Expats are a funny bunch. We move across oceans and we immerse ourselves into different cultures and, yet, we’re always missing something. For many of us expats, we’re missing family and friends back home. For others, they’re missing the comforts and familiarity of home. For those of us who have moved more than once, we’re just trying to find that feeling of “home.”
Whatever it is, for some reason, the grass is always greener somewhere else for expats.
We compare places and lifestyles and ourselves with a line drawn in the sand between then and now. We reference our former lives and the shadow of what’s next permanently lingers overhead. For those of us not born and raised in a country, the idea of leaving is always available. We can go back home or go somewhere new – it’s easy with shallow roots.
So when the going gets tough or life seems to stagnate, expats look for greener pastures. It can happen in waves for economic or political reasons. It also happens in a constant trickle as individuals opt for a different life elsewhere.
The Grass is Always Greener for Expats
Why is that? Why are we so easily persuaded that something better exists on the other side of here? It must partly be because we’ve already seen it. We’ve lived in different places so we’re more capable of attributing value to different components of daily life.
Perhaps back home, it was easier to do the grocery shopping and the traffic was nonexistent. Perhaps in your last home, you had a great group of friends and felt welcome every day. Maybe here, you don’t like the local system for trash collection. It’s incredibly easy for simple things to become major issues when comparing expat locations.
When expats gather to socialize, the comparisons fly! ‘Ugh, this was so much easier back home’ or ‘The way the locals do this makes no sense!’ and ‘Oh, just wait until you’ve been here a few years.’
Those expats who have lived somewhere for more than five years love to tell the new arrivals how much their opinions will change in time. It’s like an old married couple laughingly telling newlyweds how the fire dims over time.
Well, sure, I mean, of course, it does. That’s life!
But expats easily separate and divorce from locations once the relationship loses its fire.
After that honeymoon period when everything is new and wonderful and exciting, expats start to notice the flaws, the kinks in the armor. It’s then that the expat commiseration and competition begins. While socializing, the complaints will reach a cacophony as this place that you had fallen in love with suddenly gets stripped bare, exposed for all to berate.
It’s then that the permanent lingering thought of leaving carries more weight and potential. The grass is always greener on the other side of here.
For many of our friends and family back home, the grass might seem greener, but it isn’t enticing enough to try to live there.
For us expats, once the first move has been made and we’ve seen how radiant that grass can truly be, there is no stopping us from perpetually seeking out that vibrancy.
We will find it in different shades and different hues. But we always seek out those greener fields of promise and opportunity. We seek out the new and unusual until it overwhelms the senses and we retreat back into our comfort zone. But expats can’t stay in that comfort zone for too long. We sit and stagnate and then we burst out once again onto greener grass somewhere else in the world.
It’s a curse and a blessing. The world is so easily connected now that moving to a new country seems simple. But the walls of borders and the red tape of bureaucracy remain, overshadowing globalization in this golden age of the internet. So we expats hop around seeking the best of everything.
Some lucky few find that perfection upon first landing in a new country. Many of us feel that beautiful, new, vibrant green grass between our toes and it feels exhilarating! Until the green starts to wither underfoot and our minds drift onward until our feet finally catch up.
The grass is always greener for expats. It’s probably that way for everyone; it just seems like human nature.
But that green grass beckons expats to dare to venture and test it out personally. Are we more adventurous because we heed that call? Or are we just foolishly chasing perfection that doesn’t exist?
Personally, I don’t care either way. Life is an adventure and I know that chasing perfection is fruitless. Everywhere will have imperfections. It’s just a matter of how those imperfections fit with our own little quirks and whether or not that grass still looks green wherever it is that we’re actually standing.
I’ve been posting lots of long content lately on how to travel, where to travel, and expat life logistics. Sometimes, I just need to let my brain drain and put words to thoughts swirling around my head. Today is one of those days!
Fellow expats, go seek out your greener pastures, wherever they may be! Friends and family back home, understand how much we love and miss you, but the world is calling.
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