As an expat, what you'd Tell to a Younger Self?
How expat life really is? Is it worth? and what about buying that dining table? We all do. Sometimes we simply find ourselves wishing we could give some advices to our younger self. And yes, it happens also to expats. We've asked to expats on Quora what they wish they could tell their younger expat self.
Celeste, living abroad since 3 years old, has some really good advices!
This is an older version of you jotting down some useful advice regarding your expat life ahead. Because I know you and you are the most stubborn and proud person in the world, you won't listen but I'll still try.
- Don't buy that dining table. You know that designer's table that costs a fortune and which you felt in love with? Save your money. You won't be able to carry it around and you won't get not even half of the price you paid for it in the second-hand market. Oh, and don't buy the flat either. And the car. Don't buy anything you'll use as an excuse to not leave.
- Everything that is important does not fit in a suitcase. Everything else needs to fit in a suitcase. Family, Friends and Love are not packable. Packable stuff can be bought everywhere. In your first move, you'll ship 11 suitcases. But you will learn to travel light and you'll end up with only one trolley. You see, you are a practical person and you do not need much to live comfortably. you'll learn to prepare a "survival kit" with the basics and with that you will be ready to go everywhere and start a new whole life almost immediately.
- Cherish your family while you can. You never know when you will see them again. In average, you will travel home once a year, if time (and your boss) permits. This means that in a good year you'll travel twice, in a bad year, you won't go home. And bad years happen.
- Don't be friend with someone just because they are from your home country.Don't force yourself. People can be morons regardless of their nationality. Being away from home does not mean you need to lower your standards.
- Don't stick too much to your own culture. Learn different ways of living life. You are not the only one who does things correctly. Correct and Incorrect are relative. But never give up your code of values. That code should guide you in all your decisions.
- Don't adopt that dog. This is the hardest one and I'm sure you will disregard it. You will still go to the dog shelter and take that fluffy hairball home. And you won't regret it. But hey, this is a wiser version of you: I'm telling you NOT to do it. Or take that smaller one. Adopt one that you can carry-on when boarding a plane (< 8Kgs). Big dogs are treated as luggage and is a stressful experience for them. And painful for you because I know you are a good owner.
Well, I have some more advice. But I know you and by now you've given up reading my answer and you've redirected your attention to other (much) more interesting posts in Quora. Good for you. Remain curious. Be brave. Whenever you have doubts about life, remember what mom taught us: always follow your own north. No matter where that might take you to.
Dominic relocated from Australia to Ireland last year and he's really enjoying his expatlife. He just regret he didn't become an expat earlier!
If I could advise my younger self, I would suggest the following:
- Consider becoming an expat earlier. Time passes by quickly, and life gives you more responsibility later on!
- Be more open minded to people who travel the world long-term. When I was younger, a friend left to travel for a long period and I didn’t make the effort to keep contact. You can maintain a good friendship no matter where you both are.
- Make more international friends in general. It really can be a small world!
- On the other hand, the world is also expansive and there’s many choices of places to live. Learn as much about geography and different cultures as possible!
- Always save as much as possible, and spend less on the day to day. It’ll give you more flexibility as an expat later.
You can read up his own experience plus various expat tips and inspirational stories on his blog.
Philip was an expat and he hopes to be one permanently in future. He's clearly in love with Thailand.
If I could magically talk to my 21 year old self I would say :
“Live the life you’re living until the age of 25. Then put all of your time, effort and money into moving to Thailand.”
If I had started 15 years ago I would be much closer to retirement in Thailand.
And what about you? what you'd advise to a younger self?