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Expat departures – are you running away?

Your first instinct it probably to say “No, of course not“. But hear me out on this one.

Most expats I’ve met through the years are driven by one of two things. They are busy moving or running away from something that hurt them in some way OR they are moving towards something they truly and deeply desire. They might sound very similar, but trust me – these two approaches will give very different results in your life.  There is also a group of expats and travellers there in the middle who would say that they are neither of these, but simply in search of their place in this world. Which means they are ultimately driven by moving away from what they don’t want or in search of where they can live the things and values they desire.

This topic is very close to home for me, so I thought I’d share a personal story. Since first moving overseas at 19 years old, I’ve been searching for the place in the world that would be my best match. I wanted weather, culture, career, language and people to blend to that beautiful mix that suited me perfectly. Every place in the world I went to taught me something, but was never enough somehow. Never really felt like home and my heart certainly got kicked around a bit along the way. So at each place I stuck it out for a while and then kept moving. At first I can imagine this lifestyle surprised a few people in my life, but they eventually got used to my odd desire to keep going.

The crunch time came when I had arrived in Australia and felt reasonably settled with work, life and friendships. One morning it just hit me. I was not searching for something better. I was avoiding the obvious and kept trying to outrun it. I had never truly put my foot down and said ‘this is what I really want‘. I had allowed so many thing to come across my path, and just thought they were brought to me by some higher intention, not realising that I was well within my right to decline the things that did not appeal to me and set more boundaries.

I had become so good at running away from responsibility. Not responsibility in the sense of paying bills and saving for retirement. But responsibility to set my true course and direction. To live by the things I value highly and realise that the place matters less when your purpose is clear. The realisation that I had an absolute lack of personal responsibility and purpose hit me so hard that I started crying uncontrollably. How could this have been happening for so long without me knowing?

You see, we’re all weak, yet so incredibly strong at the same time. We’re also conditioned to come up with excuses and explanations for the most basic behaviours. Only when we are 100% honest with ourself can that purpose come out and shine through, no matter where in the world we are at the time.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because it’s time to stop and have a think. Is the above true for you? If so, what are you going to do about it?

It hurts to be honest, but it hurts even more to keep running. If you have expat friends and family around you, make sure to share this article with them. So many people are running away without even knowing from what.