Moving abroad is an incredible challenge that can easily look like an exciting adventure 100% of the time. While it is all of that, there is the side that doesn’t make it to Instagram.
The feeling of failure when you come home
You spend insane amounts of time and money planning and discussing your big move and adventure overseas but what about when you get home? Coming home (sort of, to a new city but same country) was a bag of mixed emotions for myself. I was so excited to be reunited to family, friends and some of the comforts of home. But I also felt a sense of failure, that I didn’t extend my time or see everything that the UK and Europe could offer me. I now see how silly this is, but i was worried that life would become a regular existence. When in reality, Melbourne is a new adventure, close to family and old/new friends as well as allowing me new opportunities to travel.
When it becomes everyday life
Every city is exciting and new for a time, whether you have just moved there or are a tourist. For the first six or so months London was this exciting new city with endless opportunities. Further down the line it became home, which means priorities change. What started off as me spending every paycheck quickly to live the London life to the fullest became budget exploring and the usual weekly routines. Although I will always love London and look forward to my next visit, i think time away will make sure I don’t take it for granted next time.
Always missing someone
When you’re away from home, there’s always someone to miss. When you are away or move for an extended period of time you form strong attachments to people all around the world. While it means I have plenty of couches to sleep on for future travels and people to visit, it also means lots of memories and missing people in various time zones. As cliche as it sounds, it does feel like my heart is stretched over a few continents now.
I have always loved home, but never really appreciated what I had until I was living abroad. Whilst London is very similar, there are so many subtle differences that make their mark when you get the inevitable homesickness a few months into your trip. It started as compensating and calling everyone ‘mate’ to tearful karaoke of Aussie classics during Australia Day celebrations.
Revolving door of friends and travel companions
Most expats will end up with other expats making up most of their friendship circles abroad. It’s normal because we all have common experiences and goals, and all are wanting friends quickly to explore with. Unfortunately, some stay longer than others and friends will eventually go home. If you’re planning a longer or indefinite stay, this can really suck, as starting over after building all of that connection can be exhausting.
Spending money when you’re initially travelling and setting up your life/ social circle is very different to a year or so down the track when savings are gone and you’re surviving off pay checks. I found myself regularly having to miss out on a few drinks with friends or a cool new pop up because funds were getting tighter as time went on. In my opinion, it was the first sign for myself to move on when I felt it was pointless being close to so much excitement if I couldn’t afford to experience any of it.
With moving overseas you obviously will have to sort out visa or passports but, depending on your job, there are other fees attached that we don’t think about. Police checks (before you arrive and when you leave), registration fees, agency fees, exam fees, extra luggage fees etc. When you’ve saved for awhile before moving it doesn’t always sting as much as when you leave and haven’t saved enough for all of the costs associated with setting up again back home.