Monthly Archives: August 2009

Three reasons to become an expatriate

Growing up I never had an opportunity to travel and see the world.  I was born in a country that didn’t let its people go abroad  and thus I was effectively cut off from anything that lay beyond the borders of my homeland.  Naturally, as it is with all human beings, the prohibited became an fascination — and I wasn’t, of course, the only one fascinated with seeing what lie beyond.  Most of my generation was just as infatuated as I was.

When I finally broke free and moved to another country, I had all the freedom in the world.  I could travel, see new places, experience new things, and learn.  Travel was no longer prohibited yet the fascination stayed with me.  To this day I am happier when I find myself in a completely new territory with adventure, things to explore, and change to experience.

Later in life, when I learned about values, I realized that my fascination with the “abroad” was the direct result of values that I held and hold dear to this day.  Values such as adventure, newness/change, learning/growth, and challenge are central to my feelings of fulfillment.  And those values are the ones that I was seeking to honor when I embarked on an expatriate lifestyle.

And so here are my reasons for becoming an expatriate in no particular order:

(1) Learning and Growth. Expatriate lifestyle offers you an unmatched opportunity to grow.  Yes, you can read about most places in books, you can watch programs about them on TV, and you can even travel to most places for a vacation.   But you’ll never learn as much about a country and its people as you learn living in their midst.  So, if you have a particular hunger for learning about different places of the world, this might be a reason for you to consider becoming an expat.

(2) Challenge. Surely things can be challenging anywhere, but living in another culture takes the concept of challenge to a whole other level.  So, if you thrive on being challenged to the brim, if you enjoy overcoming difficulties, and if you find yourself being bored in you current place of residence, expatriate lifestyle might for you.

(3) Change. Many people have trouble tolerating change, but I am certainly not one of them.  I even have to move furniture around in my house in order to change something.  I thrive on change — change feeds my creativity, it empowers me, and it creates possibilities.  So if you feel that change is something you crave, becoming an expatriate will definitely help you find it.

What other reasons to become an expatriate are out there?  Any thoughts?

People who enjoyed this article, also read:

What do expats look for?

7 Behavior Choices of a Happy Expat

International Partnerships — How tricky are they?

Copyright © 2009 by Global Coach Center.

If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us!

Different colors of money

Have you ever noticed that it’s often much easier to spend money overseas than at home?  For instance I had no qualms about spending 500 rubles for lunch in Russia but I think twice about spending the same amount in dollars in the US.  Even the Euro – which carries more value than the USD – has been easier to part with than my own home currency.

What makes foreign money different?  Or, rather, why do I react differently to expenditures enumerated in “green” bills?

When I think about it, I realize that for me different money means different feelings about spending money.  Different in that I feel freer to spend and less guilty about spending, when I do so in any other currency but USD.  There appears to be less “baggage” and less anxiety attached to my actions of spending.  I feel more independent and more in control.

So does this mean that at home I feel disempowered, imprisoned, and intimidated by money and spending it?

Maybe a little.  Why?

Because we all grow up listening and taking in the money attitudes that surround us.  Expressions like “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “there is no free lunch”, or “you have to work hard to earn your living” create a context around money for us.  We think of money as something unattainable, something hard to get, something unfriendly, something cold, and something that our lives depend upon.  This context affects our own attitudes towards money and our feelings towards spending it.

Naturally the context that people create around money changes from culture to culture. And that’s why our attitudes towards money changes when we go abroad, when we leave the realm where that context was created.

I personally like my attitude towards money when I am abroad.  And that’s why I am now trying to recreate it here at home.  I am changing a habit of looking at money from the perspective of lacking and hard and instead choosing to look at it from the perspective of abundant and friendly.  As we all know – what you focus on …expands!

What about you?  How do you relate to spending money when at home or abroad?

People who enjoyed this post also read:

Money Everywhere

Do Expatriates Have the Gimmies?

Flight $500, Hotel $150, Expatriate Reunions…Priceless

Copyright © 2009 by Global Coach Center.
If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us!