Drop everything and move abroad? I did it!
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…
but all that glitters is not gold! All the clichés about dropping everything to move abroad.
Have you ever wished to drop everything and move abroad? I have, and that is what I did, twice.
But I hardly found someone who told me which were the downsides of this life choice that is too often living on clichés.
I see more and more people unhappy with their life and wishing to drop everything to move abroad. The common dream destination is an exotic island, as if moving away is the solution to all our troubles. For sure leaving unhealthy situations behind and move to a new Country, can be the right start of a new happy life.
However, I find that we tend to rely on other people or a particular place to make us happy, whereas I believe we should find happiness first of all in ourselves.
Imagine what happens once you move abroad and have to start a new life. How does that happen?
Nobody tells you that you have to face exactly the same challenges you left behind: find a new home, a job, new friends, hobbies and so on.
Living abroad also implies ups and downs, because every situation or place has its pros and cons. I am not saying you shouldn’t try, if this is really your dream. But be ready, because it is not enough to drop everything and move abroad to be happy.
Happiness is a state of mind, something you can find within yourself, not around you.
My experiences of drop everything and move abroad
When I was a child, I hated changes (maybe it is typical of kids who generally feel safer in a regular daily routine). I found hard times to get over some unexpected life changes I had to deal with, at first I felt very unsecure, but growing up I have learnt to welcome new experiences and challenges as an opportunity to grow and better my situation.
My first experience of dropping everything and change life was when I moved to Milan for University. I know, I was only 200 kilometres from Home but to me, who lived so far in a small countryside village, moving to a big city like Milan on my own was already a big step. Most of the young girls and boys I knew at that time, used to choose Pisa or Parma so that they could commute to university every day avoiding to step out of their parents house.
I was the only one among my girl friends to move to Milan, because I was attracted by a new languages course that was not only about literature but provided also a preparation in marketing and economics. I thought it was perfect for me because I was driven to finish my 3-year-course and step right into the business world.
I must say that having the opportunity to move into my granpa’s flat that was empty at that time, was certainly a plus. In Milan, the cost of a room to rent for a student was utterly over the top, so I felt very lucky to choose to live on my own without the need to share (though I often hosted friends and partys 🙂
That was my very first Home. What I felt to be My Home.
During my university studies, I had the chance to spend a month in Dublin to study English. I stayed at an Irish family, where I happened to share the room with a good friend of mine, Elisa. I loved everything about my first experience abroad. I loved the Country (except from the crazy weather), I felt for the very first time as a world citizen, a status I had long sought after since I left my small village in Tuscany, where I had always struggled with the closed-mind culture.
I spent my last year at University between Milan and a small town in Wallonie (French region of Belgium), where I self-learnt French living at some friends of my family, while I prepared to pass my last exams.
Only after I graduated, I finally dropped everything and moved abroad, for real 🙂
I moved to Brussels where I worked as an intern for 7 months, moving house for 4 times! That’s when my fear about life-changes was entirely defeated.
I like to consider Belgium as my true first step into the adult life, living on my own in a foreign Country and getting into the job world (Read more in Expat in Belgium).
Drop everything and move abroad: a dream that comes true
From Brussels I moved straight to the other side of the world.
I spent 2 years in Sydney, changing house 3 times and several jobs. Australia has always been my dream, a Country where you always feel safe and the daily life follows the rhythm of the “no worries” lifestyle, a true philosophy there. An experience that has transformed me and my way of looking at life, the place where I “grew up” both professionally and as a person, a Country I still feel a bit like Home (Read my experience of Expat in Australia).
Back to my roots
Dropping everything and leave Australia to come back to Italy (not forced by an expired visa but for my own choice), was without any doubt one of the most crucial decisions I have ever taken in my whole life.
While I am writing these pages, I have my confirmation that living abroad is not that simple as you may think and that the grass on the other side of the fence is NOT always greener 🙂 That’s why I am back to my Home Country – Lunigiana, my corner of the earth in Tuscany, from where I first left. I have learnt that happiness sometimes is right in front of your eyes, but you have to able to see it (Read more about my Life in Tuscany).