How do you figure out who you are? How do you know when you can finally stop searching to find your place in the world? For me, it’s when you feel like you just fit…without trying too hard.
I thought expat life would help me find myself
I thought I would find myself in high school. I didn’t. All I knew was that I was good at school. Then, I figured I would reinvent myself in college. But I was 18 and didn’t have anything to reinvent yet. Luckily, I did find hobbies in college and figure out some of my passions. Then I got into the working world and did what needed to be done. I was just sailing through life with a dream but no real way to achieve it and was actually unsure why it was even a dream. I even tried to go to graduate school in the U.K. but it fell through at the last minute. At that moment, Sean and I knew that we had to get abroad…if for no other reason than to prove to ourselves we could do it.
Being open to change
Armed with the knowledge of where Sean could get a job, we looked at London and Amsterdam as possible new homes. We are so grateful that Sean was able to get Italian citizenship so this was even a possibility. It took a lot of time and money, but was so worth it. We weighed both cities as options carefully and we decided on Amsterdam for many reasons. So, in the course of a year, we reduced our debt and saved enough money to get us through 3-4 months in Amsterdam. Though we did not have a monetary goal in mind, we just knew we had to make it work. (I know…bad, right?)
We had no idea whether we would like it, how it would work, or if we could easily make friends. But we did it! We love it and we found what it means to really enjoy our surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the town where we built our life together. And I am so grateful for the friendships we made, but we feel that this is the life we are meant to live.
Self-discovery can completely change your outlook on life. It can help you find your passions or it can help you get rid of things that don’t make you happy. That is what moving abroad did for us.
Is it scary? At first, yes. It takes a while to adjust, but we feel it has been worth it. Following your dreams and doing what makes you happy is one of the most rewarding things you can experience.
So, why expat life?
Because it challenges you. It forces you to re-examine everything. It throws you out of your comfort zone and makes you adjust. You have a chance to re-create your life based on what you’ve learned about yourself. Build on your strengths. Create a circle of friends who are good for you–who enrich your life.
Be thankful for what you have. It’s is hard to do a 180 when you are so used to your everyday life. We have created monthly goals so that we remember to keep exploring instead of falling into a rut.
It’s not for everyone
But if you have the dream, you should seriously think about how to make it a reality. Are you an expat already? If so, how did you get there? Do you have a dream of living abroad? Why is it appealing and where do you want to go? We would love to learn more about you!