I thought it would be fun to join the monthly Expat Q&A with fellow expat/travel bloggers Belinda of Found Love Now What and Bailie of The Hemborg Wife. I found this month’s questions especially thought provoking, as they are issues that I think most expats deal with indefinitely. While the expat life is incredible and offers endless opportunities you couldn’t have back home, there are also a lot of misconceptions from friends and family. Without further ado.
Question #1: How does your family and friends back home perceive your new life, and is it accurate?
I have two pretty distinct groups of people back home. Those who realize that England is not an exotic island far removed from American life, and those who think I live a life of luxury-each day better than the last. I have found that some friends and family (mostly those who have not travelled themselves) think that in order to live abroad and travel Europe you need to be immensely wealthy. This is very far from reality, and there are a number of factors that have allowed me to live the life I do. First and foremost, I met (and married) a European, giving me residence rights. Other than the original plane ticket from Texas to Amsterdam -almost- five years ago, my cost of living has remained pretty stagnant. Second, I travel BUDGET. I may post cool pictures and see amazing things, but behind the scenes I just took a 6 hour bus trip that would have only taken 1.5 hours by car. I probably stayed in a 25 mixed-bed hostel, filled with sweaty, smelly boys in bunk beds. Do I love my life? Every second. But life in general doesn’t differ much from what it would back home. (Except I get better croissants.)
Question #2: Do you find the need to edit your life from friends and family?
When I first moved abroad I had a lot of issues. I had just given birth to our daughter, and almost immediately left all my friends and family. I felt like people were rooting for the new adventure I had embarked on, and I didn’t want to let anyone down when I began to deal with depression and loneliness. I had a solid year in which I felt extremely isolated, and it was largely my own fault for keeping everything from those who would have helped me out of it. I have mostly lost my need to edit my life, and am much happier because of it. I think it is important to remember that most of the feelings you deal with as an expat are experienced by the majority, at some point or another. These days I share just about everything from my life on this blog. I hope it gives those back home an idea of the true day-to-day, as well as the extraordinary opportunities I have been given.