Yes, you are right, you do not need a post about what’s an expat – the word speaks for itself: someone who lives outside their country.
But, call me crazy, I don’t feel represented nor described by this dry and soulless definition. It lacks of experience and emotion, two things that (us) expats are plenty of!
A couple of days ago I came across these words that really touched my heartstrings:
“An expat is an explorer, an adventurer at heart. We are not fearless but have learned to move through our fears to achieve our dreams.
We are a tribe whose members can be found on every continent, and yet, we speak the same language.”
Now, THIS is a definition.
Being an expat is a state of mind, a life philosophy.
I have often seen going abroad as a kind of transplanting – yes, that’s right, like for a plant.
You move from one soil to another, exposing your roots to richer nutrients or in some cases to save yourself from a toxic situation or environment. Mind you, exposing your roots does not mean losing them, quite the opposite indeed. By leaving your small pot, your comfort zone, you give your roots a chance to expand. Sometimes an experience abroad can even help you to find your roots again, to find again value in that little pot where you grew up.
The path of expatriation is different for each of us, as are the reasons for undertaking it.
Some do it out of curiosity, to explore the world in which they live.
Some do it out of necessity, to find a study or career opportunity.
Some do it out of love, to be close to the person with whom they want to share their journey.
Some do it to test themselves, to challenge their limits.
Some do it out of desperation, to get away from a situation that hurts them.
Some do it to find themselves and regain perspective.
Whatever your reason for going abroad, we all have one thing in common: courage.
Because let’s be honest, this whole packing everything up and saying goodbye to family and friends thing is not for everyone. It’s for the brave, for those who put their dreams (and their fulfillment) ahead of everything.
This is my wish for you: to always be brave enough to explore and stay an adventurer at heart.