On one of my especially long commutes home this week (3hrs!) I stumbled across a blog, Adventures in Expat Land by ‘accompanying wife’ Linda from The Netherlands. As I sat on the top deck of the number 14 bus (having been ejected from King’s Cross Station after a ‘reported emergency’ with the rest of London’s peak-hour commuters and then walking 20mins to get on said bus), her post Seven Reasons Not To Become An Expat struck a chord…
It can be fun. And exciting, educational, eye-opening, energizing, amazing. It can also be uprooting, disruptive, alienating, challenging, lonely and just plain hard work.
I knew no-one here and had no job (just some leftover redundancy package money) but buoyed by fierce determination and an unrelenting belief that it was where I was meant to be, I packed up my comfortable Melbourne life and started again. Just like I did many times over as we moved up and down the east coast of Australia and around Melbourne, changing schools, jobs, friends, creating new habits and leaving the comfortable predictability of old ones.
But then so did my sister…who stays happily ensconced in Australia with not so much as a twinkle of expat life in her eye.
Which then leads me to wonder whether an expat is ‘born’ a nomad rather than being a product of their upbringing. You know, nature vs nurture and all that. Bit like a personality flaw trait.
So are expats actually born or bred? And what’s the difference between those that up sticks and settle somewhere else vs the constantly relocating expatriate lifer?