Living The Dream, Or In A Dream? Moving To A Foreign Country

Saturday, November 18, 2017

One of the great things about exploring the world by yourself is that you can truly get a feel of whether you belong in a certain place or not. Part of the reason people go traveling is to find somewhere that they can fit in, feel inspired, and finally find a place where they can wake up every morning and enjoy life to its fullest. The vast majority of us would call that home; others would call it a new beginning. But, when we go abroad, sample a different culture and lifestyle and feel that it's going to suit us down to the ground, are we merely suffering from honeymoon syndrome, where actually the grass is greener on the other side? It can be a very difficult thing to address, especially when you are seriously considering packing up your bags and leaving home for good, not just to move down the road or to another city in the same country, but taking the plunge thousands of miles away from anything you can consider as home. Put simply, is moving abroad to live a good idea? Let's try and answer the question.

Living The Dream…

The one thing that plants the seed in our mind is the draw of a new culture. When you ask people why they want to move to another country, when they got “everything they could possibly need” right here at home, is that they are on the lookout for new challenges. Conversely, it's not about the new challenge, but rather finding somewhere that is less challenging. The speed of life is something that is cropping up a lot now, and when you look at countries to the Far East, such as Indonesia, they are partially becoming westernized. So, you may have ventured on a backpacking journey yourself, and have found somewhere where life and culture are very simple. But is the reality far different to what you imagined it in your head? We go traveling to escape a sense of monotony in our usual lives, and a lot of people don't ever stop traveling. It's embedded in their DNA coding, that the travel bug is something lots of people don't get over. So, those people who go country hopping, and can't stay in one place for very long, are they going to actually benefit from moving to another country? They may in the short term, but over time, the differences will begin to show…

Feeling Homesick…

Whatever reason we move somewhere else, whether it is for love, career, or we just want to begin again, it can be a very big adjustment. Even those that are used to constant changes in their life, the seismic shock of moving to a completely different culture can have some negative effects on a person's well-being. Whether or not you believe in the concept of feeling homesick, especially those that have the travel bug, as life goes on, you start to assess your priorities in life. And the times we feel this the most when living in another country is the big events in life, such as weddings, big birthdays, and, unfortunately, the death of a loved one. It is this last one that hits home quite hard. When you are not there for these life-changing events, but are thousands of miles away, it can make you feel regretful that you ever left in the first place. This is a very difficult thing to get over. And if you have set up a new life for yourself, in another time zone, you may even feel a sense of disconnect to your old life, and it's those big moments in life that will make you question whether you want to move back home or not. The other big issue that can happen when you live abroad is that you actually don't fit in as well as you think you did. Of course, people are friendly and accommodating, but it can still feel very isolating if you don't get the little idiosyncrasies, all the things that can take years and years to understand. Unfortunately, it's not one of those things that you can figure out overnight, it can take years before you realize that it is time to move on. And, as your life priorities change, that idea of moving back to where you once came might sound more appealing, not just because you have parents to look after your newborn baby, or you know the roads better, but in actual fact, you understand the vibe better than you do in this foreign land. Sometimes we go abroad, sample the delicacies for a while, maybe a few years, but, returning home might be on the cards, whether you knew it or not at the time.

Should You “try Before You Buy?”

On the other side of the coin, lots of people, including expats, dreamed a dream, and they lived it, spending their retirement years in a sunny climate, winding down the clock by the pool. And who can blame them? But the way in which these people have come to the decision that they could live in a foreign country comes after years of vacationing there, as well as a lot of reassessment. Reassessing priorities, and thinking about their needs as they age. By the time expats tend to move abroad, their children have grown up, the house has been paid off, and so they've got no real reason to keep them at home anymore. And there are many countries in the world where people have gone to and have never come back, places like Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere in the Far East has been a big draw for people. Sites like show the various plots of land for sale in foreign countries, in this case, Jakarta. And there are many working visa schemes, where you can go and work in a country for a year or so, so you are living life like the natives. And that is the big thing about going to live in another country, while lots of people focus on the romantic idea of emigrating to a different country, the fact is that we all have to earn a wage. Lots of travelers understand this. Many people go abroad to teach English as a foreign language, or volunteer with organizations such as ones you can see on, and this is something that lots of people don't tend to think about. The grass is always greener on the other side, but when you go there, are you going to immediately stop looking for the next place to move on to?

Do You Even Like The Place?

You may feel guilty for actually thinking that, after a few years of living in another country, that you don't like the place. But, it's important to remember that we don't always like where we live, regardless! And this is okay, so if you are seriously thinking about living life on the other side of the world, it's not always going to be a bed of roses. And, no matter how much you've dreamt of living in another country, there is going to be times when you will feel better, and there are going to be times when you feel crappy. But the well-seasoned traveler knows this all too well. Living in another country is much like a relationship, there will be good times, and there will be bad times. Moving to another country is always going to consist of teething problems, and this may last a few years! But, gradually as time goes on, you will have less anxiety about certain aspects, and embrace things more and more. And, after all, the reason you wanted to move to this country in the first place is because there was something pulling you there. And even if there are so many other things that you can't compute, if the place feels like home, even when you were growing up, your home didn't feel perfect all the time! It can take time to decide if you truly love a place, and it can take years. And sometimes, it will be a long time after you've bid the country goodbye that you can truly summarize your feelings about the place. The thing about traveling through countries, on a backpacking journey is that you can get a feel for the place, but it's in staying in one place for an extended period of time where you truly will know if it gets under your skin in a good way.

There is no home than the one we make for ourselves, and it is embodied in lots of different linguistic terms, but without sounding too grandiose, you know in your heart of hearts where something feels right, or if it doesn't. The very difficult thing about living in the modern world is that you see infinite Instagram posts about people lazing by the pool in a foreign country, and you think that you need some of that! But living somewhere is another story entirely. We go on vacation to escape on normal lives for a couple of weeks, but we feel the pull of what we know after some time, and we go home. Lots of people don't, and this is why they travel the world. If this is you, and you feel that you are considering moving to another country, don't blur the dream with the reality. Moving to another country can be the best thing that ever happened to you, but it can also be the worst.

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Quote to Live By

"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

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