What Living Abroad is Really Like: My Experience as an Expat

I get a lot of questions about moving & living abroad. It’s been incredible so far and, as cheesy as it sounds, I wouldn’t change a single thing about this crazy journey. Living in a new country can be challenging, but creating this opportunity is definitely one of the most important things I’ve ever done for myself.

I Miss my Family & Friends (But Technology Helps)

They say being away from your friends and family gets easier over time. It doesn’t. It’s always hard. You’ll miss your friends and family more than you thought you would. You’ll also miss Montreal bagels, smoked meat and real cheese curds (ok that might be a bit Montreal-specific, but you get the point). If someone would please bring me bagels, that would be fantastic.
Technology does honestly make it easier. I literally* message my parents about 3000 times a day and we FaceTime at least 3 times a week. I also talk to my special lady friends back home every day. I may be far away, but they can’t (and won’t) ever escape me.

I Wish I Could Be in 20 Places at Once

I miss Montreal. I miss Sydney. I miss Melbourne. I miss Cardiff. But I’m happy in Norwich. I know, it seems crazy to me too. Even though I’ve been happy in every city I’ve spent  ~ considerable ~  time in, I’ll always miss the other places I’ve (sometimes very briefly) called home.

There are so many amazing places in this world that I’ve yet to see, but so many amazing places that I can’t wait to return to visit. The wanderlust never fades. There just isn’t enough time or money to jet around the globe the way I wish I could.
I’ve been particularly nostalgic for our time in Cardiff recently. With the weather slowly getting better, I’m reminded of how good we had it living in Cardiff Bay. All the bars & cafes right on our doorstep with loads of outdoor seating and lovely routes for evening strolls (with ice cream, duh). I’ll also miss spending long summer evenings BBQing in Bute Park & wandering up Lloyd George and having an impromptu picnic in front of Cardiff Castle.

Since we moved here in August of last year, we’ve yet to properly spend a summer in Norwich. I’m looking forward to finding new afterwork haunts for us to frequent this summer to soak up the sun & atmosphere.

I’ve Learnt So Much About Myself

The best part about moving somewhere new on your own? You can do you. And it’s guilt-free. No feeling bad for ditching plans to stay home, no events to attend out of sheer-obligation and more! You’re on your own, but in such a good way. It’s scary and there will be times you’ll feel out of your comfort-zone, but as long as you’re not putting yourself in danger, then I promise you it’s the best way for personal growth.

Being far from home and on your own teaches you to go after what makes you happy. There’s a sort of absence of peer-pressure and the ability to just really do what you want, when you want. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And look, you’re not going to be on your own the whole time. I’ve met some of the best people in my life while travelling and living abroad (special shoutout to my amazing partner, Rob).

It Gets Normal

After a while, it starts to feel really normal. I swear I can’t even hear British accents anymore. I know that sounds crazy, but after a while, the Britishness of it all kind of wears off. I instinctively know which side of the road cars are coming from now. The time difference to Canada stops feeling major. You adapt.

The technology we have at our disposal makes living far from home easier than ever. FaceTime, WhatsApp and social media mean we can all stay in touch where and whenever. I think that, with the type of person I am, it’s so important that I embarked on this journey on my own. It led me to get to know myself in ways I don’t think I’d have been able to at home. I’ve also been able to experience new cultures, get to know a different part of the world and I got to meet my incredible partner.


*figuratively