What’s it like to be an expat?
It’s like you’re living two separate parallel lives that keep continuing down their own road without ever intersecting.
It’s like you have two souls wrapped in one physical shell. Two personas that know of each other and can relate at the core, but have experienced different memories.
It’s like you’re living life on pause and fast forward at the same time.
Your friends at home will start to settle down, while you buy your next plane ticket. When you return “home” you’ll try to pick up where you left off with those who are close to you. You’ll no longer be the exact version of yourself as before, after having lived in another hemisphere.
Over time, home will refer to not a place, but a state of mind. And somehow you’ve managed to make your home one in transit. Your mind and heart are constantly growing with each new place you assimilate to, and each new person you let get close to your heart that once used to be so guarded.
You’re now an open book. You realize that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never tried at all. You now understand that this cliche expands far beyond romance. You are much more open to trying new things and taking risks, because you know how boring your life would be if you didn’t.
Sometimes at night you’ll reminisce on what your life once was. You’ll inevitably think of the people who you loved, and those who couldn’t love you back. After adjusting your lenses though to a more macro perspective, you’ll realize that the greatest love of all is the one you built with yourself. They’re not the one who got away. You are.
Through this time in solitude you’ll figure out what it is you want in life. You’ll explore different opportunities until you find the one that feels right.
Being a better version of yourself has attracted better people into your life too. When you feel tempted to text someone you know you shouldn’t, you’ll remember that it’s better to chase your dreams and trains than to chase a person.
It won’t always be easy. But the little things that have made you come more alive than you thought was possible will remind you how beautiful this universe is.
The four day backpacking trips will remind you that you can push yourself further than your previous thoughts limited yourself to.
The nights under the stars in the desert will remind you of the small space you occupy in this world.
The challenge of overcoming language barriers in a new city will teach you the importance of communication, and the underrated-ness of human expression.
You’ll appreciate the way the sun shines through the leaves to symbolize the beginning of spring after what felt like an endless winter.
The long bus rides will leave you with your own thoughts, thinking about how maybe shit does happen for a reason and that you’re exactly where you want to be for this moment in time.
Being an expat has made you more grateful for the little things, because those really mean the most.