We all know how going abroad is romanticized. It is in every music, every Woody Allen movie, every Instagram page. It is in fact a pretty magical experience, where you are going to go to many interesting places, meet great people and have a lot of fun. But not everything is fantastic when you are actually living the experience. I have managed to live abroad twice, and I have a few considerations.
1 – You are going to be alone
Yes, you are going to be alone most of the times. But it is a great thing because it is the time that you have to be in contact with yourself, to get to know your problem-solving abilities, or to just meditate and be comfortable in your own skin. Travelling to new cities all alone and just being your own company is something everyone should try! It means self-discovering, awareness, openness… and it means sometimes being scared and feeling lonely. But this is life.
2 – People won’t stay for long with you
When you spend some time abroad, you meet a lot of people. It is a fantastic social experience. But those people will not stay a lot of time in your life, because soon you will be gone or they will be back to their country or their journey. But even if they are away, you know that they made a difference in your life. That is why you are always going to be connected somehow.
3 – You are going to be less scared of strangers
Being a very shy person, people always frightened me, especially strangers. But the moment I went abroad, I started to see people in a different way. So I started to feel more relaxed about having strangers around, who can soon be part of number 2 above. I even started being part of Couchsurfing (where you stay in someone’s house in a city you are visiting), getting rides with strangers using blablacar or simply joining social events on meetup.com. What would be a death sentence for me years ago became a great and fun way to live my experience abroad.
4 – You will have to cook and do laundry, dude!
Cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and organizing your stuff is a real thing! These can be very unusual tasks when you have just left your family nest, but by living by yourself, you are going to discover your personal taste, how many times a month you should do laundry, and even that you can cook well sometimes.
5 – Every city’s public transport is a whole new universe!
When you go to a new city, you not only have to get used to the city map, but also how the public transport works there. The subways, the trams, the buses, the bicycles, they all have their own rhythm, and you have to get used to it. It can be hard and stressful, but you will learn.
And these interesting and freighting aspects of going abroad for a while and living by myself is now a huge part of who I am or who I am becoming. I would not be the same person if I just have stayed at home, and life would be completely different. I don’t regret a thing, even the bad moments when everything seemed sad and lost, because, yes, you are going to have these moments abroad as well.