I’m not going to lie – my life living away from home is a pretty enticing mixture of cushiness and occasional adventure. There are many reasons as to why I enjoy living away from home. For starters, it really puts a good nail into that prying obnoxious question of “so what are you doing with your life?”. By answering “I live abroad” you basically possess one simple satisfactory reply to their inquiries. By saying that you live in another country, you appear to instantly be doing something with your life and you also have the added advantage of appearing to make interesting brave life choices.
Yes, you do have to adapt too many things away from the comforts of home- but once you are over the first couple of hurdles it gets easier and easier. Generally, the temporary element of my undemanding post here makes me approach life in a much more relaxed way. In place of pushing towards hard work and success, the focus switches to fully embracing the experience while you are there. Typical concentrations of a person in their early twenties like getting good grades or carving out a career fade off into the unconsidered future. Instead, fun and cultural experiences (many of them calorific experiences) become the driving force behind your life.
Having said all this though, I do know that the day of my return is inevitable. While I’m lamenting the end, given enough consideration I can see that there are advantages to sitting still for a while. Although it pains a large part of my being to go without the croissants and city breaks of the life that I know here – there still are clear benefits to be in more familiar territory for a time. So if like me you have to forget about a life of calm adventure and slot yourself back into reality here are the things you may have to look forward to:
I think one clear benefit of being a bit more stationary for a period is that your savings account might actually become a real thing rather than just an idea. The constant carpe diem of living abroad is a quick thing to deplete all accounts as you try to cram as many cities out of your coins as possible. However, living at home gives you maybe either the time or the boredom to actually be motivated to go out and work. If you are a little more permanent and a little less temporary people may actually want you to work for them. A welcome contrast to that glazed over look employers have when you tell them you are travelling, a non-native speaker and only around for about six months.
Up your productivity levels:
I find that when I am living in a country which is not my own I become a much more distracted and less focused person. It can take me hours to complete a task as I get swept away looking at some fantastic building or by spending hours in a newly discovered art gallery. Or I get confused and lost or get let down by their much worst transport system. These situations do not lead to a very productive life- tasks are mostly forgotten let alone achieved. Also, adapting to a slower pace makes it more difficult to be in the mind frame to actually conquer many goals. At home, the opposite case is to be found. While knowing a place inside out may feel like there is little space for discovery, you are much more likely to be able achieve things quicker and have the clear head space to know what you want to do and do it.
Ahh, Parent rent; stemming from potentially the kindest landlords out there who expect some of the lowest rents prices out there. Some even get so much biological pity they get a place to live in for free- blood is thicker than water and also thicker than a wad of hard earned cash. One of the downsides to travelling is that it really turns you into an adult rent wise. It’s easier to go on living in your family home and maybe if your parents are too busy they won’t notice that you are a fully-fledged adult who should pay for their own accommodation by now. However, I think that once you have left the country all self-respecting parents aren’t going to pay for all those things that you benefit from at home- a roof, food, laundry. So lap it up while you are at home- whether you are “between places” or waiting to be handed over your family inheritance (you’ve checked that will and the home is yours!).
A heavily subjective area I know but from several angles, having a good love life at home is much more easily achievable. When you are abroad, of course, there are plenty of hot and interesting people to gaze upon. However- there are a couple of annoying barriers- not being able to speak the same language for one. Or not being taken seriously because your presence has an expiry date. Or mixed messages about taking on the challenge of long distance (you wanted a fling, they wanted forever- must have gotten lost in translation somehow!). If dating in your native country, dating becomes easier through simply having more contacts. Or if you are from Dublin like me nine times out of ten you have a shared friend who can vouch for or warn against them. Also, long distance becomes eliminated- you can probably get a bus and not a plane to their house. These small things can make the challenges of the dating world a smidgen simpler.
Personally, when I travel I eat. The two activities are interlinked- how do you understand a city, if you don’t understand how they eat? I hold the belief that food in the western world is a huge cultural thing- we are always guaranteed to have some – so it becomes like this kind of toy that we mess around with. And this toy describes who we are, what we crave, what we need. As a food lover, I find it hard not to be curious about the cuisine of a country- and without fail, I give into my stomachs demands. Yet, my stomach is not rewarded for this- travelling- if you are doing it right- piles on the pounds. Living in your own county in which the food may not be as exciting to you means that it is much easier to keep to a healthier regime. This enables you to shed off those well-deserved cultural calories of your travels.