What My Instagram Doesn't Show About Moving Abroad

My Instagram is full of beautiful destinations and my collection of friends on Facebook is ever expanding, but there is more to moving abroad than meets the eye. It’s a deliberate decision with an opportunity cost as proportional as the profit. If I had to do it all over again, I would chose this life every time, but the part that you don’t see on social media is a huge part of our transition abroad as expats.

We never quite feel at home.
We’re living in a borrowed city, in a culture that we still have to grow into. Without the friends that knew us our whole life, we sometimes feel exposed, alone and lost and yearning for that someone who knows our flaws but still loves us anyway. “Our 20’s aren’t about finding home, they’re about finding a place where we can create one.” To find ourselves, sometimes we have to get lost. And when we do, we find the most incredible routes and destinations. 

It’s not all travel and games.
It’s work! Sometimes 5 days a week, with smelly hyperactive kids. So, when the weekend comes we don’t always have the time, funds, or energy to travel. Whenever I get down on this part, I remind myself being here is in a way travelling itself. I still live in a different city so far from home, with hidden gems in corners I haven’t yet explored.

Always having yearning to be in two places at once. 
No matter how much we Skype or FaceTime or stay in contact, we’re still missing some of the most important milestones in our friends and families lives. Engagements, birthdays, even losing loved ones. It all makes us wish we could be on the next flight home, but unfortunately sometimes this just isn't possible. We’ve made a commitment and we have to honor it.

We feel super selfish.
Because we can’t be there for our loved ones who were always there for us. Our thirst for adventure and something new over shadowed our responsibility to care for our families and friends. But, to really take care of others, we have to take care of ourselves and something innate deep in our core needs to satisfy those cravings. Sorry Mom<3

Saying good-bye never gets easier.
A life abroad is a life in transit. We’re constantly meeting people on the move, if we’re not ourselves. You’d think we’d get used to the act of leaving people we so quickly connect with, but it’s like ripping off a band aid every time. That part of our life we shared with someone else is exposed, and vulnerable. But it will heal, time and time again, and we’ll become stronger because of it. 

It loses its shine after a while. 
The first time I moved abroad to study in Spain was my first time out of the country, and everything was new and exciting. I remember my closest friend at the time marvelling over the garbage cans! But three years later I don’t even notice them anymore. What once was so different and exciting to me is normal.

Living abroad is to leap out of our comfort zone, into an entirely different world. *cue little mermaid theme song here* Though at times it can be confusing and exhausting, it’s the most worthwhile thing I’ve done in my life. I’m constantly learning, constantly overcoming fears, and growing as an individual. 

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