We’ve lived the expat lifestyle for about eight months now and we’ve established that there is a big difference between the dream of travelling abroad and actually living in another country.
We love to travel, however our experience living abroad can sometimes feels like we’ve traded in being stuck in one place, to feeling trapped in another. We left England to get some perspective on life, to try new things and to experience a different culture. And well, we love to travel so we thought it would be a bonus. Living in Spain means we can visit big cities and little quirky towns as much as we like, right? Wrong. This year we have done more travelling and exploring in our two week American roadtrip than we have in Spain.
The reason for this being because living abroad is no different to making a living at home. You are still required to have a job, a salary to pay for your house and car – all the same expenses are still with you.
However, that’s not to say it isn’t a great experience to live abroad. You pick up the language more, you experience the mundane and get to witness how people “really live”, which you are sometimes protected from when just travelling through a country. Also, I’ve never had the desire to visit the Costa Del Sol or any of the small places it has to offer like Tarifa, Bolonia or Ronda – without us living here we would have missed out on these beauty spots.
The endless summer days mean we can visit beach bars, little tapas restaurants until late at night. We get to see the sun setting over the Mediterranean from our balcony and we’re just a ferry ride away from Africa. But then the English girl in me also misses wrapping up in winter clothes, a cool breeze so that we can actually sleep at night and being able to take the dog out for walks in rolling fields. (It’s strange the things you miss!)
In short, living abroad is a difficult transition that we are still very much going through. Missing people is easy but making the transition to somewhere new without those people around you is the difficult part.