Friday, September 16, 2011

Living the expat life

I have recently joined a new Facebook group for expat bloggers.  And I have to say I was relieved and surprised to see so many of us share the same concerns, issues and problems, no matter where we live or have expatriated to.  To those of us who have moved to sunnier climates, people often say 'you're so lucky' and seem to think our life is a holiday, but its simply not true.

Moving to another country brings its own new and different challenges, and on top of that, you still have the same day to day stresses of juggling the day to day running of life.  Yes the weather is good, and it has its advantages but life is no beach.  Most of us, it became apparent to me, struggle with almost a kind of 'grief' at leaving our old life familiar to us, friends and family.  Many of us struggle with language barriers and cultural clashes and differences.  Many of us, are maybe not entirely happy with our choice to expatriate but due to unforeseen circumstances, have no choice but to stick it out.  There is also the added pressure of having expatriated to your OH home country and the lack of understanding that can bring between you.  Many of us, like our new homes but didnt expect it to turn out how it has.  Many of us wouldnt necessarily go back, some very much would!

For me, as some may know, we came to Portugal (my OH home country) when my husband got offered a good job.  I had just been made redundant and our life was in a rut.  So off we went to a new start in the sunny algarve.  Our life has twisted and turned in a way I could never have imagined or had nightmares about.  It has and still continues to be hard, and sometimes I really wish we had never done it.  If I had known what would have happened, no way I would have done it at all.  But we didnt know so here we are.  Realisitically, although I sometimes think about it, I wouldnt go back.

So next time you dream of sunnier climates, keep in mind Expat life is no beach, although the weather is better and there are some obvious advantages, life can be bloody hard. Harder than you would imagine.


  1. Great post, and so true. It does get to me when all you hear is "you're so lucky" We are in many ways but so are they.

  2. Thanks emma, I feel the same and its nice to know that most expats dont have an easy 'beach' life and its not just me!

  3. Oh,I will have to search out that facebook page as I would find it very helpful with our next move. It took a long time for me to love Spain when we were moved there and sadly it wasn't until I returned to Australia that I realised just how great it was in Galicia. I am determined to go to Bangkok with a different, more positive outlook.

    This post is so true, I have friends who don't travel and assume expat life is stress free and easy

  4. Life in the sun is sometimes def not as great as it's cracked up to be. When I watch Place in the Sun and see people falling in love with their dream house I shout at the TV, "Look at the surrounding area before you decide plus what are you going to do all day"
    Boredom can be a big issue for some, especially those who are not golf obsessed

    PiP :)