Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Go beyond your Expat comfort zone

With any walk of life, everyday routines sometimes get a bit too comfortable.  Although nobody really likes to admit it, people can find themselves stuck in a bit of a rut.  This applies to expats as well.  Feeling comfortable is great, but being too settled could stop you from making the most of your expat adventure.

It’s important to keep things fresh to continue making the most out of your expat experience.  If you can relate to some of these expat-in-a-rut symptoms, here are some suggestions to keep things interesting!

Symptom: Expat complacency
Did you move with a long list of things you wanted to tick off – be that sightseeing, trying particular street foods, or visiting galleries or museums, but find you haven’t done that much?  Unlike visiting somewhere on holiday, being an expat means there is no time limit on your stay, and it’s easy to forget about the typical ‘tourist’ activities you initially wanted to do.

Expat remedy: Be a tourist once a week – pretend you only have a week left in your host country, and tick off that bucket list!

Symptom: Unvaried expat diet
Indulging in local cuisine is by far one of the greatest perks of expat life, and by now you will probably have expert knowledge of where to get the best street food, the best coffee and other local delicacies. But inevitably, this also means that expats can end up sticking to the same old favourite dish.

Expat remedy: Take a trip to some local food markets, buy some ingredients you haven’t used before!  Host a dinner party for new friends, and show case your culinary skills.

Symptom:  Over-settled expats
Getting to know your local area is great and it’s fantastic to feel like you are really ‘at home’ somewhere new.  However, don’t forget that a short drive, train or bus journey away, there are new places ripe for exploration!

Expat remedy: If you haven’t left your local area for a while, reserve one weekend a month for a road trip to get to know your neighbouring cities or villages.

Symptom: Unadventurous expats
The prospect of becoming an expat is both exciting and daunting at the same time, and often comes with visions of an adventure-filled future.  However, after being settled in a place for a while, the element of adventure can start to dwindle.

Expat remedy: To reinstate that feeling of excitement, how about becoming an adrenaline junkie for the day? Do something that scares you, be that finding some adventure sports facilities in your local area, or joining up to a new club by yourself.

Symptom: In an expat bubble
If you’ve made a good circle of friends since moving, that’s fantastic, and an important aspect of feeling settled.  But this isn’t to say you should try and stop making new friends.

Expat remedy: Set yourself a target of speaking to one new person every week – be that another expat, or a local.  You’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up hints and tips about local life where you are, and perhaps some new friends as well.

So, go ahead and step out of your comfort zone! It's not always easy but it's worth it.


AdinaJustina said...

As an expats wife living almost one year in Switzerland I completely understand what you are writing about :) At least we are still in the "tourist mode" - about what I´m writing my own blog (
Your blog is a great inspiration for me!

Expat with Kids said...

Thank you for your kind comment. I wish I could read your posts from "Down to earth ... but only sometimes" ;)

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