I’ll never forget the first time I saw an expat. It was in Vientiane in Laos, a quiet and charming riverside city whose streets are decorated with colourful temples and leafy cafés that spill out onto the street, French-style. Sitting outside one balmy tropical evening with a plate of delicious local curry and an ice-cold bottle of beer laid out in front of me, I had naturally begun to count my blessings.
That is, until I noticed the expat. Tall, tanned and in his forties, he lounged insouciantly at a table next to me, chatting with a local over a beer. I overheard he’d just got back from the office. Soon he stood up, swigged the dregs of his bottle and hopped on a Vespa, zooming away down the street and disappearing into a wall of magenta bougainvillea off to the right, behind which I assumed a pretty tasty property was concealed. What a life! I was insanely jealous.
We all know the feeling – that drifting dreariness of everyday normality. The droning of your alarm clock pulling you back from blissful dreams into a still-dark morning where the heating hasn’t come on yet and next door’s terriers are singing the dawn chorus. Work beckons, a new directive from head office has ruined your lunch plans and there’s a big strike tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be this way.
In today’s world, moving abroad has never been so easy. The internet means the faces of your friends and family are just seconds away; cheaper airfares mean heading home for Christmas is now a regular pattern for millions of people. It’s simple. And on a planet as beautiful, alluring, seductive and diverse as ours, there’s no excuse for not getting out there.
The world really is your oyster. Living somewhere new evokes a constant feeling of excitement, a buzz a world apart from mundane, everyday chores that just grate when you are at home. There’s the thrilling spinal tingle when you realise that what you are doing is just so weird, and the feeling of smug satisfaction when you’ve finally worked out how the buses work. There’s the wonderful sense of connection you foster with people who you otherwise would never have met, and the cheery nuances of the new country that you just have to chuckle at – their way of saying thankyou, their bizarre breakfasts and funny fashions.
Most underrated of all is what you’ll learn about yourself. Taken out of your comfort zone, you’ll discover that you are far more resourceful than you ever thought you were. You’ll appreciate people because of their culture, and not in spite of it. You’ll have a deeper understanding of humanity, and this won’t just help you next time you want to move abroad: it will help you whenever you want to do anything new, in any walk of life.
Imagine you are in your regular job. Sit back. Close your eyes. Now forget about your regular job. Where are you? What do you see? What excited you as a kid? Allow yourself to dream a little dream. You could be twisted in some impossible yogic contortion atop a spectacular mountain; you could be shaking cocktails at your very own beach bar. You could be on a dancefloor, swept off your feet by a pair of big brown eyes…
Still not sure on where to go? With a few simple questions, this quiz will locate your destination of destiny. The people at sellmyhome.co.uk, an online estate agents in the UK, have in-depth knowledge about many of the world’s top living locations, so whether you can picture yourself eating patisseries in Paris or driving Vespas in Vientiane, they’ll help you sell your home so you move to the perfect place and reinvigorate your lifestyle.