Way back in my early years when the only friends I had abroad were pen friends and getting an international student at our school was a big deal, I’ve been fascinated by living abroad. I remember looking to the sky many a time and wondering what time it was in America or Europe or anywhere really just so I could imagine what people were doing at that exact moment in time.
Fast-forward to present day and I’m now one of those people I would imagine living abroad. Swapping my country home of Casterton for the big city life of London has finally realised one of my childhood dreams. Most locals I meet call me crazy to be here and are looking up ways to escape but I’m happy to be here renting a place in the Queens country.
Just like moving cities at home you have the same issues with finding accommodation, finding work and learning to navigate your new surroundings. The only difference for me is, I arrived with just a backpack’s worth of belongings and I know I’m not staying put forever. I’m a temporary resident and when the visa runs out it’s time to find a new country and a new city to do it all over again with that same sized bag of belongings.
The real joy with living abroad is the moment you realise you’re less of a tourist and more of a local. Over time I found I no longer held up the line at the tube station, I walked central London with a sense of direction instead of wandering aimlessly (ok maybe I still do a little), I always stood on the right side of the escalator and not the left and for the most part refer to my money in pounds and not dollars. I do however refuse to call thongs, flip flops no matter how many weird looks I get.
I’ve had friends tell me you are just doing the same things you would at home what’s so good about it. You go to work, you go to the pub etc what’s so good about living abroad? Yes I do all those things but its the immersion in the atmosphere of the place that I love. The pubs are different, the work environment is different, walking down the street is completely different to back home. That’s why I love it and why I will continue to do it for as long as I can.
Anybody that tell’s me living abroad is just like living at home either doesn’t appreciate the differences around them or just doesn’t get it. You are saturated in a different way of life to what you know, how is that the same?
For me well I’m taking the safe route for now living in London where the differences are a little more subtle. But I still look to the sky like I did as a young Aussie Nomad and wonder what people are up to in Argentina, Moscow, Toronto and many more. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to find out and push my travel boundaries that little further.
I want to hear from you now. Have you have ever lived abroad and if so what did you take away from the experience. Did it enrich your stay or did it drive you away?