Living abroad expands your horizons and teaches you thinking outside the box and perceiving differently the world around you. Being more open for things that normally seem ‘not normal’. Because being surrounded by so many cultures, makes you realize that there are no wrong or rights.
Not taking for granted your comfort zone, as you know you’d have to jump out of it very soon and very often. Sharing experiences with completely new people in very random and unknown places. Sounds like a dream. In a way the expats-by-heart are living their dream, because this is the reason why we have ran away from the previous reality – to discover. However, you learn a lot about yourself and surprisingly, you start thinking how normal and average and unfulfilling life you are living…
I have done a bit in my life, 3 BAs, MA, working in two corporations, living in 2 foreign countries, traveled on my own etc. Looking at my age, I have thought that this is kind of an achievement. Also looking back at my Friends in Poland, I see that we are leading completely different lives. Everyone is developing in their areas, but I had this feeling that I left more convenient world, so I felt… proud. Yes, I wouldn’t be modest here. Not 4 years ago. I felt very good and proud that I have made it. You know what I mean, living on your own with few quids in your pocket, handling not very friendly bureaucracy in a foreign country, meeting more foreign Friends than you’ve actually have had in your homeland or even dating completely new type of guys is THE challenge. Something that as I’ve said – made me proud of what I have done.
Well at least this is what I have thought at the beginning of my journey. Very quickly I have realized that actually finding my new favorite products in a supermarket, getting best offers and paying bills is not such an achievement. You just do things that you have to do. You got no one to do it for you, so you get your ass together and start acting like an adult. When I have moved abroad I was just on the verge of turning 24 years old. For some young for some normal (Yeah… of course not old! 😉 ) for a person to start a new adventure. Being surrounded by internationals always makes you wonder and appreciate what they have done versus your achievements. Let’s not lie to ourselves – everyone is comparing to others at some extend. I do it in a motivating way. Despite only one regret that appeared at some point – not doing Erasmus as a student – I have only realized how lucky I was to meet so ambitious and brave people. Everyone is running in this world. I know that many of you will think that this is crazy and not right… but I love this run. As Heraclitus said – the only constant in the life is change – and this is so real.
Like when I think about it… most of my expat Friends are younger and they have already lived in few countries, studied at different universities, fighting for internships, running from one interview to another. Slightly older Friends share their crazy experiences, what they have done and seen. When they tell me how much I’ve done, I honestly feel stupid and weird cause from my perspective I am far behind.
What are my risks here?
We all think that we can do everything and you have all those possibilities. To live anywhere you want to. Do whatever you feel like. Travel in the most desirable places. You are getting everything that you could dream off. And you realize you want more or… you can do more cause in the end you are not lonely rushing to experience everything in this crazy world.
I also realized how vague the word courage is. How many times I have heard it towards myself? Uncountable. But frankly speaking… I am a proper coward. 25% of all my life choices and changes might be courage but the rest is simply the strong need for something new, no matter how scared I was and how many times, I was swearing to myself that I am stupid to put myself through some sh*t.
So yes, I am proud and at the same time not really, I am not gonna to be modest about the fact that if you have given me now a one way ticket to the unknown – I’m down for it. Anytime.
But what I might be afraid of is always not having experienced something enough and wanting more and more of a change. Wanting to feel, touch and taste everything, cause in the end I am still at the very beginning of the journey. Struggle to settle, get this unfulfilled feeling.
As when you realize how big the world is, how could you shut yourself in the ‘four walls’ of the one city?