The 10-Step Expat Journey

Ever thought of throwing caution to the wind and moving to another country? Well, this is what happens when you do, give or take a few Irish pubs and pictures.

1. ​Decide that life is boring and unfulfilling for your ever widening appreciation for that which is outside of your city.

You watch the Travel channel and listen to foreign music. You’ve decided you’re ready for even more culture.

2. Decide on your new country/city/hideaway.

This can be easy or difficult, largely depending on your personality and skill set. Just decide already.

3. ​Book a ticket, get rid of your stuff. Have the obligatory going­ away ­I’ll-­never-­forget-­you party. Cry. Leave.

The first going away party is always the best. Milk it.

4. ​Start a blog about your travels because no one​ has ever done it and everyone​ cares about all the fun you’re having.

Your family and closest friends will read it and congratulate you. Your acquaintances will read it and quietly loathe you. Your own ignorance will be apparent when you look back at last month’s post.

5. Ride your new adrenaline rush just long enough until you realize that you spend your days with people you’ve known for only months ­­some who can’t speak your language. Feel misunderstood.

“Remember when” is never more than six months ago. The ​real y​ou is just misunderstood.

6. Try to blend in and find comfort. Long for home.

You’ll miss the basics at first, like family. Then it gets weird. You’ll start missing plush carpet and twinkies.

7. Decide to go back home. Fear “starting again.”

Life at home, full of responsibilities and societal pressures, seems insurmountable,­ but you’ll decide it’s worth the twinkies.

8. Get “home”. Feel even more misunderstood. Remember why you left.

No one will want to hear your stories of adventure, and therefore no one will understand the new you. Everyone will be living their same boring life as when you left. You’ll feel trapped.

9. Decide where your next country/city/hideaway should be. Leave.

Leaving the second time is easier than the first time since everyone is used to you being gone and your bags are probably still packed. Find a new “home” in another country.

10. Continually try to pick up the pieces of your heart that are now scattered across the world with people like you who are riding the same wave, searching for their home.

They will be the only people who really understand you now. You’ll find a peculiar sense of calm and comfort with other expats and travelers. You’ll realize that the expat community is a global community of people who have found their home with each other. You’ll run into them again, because the expat community runs outside of countries, beyond borders, and continues moving. Paths will cross.

Then you’ll play Mr. Tambourine Man just one more time. TC mark

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