“How did you just drop everything and go?” asked a friend recently. Moving abroad was an attempt to satisfy a craving for experience—but the longer I stay, the more insatiable it becomes. It’s the best decision I have ever made, though I have to say it doesn’t always feel as freeing as my Instagram account lets on. Sometimes my wanderlust eyes are bigger than I can stomach.
If you're anything like me, here are five things that you'll experience if you move abroad:
You'll still get homesick.
Sometimes it feels like I’m living in a culture I’m still trying to grow into, all while missing the people who’ve known and loved me my whole life. I have to remember that "our 20s are not about finding home; our 20s are about finding the right place to build it.”
The best thing for travellers is probably not to feel too comfortable, because that means we’re not stretching out boundaries.
You'll discover that debt doesn't disappear overseas.
I’m still trying to pay for my American education on a Spanish salary, and it sometimes seems absolutely impossible. I have this huge debt hanging over my bank account, so I pass up many weekends away and take on an overwhelming schedule. When I travel, it’s most likely on a strict budget—which actually makes things more interesting.
I try to remind myself that just living here is travelling in itself, and to look at my home city through they eyes of a traveller.
You'll struggle with being in two places at once.
I miss some of the most important hallmarks in my friends and families lives. Engagements, birthdays, break-ups, and even losing loved ones makes me want to book the next flight home. Unfortunately, it’s just not always possible. I have this feeling that I should be making more of an effort to stay in touch or reach out, but honestly, life and a six-hour time difference often gets in the way.
Saying goodbye doesn’t get better with practice.
As an expat, I continually meet other people on the move. You’d think that I’d get used to the people I so quickly connect with leaving, but it feels like they take a part of me every time they leave.
The beautiful part is that now I have friends all over the world, and a home away from home if and when I choose to go there.
You'll constantly worry about the next step or the next year.
Living abroad has become a major part of how I relate to the world. I have no desire to go home, but I have no idea where I could end up. Finding a job can be a vicious cycle between having a visa to get a job, and having a job to get a visa.
I feel like a hunter-gatherer, searching for the next sustainable opportunity, which is absolutely overwhelming and thrilling at the same time.Add this article to your reading list