It has been quite some time since I have written privately about my life. The past year has been somewhat of a blur, to be honest. Why? Because there isn’t much to tell, really! Lockdown, restrictions, being apart from family, it’s all rather boring and apart from reading and watching what the world is like right now, there hasn’t been much to tell.
I have written tirelessly about how tough it has been the past couple of years as an expat. Being away from loved ones can be challenging, and being criticised for living abroad can also be mentally draining.
However, what I haven’t explained in a while is why we do what we do! What are the benefits of living abroad? It wasn’t until recently that I took a break from it all and sat and wondered the same thing!
During this time I have realised how blessed I am; to have so many friends worldwide, from all different walks of life; from so many different cultures that I would never have had the privilege to meet had I lived away from my native country.
Whether we get to cross paths regularly or once in a blue moon (especially the past couple of years), these people are in my life for a reason, and my life is richer for it. Sure, there will be the ones who slipped through the cracks, the ones who were once your “ride or die’s”, but now are a distant memory no matter how hard you try to keep the connection alive.
But these people were only meant to cross your path for a short time, you may not realise it now, but later down the track, it will all become more evident.
I have grown so much since living abroad. Not only have I discovered a passion for history and learning new cultures, but I have also developed new skills I never knew I had. For example, I have become understanding of cultural differences, I have learnt to be more accepting of others beliefs, and I have become more patient communicating with others.
I have also looked through a different lens when it comes to my own culture, country, and beliefs. So I have challenged the way I do things, how I think about things, and how I treat others. I have learnt to adapt to any situation, and I have changed my identity more times than Jason Bourne.
I have learned new skills that allow me to adapt to my new surroundings, I have learnt many different languages (well, at least enough to get me from A to B), and I have developed the most unusual friendships that have lasted the test of time.
I have volunteered in places I never knew existed and helped those I did not know needed help. Being an expat is not always about the travel (but one of the perks); it is about everything else along the way. The people, the culture, the food, the traditions and the lifelong memories you make.
Sure sometimes our life seems flashy from the outside, but I believe we aren’t sharing the real stuff enough. The stuff that makes us all drawn to this lifestyle. Many people say, “they aren’t cut out to live this life,” and I have to agree with them too.
It takes a particular type of person, a particular type of mental toughness that keeps you going and that allows you the satisfaction of enjoying every posting (the good and the bad).
Taking a risk so significant that will have you move yourself and your family across the other side of the world, hoping it will all work out; it is a giant leap of faith that not everyone is prepared to take! But, what you do when you get there makes all the difference.
Being mentally prepared for the move is one thing, but resilience in times when you come across culture shock, language barriers, and cultural difference is a game-changer.
There are good times and bad times (like if we were still living in the neighbourhood, we grew up in). The only difference is our hurdles are heightened, our hoops can become smaller, which makes our network of friends becomes tighter.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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