Life abroad, Singapore

The two sides of Expat Life

I chose to be an expat and am actively seeking the adventure and novelty of moving to a new place -wanting to see the world and trying to travel as much as possible.

Since our move to Singapore a few weeks back, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the lifestyle I chose and why I -and all the other expats – inflict this stress upon myself. While I deeply believe it is healthy to regularly leave your comfort zone to grow, I couldn’t help but feel there’s more behind it.

Expats choose to be away from family and to leave the comfort of familiarity behind for… yeah for what actually? When people ask me I tell them something about being afraid of regretting not having done or tried something when I am old. I tell them I am just being curious and that I want to experience life to the fullest.

When I visit a new place I can’t help but be in awe about how wonderful, big and diverse this world is.

It grounds me and makes me humble. But beyond that I feel like chasing after something unknown. I have this insane calling to move forward, it almost feels like running for the sake of running.

On the other hand I live quite a traditional life with my fiance. Actually most expats I know live a traditional family life. We are planning our wedding and are happy about the little things like talking over a home-cooked dinner in our kitchen on a weekday evening or watching a movie on our couch. So why don’t we do that closer to home or somewhere we lived before? What I start to realize is that wherever you move you just build yourself a normal life, your little corner of the world basically – wherever or for however long that is.

You work, you spend time with your partner, you try to find new friends and you join local sports clubs or activities. You try to settle and to feel at home, even though you just ran from your last one. We just signed a two year lease for our new apartment and I am super excited to live in the same flat for more than just a year. I haven’t done that since I moved from Germany in 2012 and it just feels so great!

Expats are caught somewhere between being traditional and adventurous.

It is hard to put that feeling into words, but I strongly believe it is healthy to reflect upon your life choices instead of just mindlessly going with the flow. Despite the pain of being away from family, who I miss dearly, I wouldn’t change a thing in the world. Our life is my home, not a specific place. Wherever that might lead us in the future. Every night I see Singapore light up from the balcony of our 19th floor apartment and my heart overflows with happiness, the same way my heart overflowed with joy when I saw the Houses of Parliament on my morning commute in London every morning we lived there. That’s what I do it for: joy and happiness! That’s what all of us expats do it for: a joy and happiness bigger than the pain of what you are leaving behind!

Have you ever lived abroad or are you currently living abroad? I’d love to hear your thoughts on life choices and the expat lifestyle in the comments below!

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The two sides of Expat life - The ups and downs living in Singapore far away from family

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5 thoughts on “The two sides of Expat Life

  1. It is a very good article about your thoughts as an expat and helps me to understand you .

  2. That is a very good article about your thoughts as an expat and very interesting for me. It helps me to understand you.

  3. Definitely resonate with this and the joy and happiness expat life can bring, despite the frequent heartaches and goodbyes xo

  4. This resonated so much with me. I’m about to try and move to another country myself – with my husband – and I know our life will be much like the one you described. Our day to day is so “normal” and would likely seem boring – but maybe that’s why we want to move somewhere new. To be surrounded by newness as we build our typical life. I love how you said your life is your home. After traveling for 13 months that’s exactly how we felt. And coming back to our actual home didn’t feel like the big homecoming we thought it might.

  5. This really does resonate with me. I’ve been living abroad for many years now, moved countries, too, and what I love is to find normality everywhere I go. Cook my own food in my own kitchen, find a routine. Yes, the dreaded routine, it feels much nicer when you see a different city’s skyline from your bedroom window.

I am curious about your opinion!

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