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?
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