Friday, 26 December 2014

10 Life Lessons Learned from Living Abroad

I was recently looking back on the times that I moved abroad, (three in case your counting) and I was thinking to myself what were some of the lessons I learned along the way. So I decided to jot them down in a blog post and share them all with you.

Let me know if you can relate or not with any of my lessons learned.

1. You Learn to Open Your Eyes:
There is a huge difference between being a tourist in a city and becoming a habitant. Even doing daily chores such as grocery shopping, opens your eyes to how other people live. You learn about different cultures, beliefs and values that others may have. You learn that there were things that you took for granted back home and develop a love for new things that you have never seen or had before.

Copyright Spencer Young

2. You Learn that Relationships Strengthen or Fall Apart:
Friendships and Relationships including ones with family can either strengthen greatly or fall apart while living aboard. Maintaining friendships may mean lots of Skype calls, maybe an overseas visit or understanding that they may not have time to communicate much at all. The true test will be once you return home - some friendships will continue as if you were never away at all and some will feel the strain of the distance.

3. Your Learn the Lesson of Time:
While you are away you will feel as though time back home has stopped. You figuratively put your life back there on pause, but you will quickly learn that you can not pause the lives of those around you. You will inevitably miss a big moment like the birth of a baby, the engagement or wedding of a friend, but also the tougher times when you wish you could be there such as a friends rough breakup, or even the death of a loved one. The lives of people you love back home will continue to grow and change so you have to be ready to miss some of those changes.

4. You Learn the Value of a Dollar:
Living abroad can put a strain on anyone's bank account. You learn how to budget, prioritize and compromise. You learn the difference between what you need and what you want. Buying the things you want becomes more of a thought out process, rather than spur of the moment purchase.

5. You learn life/travel Hacks:
You learn certain hacks like wearing all of your heavier clothing to the airport including jackets and your biggest boots or shoes. You roll your clothing in your suitcases to save space, make photocopies of all your documents, always remembering a pen (so you can fill out customs cards on the plane to save time), and splitting your cash stash in case anything goes wrong. You pick up a lot of tricks along the way.

6. You learn the feeling of Nostalgia :
Reading a travel quote, hearing a foreign accent, looking through your pictures or even just seeing a plane in the sky; can all spark an emotional rollercoaster of nostalgia. It will happen a lot and you learn to just smile and continue on.

7. You Learn How to Travel Light:
Packing is forever changed after living abroad. You develop the skill to sort through what is truly a necessity and what can be left behind. You learn to let go but as you move forward to also learn to buy less of the frivolous things.

8. You Learn that you will start way too many conversations with... "Well When I Lived In .... "
People will eventually get sick of hearing about all your great stories and adventures as well as your constant need to compare your home town with where you lived abroad. The key is to find people who have also lived abroad or just learn how to enjoy the memories for yourself.

Copyright S3-ec
9. You Learn to be Independent:
Moving abroad can be lonely at times, but from those moments you can either crumble or suck it up and become a new person. Independence may mean going to a restaurant or a movie all alone. For the really brave souls it may mean traveling solo. Once you learn to be comfortable alone you may find that you can conquer anything; especially when things go wrong. 

Copyright NedHardly

10. You Learn that you have Changed:
Moving abroad forces you to grow in so many ways. You grow much more self confident and self aware. You truly learn what you like and what you loathe, whether it be: food, internet connection, public transportation, etc. Traveling afterwards becomes a lifeline rather than just a fun thing to do. And most importantly you learn who you are, what you can achieve and that you can accomplish anything on your own!

Copyright Mediumsworld


  1. This is a great post! I love all your pics/GIFs to go along with them :) Definitely have experienced all of this moving back home after being overseas a year - it also just makes the travel bug kick in even more than it had ever been!

  2. I completely agree!! I was living alone in paris for a few months and now in london. I've definitely learn to have better control over my money, grown in terms of independence. I'm glad relationships with my family have strengthened (funny isn't it! that it becomes stronger when you see them less) and i've most definitely changed.
    Learned to love myself more, and learned that life is too short to attempt to please everyone/fit to other people's expectations of you.

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses