Why be an expat?

The truth is, I don’t know. Why would you become an expat? What would make you decide that you didn’t want to live in your own country anymore? That suddenly you wanted to make your life more difficult and live in a place where you can’t speak the language. 

One reason to be an expat....
view from balcony on hols in Fuerteventura
Why would anyone do that? Put themselves through the misery of missing their family and not being able to buy packets of prawn and mayonnaise sandwiches from boots whenever they feel like it? Why would you move away from a country where you can watch premiership football all weekend (not on a laptop with a rubbish connection), get a pint of Strongbow on tap, and not have to sleep at night with mosquitoes buzzing round your head and biting you on the balls (happened to me last night, first time actually, quite painful).

Why would you move to a country where the temperature goes over 30 degrees? It’s just not necessary. 30 degrees is plenty to get a tan, sufficiently hot enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt, and perfect for coming out of the sea and drip drying on a towel. Why would you live somewhere where it reaches 40 degrees before 11am? That’s mental. Why chose a country where for at least two months of the year you have to stay in your house between 1pm and 8pm because if you leave you will sweat instantly and feel as if someone is pointing a hairdryer directly in your face? That would be crazy.

Why would you move to a place far away enough where you can’t see your family when you want? What is the point of only being able to see your sisters three times a year? Why would you do that to yourself? So the only way you could see your nephew growing up was on Skype? You would be silly to do that.
What makes people want to leave their home country and start a new life? Is it the adventure? Is it just so they can say to their mates that they have lived abroad? Or it is just so that you can write a book and make a couple of quid? Maybe it’s all about finding yourself…at least that’s what I’ve heard about people who go to India.

I just don’t know anymore. If I think back to when I left England to go travelling, that was fine, I wanted to teach English and travel the world. Job done! But when I left for Spain, for Seville, did I really think I was going to desert my family and country forever? No, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t. I thought I was going to come over for a year, maybe two, learn some Spanish and how to play the guitar. I always thought I’d end up back in England, back home...where it rains in the summer.

But things have changed, or at least they did when I met my wife. It’s funny really, if I think back to when she walked in my class, late, and flashed a smile at me. I knew she was cute, she seemed like fun, but I never thought she’d grab my heart and lock it away in her pencil case. I never imagined that she’d show me another world, how to enjoy life more, how to appreciate the simple things, and I certainly didn’t think she would become the mother of my child.

Wedding Day!
So that’s why I became an expat, for love, pure love. Not necessarily for Seville. It was only the other day that I said to my wife that it would be nice if we just woke up one morning and were living in another city, one where we didn’t sweat so much in the summer. I fell in love with a Sevillana, one who is carrying our little boy. That’s why I’m now an expat, that’s why I have to sacrifice certain things, and that’s why my home is slowly becoming Spain.

So before you decide to get on that plane and desert your country, think about it hard, think about the sacrifice you are going to make. There could be a better life in another country. Life can be good away from home, you just have to make the effort and have the luck to make the destination your new home. Who knows, maybe the person of your dreams in waiting in another corner of the world.

Why did you become an expat? Why are you thinking of becoming one? Leave a comment and let me know!

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