Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller

Dear Traveler,

Over the years, many people have told me that they, too, want to be expats. It’s easy to dream about the expat life. When many people discuss expat living, they dream of a life filled with exotic adventures, cultural explorations, and unique foods. I don’t blame them, and I’m one of those people happily dreaming about what my future might hold.

This myth that expat life is glamorous and exciting may be reading blogs or watching videos of people who have crafted a unique lifestyle. In reality, expat life is often very different. While everyone’s expat experiences are different, there are some common threads for every expat I have encountered:

What an expat life IS:

  • An opportunity to experience a different lifestyle
  • A chance to broaden mental horizons and learn about different cultures
  • A time and a place to learn more about yourself, whether it’s through language studies or other personal growth activities
  • An experience of both homesickness and appreciation for new people in your life

What an expat life IS NOT:

  • A romantic or romanticized experience that is movie-worthy
  • An easy life, especially at first when you are figuring out everything for the first, second, and twentieth times
  • A place to maintain a narrow world-view of other people
  • A time where you “fit in” immediately

Several people have told me that I am “brave” for being an expat. I never thought about being brave. I was simply following my inner compass. I was (and still am!) willing to do the hard work of being an expat. That means accepting that I am always going to be different, that I expect challenges with paperwork, and that I am going to have to learn new things for the rest of my life.

In return for my acceptance and hard work, I am treated to a life uniquely my own and unlike anything I could have expected. I am more conscious of myself, my biases, and my limitations. I am open to new experiences and have seen things, done things, and learned things that make me feel like a bigger and better person.

In my experience, the benefits are totally worth the effort.

Keep exploring!

The Clever Expat

Want to become an expat, but don't know where to start!

Have you ever dreamed of living abroad, immersing yourself in a new culture, and experiencing the world from a different perspective? If so, you’re not alone. The allure of an expat lifestyle has captivated many individuals seeking adventure, cultural exchange, and a fresh start. Embarking on this exciting journey, however, requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a successful and fulfilling experience. 

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