Following my post ‘5 reasons why it’s OK not to be in love with the city you relocate to’, I had two conversations with people who have thought about moving back home, or even just somewhere else away from the city they relocated to. I’m sure this crosses most expats’ minds at some point, weighing up the pros and cons of what we’d gain and what we’d lose.
The first conversation was with an expat who had relocated after living in various other countries and found it difficult to come to terms with the huge difference between moving abroad as a student or with friends, compared to doing the move alone. With a shrunken network and lack of emotional support, it can be hard.
The second conversation was with someone whose friends and family are elsewhere, quite close in the grand scheme of things but too far away to meet up with during the week. So they end up spending most weekends travelling back home.
I asked both people I spoke to if they felt like they had given their new city a chance. Or rather if they had given themselves a chance in their new city. The first had decided that putting 100% into building up a life is the only way to really know that if they do end up leaving, they wouldn’t look back with regret. The second had decided that they didn’t really want to give it a chance and were going to start thinking about their next steps.
What I’ve realised is that you need to think about why you actually wanted to relocate in the first place. For work? For a relationship? To experience a new culture? How well your *insert reason here* is actually going is of course pivotal for whether you stay or leave. However, how we choose to spend our time outside of work and outside of our relationships is a major factor for when we come to think about if we actually want to call it quits.
We either make every effort to build a life around the main reason we moved by meeting new people and finding new places to go, or we do, well, nothing. The former is not always the easiest but the latter leaves you at a dead end. Putting yourself in a position where there’s nothing new to discover, you don’t have a network and there are no exciting plans ahead – I wouldn’t want to stay either.
So before you decide to pack it all in, ask yourself, “Have I really given myself a chance?”