Five Quotes That Will Change the Way You View Expat Life
“Our homes are not defined by geography or one particular location, but by memories, events, people, and places that span the globe." — Marilyn Gardner
Ok, so you’ve probably heard the expression home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is in lots of different places? Anyone who has lived in multiple destinations or countries, will know just how hard it is to define the word home. Even worse is when someone asks, “so where are you from?” These things are hard to define because your identity is made up of the many different experiences and memories you have had in your life but that’s the great thing about being an expat, or even just traveling to new destinations. You learn to make everywhere feel kind of like a home! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s the people and the memories of a place that make you feel comfortable and welcome, and just because you no longer live somewhere does not mean you can’t call it home.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
This one applies to everyone, expat or not: it’s important to remember that sometimes you really need to get out of your comfort zone. If you are already living abroad there is a big chance that you broke free of your comfort zone the moment you walked off that train or plane and arrived in your new home. By stepping out of your usual routine or mindset, you’ll find you learn so much more. Life abroad is full of challenges that might not seem as daunting back home: something as small as going up to someone in a shop or street and asking for directions in the local language becomes more of a chore than you thought it would. But after you have done it once, you’ll see that its not that hard and the next time you do it, it will be so much easier. You can learn new things by challenging yourself, and while I do not suggest bungee jumping off a bridge on you Friday commute into work, make an effort to mix things up! Why not try something new or different and see where it takes you?
"Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.” — Tecumseh
Feeling lonely and living abroad can be sort of a package deal when it comes to being an expat, especially if you have moved to a place where you really don’t know anyone. That’s why its important to remember that everyone is a potential friend, and that now is the time to put yourself out there. Maybe you walk past the same person everyday on your way to work, why not give them a smile, brighten their day, and maybe eventually strike up a conversation. Or say a quick hello at your local supermarket or café, maybe even in the break room at work, and ask someone how their day is going. Once you start chatting, you may find you have a lot of things in common or get on really well. Before you know it, you’ve made yourself a new friend. Of course, making friends may not quite be as simple as that in reality, but if you start off with an approachable smile, wave, or “hello”, you can’t go wrong.
“New friends are like new adventures. You never know what lessons they will teach you.” — Unknown
Adventures and friendship, isn’t that what life is all about? Meeting new people and learning new things! Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to explore new places and cultures, but along the way you also get the chance to make some great friends. It is important to be open to new friendships and learn from the people you meet — no one has all the answers but listening to and understanding the opinions and experiences of others will broaden your own horizons. Whether it is a new language or just some life lessons, friends can help you learn more about the world around you as well as more about who you are and the views you hold.
‘’Everyone smiles in the same language” — George Carlin
A smile is universal so don’t worry if you don’t speak the language of your new country. In fact, if you are thinking of moving abroad but keep putting it off just because you don’t speak a language, maybe you should reconsider. Of course, it is important to think about learning the language in the long term because knowledge is, as they say, power, but at the end of the day people are just people, and actions speak louder than words. Aside from all the fancy sayings and proverbs, the point I’m making is that laughter is laughter and a smile is a smile anywhere in the world, so communicating may not be as hard as you think. At the end of the day, there are more things that bring us together than separate us.