There comes a time in an expat’s time abroad when they will have to make an expat’s most fundamental choice, the choice to move on. Many expats, after all, are expats because they are only temporarily residing in a country. The move was always the control, the when being the variable.
Sometimes the decision to leave is easy. The place never grew on you as you’d hoped; the adjustment was too hard or the expectations too high. Maybe it was hard making deeper connections with people or the connections weren’t enough to keep you so far from your family or the place you know as home. Maybe adapting to this new culture was impossibly difficult or maybe you just wanted to be back in a place that was familiar.
But sometimes the decision is hard.
I hate hard decisions because it usually means that there is nothing wrong, no one thing to point to and say This. This right here is the problem. Most likely, you have found a culture that you have grown found of. You’ve connected with people and nurtured a community for yourself that has fostered you to grow and change into the new person that evolves from moving abroad, a community that lets you voice who you are and listens without judgement. Maybe you’ve watered your roots or vines here and become a part of this place. I hate hard decisions because hard decisions don’t give you a definitive answer as to why, you just somehow know that it’s time.
That is how my decision to move on from Expat Village feels: hard.
I came to Expat a somewhat newbie at blogging. I had my own site at Drinking the Whole Bottle but Expat was my first professional blogging space. More than that it was a space for me to share what I knew with others looking to make that big leap of living overseas. But even more than that, Expat Village allowed me to look at my expat life with scrutiny and inspection in a way that I wasn’t doing prior to writing for them. Writing for Expat Village, helped me understand my life abroad, helped me enjoy it, laugh at it, and embrace it.
I leave Expat Village with sadness but with the knowledge that it is time. And I thank it – and Wanderlust & Lipstick – for being the type of place that makes it hard to say goodbye.