You might be thinking how organized and convenient your life at home is. You may go to uni every day or to work, you wake up at the same time every day and on weekends you can sleep in if you want to. You know where your bank is, you have your favourite bakery just around the corner, you can eat the food you like and you have your car to go to around the city or know which busses take you to the place you want to go. Or you use local train apps to take you to places. It’s all quite easy to stay in the place you already lived for years or even the town where you were born in.
But is routine really necessary to have a feeling of safety?
I don’t think it is. Of course, when you do the step to go to a new place, a new country, where you don’t know anything, probably not even the language, it might appear a bit strange. But it’s ok to be afraid. And there are different strategies to cope with the fear of going to new places just by yourself. (See article “How to get over the fear of going somewhere you’ve never been to”). But what I want to tell you is, that this little bit of anxiety is part of your journey. You might neither know, how the busses work in a different country, nor do you know which apps locals use to ease daily life. You might not know, from which bank you can withdraw money with your credit card without paying extra bank charges. You don’t know where to get food or where the closest supermarket around is. You also don’t know which places are safe to eat at without getting food poisoning (this is especially important in Asia). You basically don’t know anything until your plane lands and you have arrived in a new surrounding. There can be many obstacles in the first days. But I can tell you, that after two weeks, it feels like you have never lived somewhere else. You acclimate to the surrounding, have tried out restaurants (better take those where many locals go to), you have discovered transportation apps that help you navigate around the city and you have probably met some people that are or were in the same situation as you.
You can also have your routine abroad
Especially when you work in another country, you will quickly adapt to your routine in the new country. You get up in the morning, to go to work, have lunch with your colleagues, go to the gym or meet friends after work. You can basically just have a normal life BUT you are in a different country that invites you to explore new places.
So what is the difference in working abroad then?
Sure, you might have the same 9-5 job as in your home country but everything else is different! You are in a new place. You get to know people from a different culture. You hear a new language and learn to speak it. You can explore different places at the weekend. You see different trees and animals. People might look different depending on where you go. Everything might be different. And sometimes it’s even you. Depending on where you go, you are the most different person, people have ever seen (thinking about Asia or Africa). Many people will be interested in you, talk to you, take pictures of you, if you want it or not (especially in China).
You might think: Oh well, I can also visit places in my home country on the weekend.
That’s true, go for it! But it is definitely not the same as visiting new places in a different country. Maybe because, you are still “safe”, going to places with your own car, with your old friends or just because it’s your country, so you don’t feel foreign. Visiting new places abroad gives you euphemism, you have the feeling of achievement, as it probably took you a lot of effort to plan the trip, and you can look at totally different sights. I mean, who can visit a Chinese temple on the weekend, when you live in Europe? Indeed, you can see many different places of different cultures in Europe because many countries are close-by but it will still look somehow familiar to your own country. But that’s not the point. If you want to see unique places, you cannot imagine how they look like, you have to go abroad to see it on your own. And certainly, it will be different to visit places in different countries, even if it’s just for the weekend, than in your home country. And to be honest, you mostly go to familiar places on your weekends, probably to the same lake to swim in or the same city for shopping.
It has many advantages to go abroad instead of staying in your home country!
Imagine, how much experience you get and how many different places you see, when you jump into a plane and go live abroad. If you compare yourself how you have been at home and how you are after living abroad, you have your answer. You will get rich by heart. You can proudly say that you have experienced how it is to live in a developing country. You have met many inspiring people that have changed your mind. You have lived in a different culture and adapted the most positive cultural traits. You can get the best out of every culture and for it into your own one. Because the culture you have after living abroad is not your home culture anymore, it is a remix of all the cultures you have experienced by yourself for a longer period of time.
Think about who you want to be and where you want to be and then just book the damn flight ticket! 🙂