Tough decision: life abroad vs. staying at home
June 20, 2011 4:52 PM Subscribe
Fellow expats: Need some advice! Weighing the travel/stability/benefits of my current career choice vs. the personal costs of a transient expat lifestyle
posted by photo guy to Human Relations (33 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
About a year ago, I took a job with a federal agency that, over the course of my career, will likely require me to move between various overseas locations every couple of years. I'm currently living in the US, but am planning to head overseas and start this moving around in another year or so.
The job is great - interesting work, low stress, fantastic pay, and solid career stability to boot. And the travel isn't bad either - I spent a couple of years living overseas in my late 20s and have been itching to try it again.
Problem is, I've been having some nagging doubts lately. As cool as traveling is (and as much as I enjoy it!), it seems that this particular choice of lifestyle requires some big sacrifices - particularly when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Family back home isn't seen as often, friendships tend to come and go, and romantic relationships seem to be almost impossible to pursue when you know you're going to end up moving eventually. I've learned how to deal with the first two points, but the last point is proving to be rather hard to accept (long story behind this), and is what ultimately made me start questioning my choice. Now I'm wondering if I should continue chasing the dream - or just forget it, buy a condo and a dog, and settle down like all my other single friends.
So fellow travel-crazed expats, I'm curious - did you find a way to balance the awesomeness of living in exotic lands and seeing the world with the hardship of not having deep lifelong connections? If so, how? And if you were single, did you manage to meet someone along the way who shared your dream of adventure and was willing to build a life with you, despite your lack of roots or a permanent home?
Thanks and look forward to any advice. Feel free to MeMail me if you'd prefer :)