Life as an Expat – Journey Into Uncertainty

What motivates someone to leave the comfort of living and working in an environment that she knows well in order to live and work in a totally foreign environment as an expat?

Some people do it because they get a job that pays them a big salary to live and work overseas.

Some people do it because they can’t find a job at home.

Some people do it because they crave the adventure that comes with living and working overseas, especially in a developing country.

Adventure Was My Expat Dream

Travel to Indonesia

I’m in that last group. I’d long had two dreams – to have dogs and to travel. Of course, you can see right away that those two dreams didn’t go well together. What would happen to my dogs while I traveled? Especially since I didn’t like going away for two or three weeks at a time. I felt that the minimum time for a trip was three months.

And six months was even better if I could manage it. I didn’t spend those months traveling around the destination country. I wasn’t trying to see every possible tourist site during my stay so that I could go and do the same thing somewhere else the following year.

​No, I lived in the destination doing all the normal, mundane activities that people all over the world do.

Except that since I was no longer in an environment that I knew well, these activities were not normal or mundane. Learning how to live without all the products that I’d always thought were essential to my daily life was definitely not mundane.

​It soon became clear that my dream of traveling the world would never satisfy me even if I was able to take trips that were months long. It became obvious that I needed to totally immerse myself in a culture different from my own. That was the adventure I was looking for.

And it has been a real adventure – one that I want to share with whoever has the slightest inkling that he or she is also looking for this kind of adventure or with whoever would like to live vicariously through my exploits. I promise to spill all the beans - but I'll definitely have to use pseudonyms for some people!

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