A blue Canadian passport held up with a red British passport.

Expat-Life Not For You?

Thoughts from Alanna…

I’ve been an expat in England for awhile now and I’ve learned some things. This sounds really stupid, but bare with me: Being an expat comes with the heavy burden of enjoying yourself.

Like, all the time.

You made this decision. You decided to quit that lovely job, leave your family and move abroad. You better enjoy it!

Like lots of things in life, moving abroad might not work out. It could totally blow up in your face, make you miserable and cause you to fantasize about your escape route.

It can be really difficult to accept that it’s not for you.

When I graduated college, a fresh journalism graduate with a reporting job secured, I was really excited about my new life I envisioned for myself: living in a beautiful town close to home (but still far enough away), working in my field of study, making loads of friends and generally having a wicked time.

It did not pan out that way.

A girl skips stone on a calm lake while the sun sets over the water.

My local beach when I was a reporter was beautiful and really good for skipping stones!

The job made me want to have panic attacks daily, the pay was crap, I didn’t make any friends, the town was cute but boring and I felt totally taken aback. I thought: This is definitely not what I wanted, but how do I speak up? I’ll look like an idiot for changing my mind.

This is so silly! You’re allowed to make mistakes. I wouldn’t change my time as a reporter but I’m 100% thankful I left it behind. This can be true with lots of expats, too. In your head you think it’s something that it’s not and you feel conflicted when you come to your senses. Don’t be afraid to admit that this life may not for you.

For anyone confused, make a list. Why do you love your new life versus what drives you mad about it, (it’s exactly what I did when I was a reporter). Can you do anything differently to change what you hate about your expat life? Are there things you can alter that will make you enjoy this new life more?

There’s so many things to make expat-life easier: joining a club, finding a job, getting a solid routine, taking time for yourself, exploring, exercising, socializing, finding a new hobby, travelling, etc.

But if you still find that it’s not for you, that’s okay! Only you can decide what kind of life you want to live, and where.