Expatify

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If you had the choice, would you move back home?

Antigua Guatemala

For many economic expats (those who changed countries primarily for economic reasons), the plan is obviously to move back to their home country as soon as they are financially able to. But for lifestyle expats who’ve chosen to switch countries for other reasons, it’s an interesting question as to how many would move back home if it were simple to do so.

Just having finished a nicely-written article called Overcoming the Expat 7-year-itch about a family that moved from the United States to Nicaragua in 2005, I have to wonder how conflicted many expats are once they’ve been away for a long time.

Obviously everyone is different

Having traveled around the world and lived in quite a few places, I’ve met many people who’ve relocated long ago and consider their new country to be home, and of course I’ve also met many who consider it more of a short-term adventure than a permanent move.

For some of us, the draw of seeing new things that we didn’t grow up around is a big part of why we left in the first place, but of course once you get settled in one place for a long time then the novelty disappears. This, I suspect, is what the author of that article means by “7 year itch” in that those who are able to might find the temptation to move on again for new adventures.

There’s no place like home, or is there?

On one hand, it seems like everyone in the world feels a strong connection with where they grew up. Even those who’ve moved from Third World to First World countries seem to dream of moving “home” again, hopefully on solid financial footing. However, it’s unclear how many of those people would be truly happy back where they grew up. I think we all have a tendency to romanticize things about our childhood and upbringing, and the reality is very likely going to be different as an adult, or at least an older adult.

The fellow who wrote that article listed some very compelling points about why he and his family prefer Nicaragua to the US, and interestingly, many of them have to do with the increased freedom they enjoy in Central America. Obviously, for everyone it’s different. It depends on where you grew up and where you later moved to, and also to what sort of person you’ve become in the process.

We are all likely conflicted

Having been away from the US for more than two years now myself, I’m regularly conflicted about moving back there. It goes without saying that most things are easier in your home country, particularly if there is some kind of language barrier in your new country, but also with the cultural differences between nearly any two countries.

But is life really about putting yourself in the easiest possible place? Many people enjoy the challenges that come along with life in a foreign country and those people are probably motivated to either stay put or move to yet another foreign country if they get bored. Those who are annoyed by the challenges of settling in a new place are probably living just a short distance from where they grew up anyway, so maybe there aren’t many of them out there in other countries?

Have you seriously considered moving “back home” and how serious are you about it?

Comments

2 thoughts on “If you had the choice, would you move back home?

  1. yes in deed you hit the nail right on the head…What is written is quite accurate as I myself now find it difficult to make up my mind even with an offer for housing once back in the U.S….The major problem I have is leaving behind what had been built over the past 17 years but the country itself Peru is not worth staying in although I’ve called it home…I’m rather inclined to move on to another country but also find myself less adventurous due to age and health which I must pay attention to as the time in my life is going quickly…Two mistake’s I made was never trust close family memembers with personal articles thinking that you will return shortly to retrieve them and don’t put all your eggs in one basket..There are many ex-pats with their reasons for leaving home and if you don’t have the money to return to your country of origin then you are either stuck or it will take you many mote months even into years to make that return trip and then what will you face once home ??…Most of the time the place you left will be about the same with exceptions of some new changes and different people or is it just safer to stay where you are and plan living in a different area..The choice is yours like it is mine but its that uncertainty that will haunt you everyday untill you finally make up your mind to either stay where you arer or embark on a new adventure..If you have ample money on hand then everything becomes easy but with out sufficient funds your life may be frozen in the place you no longer wish to stay in and that is precisely what to avoid..Make sure you plan ahead for the future…Good luck !!

  2. Thought about it on & off, but usually lean more towards “no”. With all of the stuff going on there, it turns me off to ever repatriating.

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