Resuming the expat lifestyle: should I stay or should I go?
April 28, 2012 5:19 PM Subscribe
I've recently returned to my home country after 12 years overseas. Just as I'm slowly starting to feel settled again after 6 months at home, an unexpected and very attractive job opportunity offers to take me abroad again. Should I resume the expat lifestyle? Of course it's not that simple...
A little background: After 12 years overseas (my whole working life) in two different countries, I was suffering a bit from expat fatigue. No regrets at all about my travels, but after a certain number of years away, the uncertainty of not knowing where you are going to be next year makes it hard to plan and make a lot of life decisions.
We moved around a lot in my childhood too, the result being that I don't feel particularly grounded in any one place, and I have very few friendships that stretch back a long way. I decided it was time to move home at least for a few years to set up a "base" -- somewhere where, even if I was to take off again, I would ultimately want to return to. The transition hasn't been easy, but I am finally starting to feel like this may really be home, and to appreciate how important it is being close to family.
And out of nowhere comes a very attractive job offer to move back overseas. A more senior position, better money, great career opportunity. One that will probably never present itself again, especially not in my home country. The decision seems like a total no brainer. So why am I finding it hard to get excited about it?
I'm in my mid 30s and still single, and I'd like to settle down and have a family at some point. A part of me wants a simpler life. And I worry that leaving again so quickly is perhaps inconsistent with these goals. And that if I leave again, it may be harder to ever return. At the same time, this is a great opportunity, I know people in the city I'd be going to, and you only live once, right?
Are there any other expats out there who can relate to this sense of ambivalence? Or have any advice on breaking through it?