Expat Life vs. Full-Time Travel: Why we decided to become full-time expats
Let’s start off with how much we all LOVE travel websites! The amazing photos, the adventurous spirits, new cultures, food, and scenery. Full time traveling SEEMS like it really has everything going for it.
In fact, as my husband and I were planning our move from the States to Turkey, I was convinced we could do it. I could not, however, convince him that it was a good idea as well.
Now almost a year into our move, we are settled in the sunny, 4 million large city of Izmir, and I could not be happier with choosing to settle in one location as an expat and then travel out from our cozy home.
Here are a few reasons we decided to be expats instead of full-time travellers:
1. WORK: Not everyone is made to work and travel full-time. Fortunately, if we wanted to, we have that option. But there are so many other international full-time jobs that provide a steady income, housing allowances, insurance, and vacation time. It’s truly the best of both worlds! Consider becoming a language tutor, teacher, tour guide, airline attendant, or find an international job location via your current company.
2. HOME BASE: Let’s face it, some of us are homebodies. We like our routine… our morning coffee in the same comfy chair with the same perfect blanket… ok, maybe I have found out from my now 3 international expat moves, that is just who I am. And there is no shame about it. From a work perspective, my husband does best when he has a routine and a home office to work from during the day. We do best as a couple when we know what is expected and how we can best help one another.
3. COMMUNITY: Since our families live in the states, finding closeness to people here in the local community is important to us. Our online community is a huge support, but we also find that it is so helpful and encouraging to have a local group of friends to depend on in a foreign country.
4. DEEPER CULTURAL IMMERSION: Cultural is my favorite reason to live somewhere else long term. There is so much I am learning now, almost 3 years into Turkish culture, that I am constantly surprised by the complexity of culture! Plus, cultures evolve and changes just like the people that comprise it. Watching it change from when I first lived here 8 years ago has been even more interesting!
5. SLOW TRAVEL: It’s funny that I wrote ‘slow travel’ because I am actually a fast traveller by nature, but my husband is the definition of a slow traveller. Meaning that when we plan a vacation, I know that we will take half the day to rest, read, and sleep for him and the other half to explore what we can for me. It usually means that we decide to stay longer in one place in order to truly experience all it has to offer. It also means that we may just go to 1 city instead of 5 cities in one week.
6. SANITY: While some people are great at moving, touring, transitioning and maintaining emotionally consistency, others need time to process. Whether you are single, traveling with a friend, or married, it takes work to make sure you are communicating well and are emotionally healthy. Staying in one place teaching you to reflect, adapt, change, and learn who you are in one culture, one country. You learn to thrive in a place you are not a native for longer than a few days/weeks. While it is hard, it is one of the biggest rewards!
From the few reasons listing above (and many long conversations we had before our move), we were able to really see who we are and not what we wanted to be. Our intentionally dreaming and reflecting made our lives as expats much easier and less stressful through the transition to internationally living. Hopefully, you will be able to do the same and make the best choice for you!
Which one are you?
Would you consider yourself more apt to being a full-time traveler or does expat living sound like it could be the better option for you?