During these last 10 years, I have lived in five different countries.
It has been a wonderful journey that has taught me more about life, love and fear than any self-help or documentary book.
People who have lived the experience of establishing themselves abroad will agree. Probably they will tell you that traveling has broadened their horizons, made them have a more open mind and showed them what is really important in life. But there are also things that will never tell you. In foreign lands, fairy tales do not exist.
Here we leave you five things that you have to pass through if you decide to leave home and move to another country:
1. Your loved ones will be devastated
No matter how you try to sweeten your decision, moving abroad will always be, essentially, a selfish choice.
It is very good that you are living your dream and you are choosing the life (that you think) that you want, but really, you are not making anyone happy more than yourself. If you are fortunate to be surrounded by incredible people you call family and friends, they will do anything to hide their true feelings. They do not want to overwhelm you with their doubts and fears by saying things like: What the hell are you doing ?! Instead, they will tell you: If you are happy, we are happy!
My parents did an impressive job of pretending that they were fine with my decision. They convinced me that my next adventure was as exciting to them as it was to me. I was so busy with myself that I was completely oblivious to her pain, until the day of my departure, at the airport, I saw a sadness in her eyes that I had never seen before. After our final farewells, I turned around once again to say goodbye and realized that they seemed more fragile, lost and 10 years older. My adventure was his misery.
2. You will feel guilty all the time
Two months after my trip started, a good friend of mine received a devastating diagnosis: I had cancer. I tried to be there for him, by phone, by email and by any means that would shorten distances, but I knew that what he really needed was a big hug and my shoulder to mourn.
When my 80-year-old grandmother fell down the stairs, she called me from the hospital and very sad only said: When will you come to visit me, dear?
I was not there in the bad times, and I was not in the good ones either. During the following years, I missed most of my friends' parties, bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby showers and weddings. I always thought that I would attend those events, and I did not worry about it until I knew the short, but so painful silence that always followed my: I'm sorry, but I will not be able to attend.
When you go abroad, the time and financial limitations inevitably determine the social decisions you make. Attending your best friend's wedding can prevent you from going to your dad's 60th birthday or your sister's graduation. How to choose? How can you justify the decisions you make? Even if you know that it is your life and that you decide how to live it, moving abroad will often make you feel the worst daughter and the worst friend.
3. You will feel very, very lonely
I have always been lucky to be surrounded by wonderful people. When I moved to another country, I never had a problem when meeting people to hang out and explore my new city. However, even though I was never alone, I experienced a deep sense of loneliness that I had never known before.
The first Christmas that I spent in my new country, I was invited by a partner I had met three weeks before to join his family. I felt overwhelmed by his kindness, but deep down I knew that I had been invited out of pity. Seeing the love they shared, I felt like an intruder; He definitely did not belong to that place.
It takes time to build meaningful relationships, so when you move abroad, you will spend a lot of time with fun people, but with whom you do not share any memories or important stories yet. It's like being in a new school, but this time, in a different country, very, very, very far from your loved ones.
4. You will feel that you do not fit anymore
Moving abroad has changed me in many more ways than I could have imagined. I discovered loves, passions and fear that I did not know existed in me, and I abandoned the old convictions and beliefs that simply did not feel anymore. It has been a good change to which I have embraced myself totally, but also this one I move away very slowly and subtly from the people and from the place I used to call home.
When you move abroad, a large part of your life develops elsewhere, and that makes identifying yourself with the person you once used to be almost impossible. Instead, you will find a new home in the new country, which will partially fill the gap. However, since you will lack roots and history, in your new home you will never, despite your best efforts, feel that you fit 100 percent.
5. You will lose your close friends
The friends you thought you would never lose because you were with them from kindergarten, and throughout your life until the moment you decided to leave, will soon be distanced.
For all the reasons mentioned above, when you move to another country, your life will change and you will sacrifice dear friendships. Of course, in some cases, distance unites people, but not in the majority. It's nobody's fault and everyone's fault. You forget your birthdays because you're too busy dating your new friends. You will be blamed for attending your dad's birthday instead of your bachelorette party.
Choosing different paths ends friendship, just as most relationships end. It is inevitable, and it is life, but that does not mean it will be easy. When losing friends, you lose a part of yourself, and your story. So you will constantly ask yourself: Was it worth it? Do I regret having taken the leap and launched into the adventure of living in a new country?
Yes and no, not at all. Always remember that a great sacrifice carries a great reward.