I’m sure everyone dreams of expatriation, the thought of living out your days in paradise seems a tantalising one, yet one problem persists; how do you know where you want to settle down?
It’s not like we can make an educated decision based on reading a few Wikipedia articles and scouring through the ambiguous TripAdvisor reviews for the countries you might want to live in one day. Youtube and Google Maps may give you a bit more of a first-person perspective on what it’s like to be there, but you never actually know what it’s really like until you visit.
So, pertaining from good advice, here are some great reasons how travel can make you a happier expat!
Understand the world and global culture
Experiencing and connecting with cultures far removed from your own can help to open you up to many of the wonders of the world; tasting new flavours, witnessing strange customs and experiencing wildly different ways of life all help in contributing to your personal growth and understanding of the world around you.
Back home, we all grow up a little scared of the big unknown that is the world. Moving abroad and travelling is the key to breaking down those fear barriers and discovering our latent potential.
Have amazing experiences before settling down
There’s no ‘perfect time’ to settle down, but to get the most out of your experiences before you do, visiting some far-flung corners of the earth is a must. Whether it’s exploring the backpacker-centric shores of Thailand, the rainforest of Guatemala or living in New Zealand for a year, these experiences are crucial in forming unforgettable memories, and although you may not realise it now; preparing you with all the necessary skills to cope as an expat in the future.
Think about it, you will have already had your fair share of culture shock experiences, survived some dangers, successfully communicated in different ways and already opened your mind to alternative ways of living. Travel is great expat practice!
Challenge brings personal growth
Moving abroad is more than just a set of experiences, it’s a challenge, and most expats can attest to the fact that moving overseas can be arduous in more ways than one. Travelling allows you to experience the challenging facets of expatriation in bite-sized pieces instead of all at once, giving you more of an idea of what to expect, such as: organising your own travel and navigation, renting and working in a foreign country, dealing with bureaucracy such as visas, customs, and embassies, meeting new people and learning a new language, culture shock and homesickness. All of which prepare you for the intricacies of relocating abroad.
Discover your future home
There’s a place out there for everyone, or so they say. Though it’s only right to assume that the more countries you visit, the greater your chances of finding the perfect place to settle; you might meet someone and fall in love or fall in love with the country so much you’ll never want to leave. That’s how expats are born, right? Or maybe you can’t settle on a country, in which case, you keep globetrotting until you do!
So, can travelling first really make you a happier expat? Not necessarily, but you will be a more experienced expat that you find you can cope with a lot more than you thought!
Written by Alex at Currency UK – a foreign exchange company in London who help expats transfer money overseas.