For those of us who are considered part of the expat community, the concept of “travelling” takes on an entirely different meaning. The idea of backpacks, booze and beaches is replaced by realities of bills, work and daily annoyances of interactions and events experienced everywhere, but are heightened due to unfamiliar territory and new rules and regulations that keep one guessing on every move/decision they make.
This post is going to be a two part serious highlighting the positives for today (because we should always start with the positives right?) and then the negatives i’ve experienced throughout the past 3 ½ years of living abroad.
A Few Perks of living abroad:
1. More disposable income
For many twenty-somethings living in their home country, most of their income is tied up in necessities such as car payments, student loans, rent/mortgage, etc. and little is left over for entertainment
For many an expat….a contract is provided which includes flights, builds accommodation costs into the salary, etc.
So, generally speaking, we can afford that fancy dinner with all the bells and whistles normally reserved for special occasions, somewhat pricy new clothes, etc. on the regular.
2. Busier social life
Though the work load is anything but minimal (arguably one works many more hours living abroad) the absence of family and familiar friends and faces leads to more of a focus on building relationships with friends met abroad. The shared experience of having left your own country to live abroad leads to (most) people being warm and welcoming and developing close nit friendships.
3. More opportunities to travel
Unlike many areas of the world, North America is not well equipped for budget travel so generally one does have the opportunities to impulsively jump on a plane and jet off to a foreign local on a whim.
If one is living abroad (particularly in Europe) there are a plethora of budget airlines and inexpensive beachy destinations at your doorstep so, if you are looking to escape the daily grind for a little or a long time, it is usually doable.
4. Opportunities to experience other cultures
While I’m not discounting the value or joy in travelling to various cities, spending 2-3 days at a time in a particular destination does not give you and accurate perception of a people or culture. When you are living in a new country you are able to fully experience the people and culture of the place as have daily interactions and develop friendships with individuals from a variety of countries and backgrounds.
These are a few of the main things I love about living abroad. Do you have any to share?