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Savoury Travels

Challenges of Life Abroad


To follow up on my previous post, i’d like to spend some time today expressing some of the challenges of life abroad.

1.Being away from family

Returning home becomes harder and harder to leave! Despite developing close friendships abroad there is nothing quite like relaxing at home with your family.

When you live abroad, you maintain a particular memory of how life is/was back home, and do not fully realize that things are changing and happening there just as things are progressing for you in your adopted country. When the realization sinks in that life back home DOES tend to go on without you it can be a little difficult to come to terms with.

That being said, you come to appreciate and highly value the little things and moments you took for granted before you left and realize how precious time is.

2. Problems seem a lot worse

If you have some sort of issue you are dealing with, whether it be a broken bone, conflict with a colleague or a personal relationship…the lack of familiarity around seems to make every conflict or issue seem a lot worse.

It is not uncommon for people to fantasize about escaping from the daily grind, and for those of us who live abroad, the escaped-to life is the one we’ve chosen. As our roots are likely elsewhere than our current location, in face of a conflict, we may wish to escape back to “real” life”. The potential impermanence of our current location sometimes make the prospect of taking flight more attractive and worthwhile than the fight.

3. You have difficulty relating to others

Your identity has been “a traveller” for so long, and you’ve experienced so many different realities, groups of people, and manners of living that the lines become blurred. It is hard to express what you’ve seen and experienced and you may feel a level of disconnect at times.

4. There is so much uncertainty in your life

Life of expats is often fairly transient. People tend to come and go fairly quickly so it is difficult to develop long term relationships. Also, it is hard to know what you will be doing in the upcoming months/year/etc as you often sway between wanting to return to your home country and staying overseas (or alternatively, moving to a new destination) so it is hard to fully develop roots and a sense of feeling at home.

Like anything, travelling has both positive and negative aspects. Overall, despite the difficulties at times, life abroad has primarily positives to offer in terms of life experience and overall enjoyment. Are there any challenges you’ve faced while living overseas?



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