels communicating with people in a foreign tongue. The world seems bigger and more full of possibilities.
It can make you appreciate what you had back home
This can work both ways. You can realise how much you miss from your home town or country and that living abroad isn’t for you. On the other hand you can feel like it was an amazing decision, and that even if you don’t feel like it at the time, you are are enriching your life for the better. Even if it gives you perspective. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” definitely comes into play here.
It makes going back home even more special
So you’ve been living abroad for a few months and the time for the first trip back home to friends and family is coming. After all the itchy-feet feelings to leave, seeing your loved ones after all this time brings a bigger smile to your face than normal. For me, it’s doubled if going back ties in with Christmas. I bloody love Christmas :D.
YOLO. *Cringe* but YOLO. Life’s too short to stay in one place.
What do you think? What have been your experiences of living abroad? I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments!