Why I’m not ready to move back to Spain

Next month, it’ll be 5 years since I landed my first real job and moved abroad without a clear idea of when I would return.

Lavaux, Switzerland

Lavaux’s vineyards became my weekend escape

I remember the blend of contradicting feelings I had when I formally accepted that first job offer in Lausanne, Switzerland. On one side, I was happy to have a job in the field I wanted and excited about all the new experiences ahead of me. On the other, though, I was worried I wasn’t good enough for the job and wouldn’t fit into the new culture.

I was moving long-term to a new city, in a new country. I didn’t know anyone nor did I speak the language. And yet, I had to hit the ground running.

Skiing in Chamonix, France

Even better than hitting the ground running, was hitting it skiing

As I settled into my life in Switzerland, I learned a lot about self-sufficiency. Sometimes, I learned it the hard way – like that time I had to kick someone out of my flat using all the French words I had learned over those 2 years. But most of the time, all those new challenges – like flat hunting, moving or going to a doctor – were easier than I had thought.

Moving abroad has taught me a lot about what I can accomplish by myself once I break outside my comfort zone and step into the new and unknown. With every step I take outside, my comfort zone expands – and the more it expands, the bigger and more powerful the experiences I live.

Es Ram, Formentera, Balearic Islands (Spain)

Like that time I escaped the crowds in Formentera, Spain

At times, returning to Spain seems like an incredibly appealing idea – Spain is, after all, the heart of my comfort zone and London is, in many ways, the exact opposite of what I feel comfortable with – It’s noisy, big and crowded. But this kind of daily challenge keeps me on my toes. It pushes me to continue learning, developing and adapting every day.

London Eye, London (UK)

Of course, not all learning paths are a straight line. I have struggled, failed repeatedly and made a fool of myself – but most of the time I have come out on the other side knowing that this struggle has helped me grow and develop my strengths.

I don’t know how long I will continue in London or where I would go next if an opportunity rose. But I do know that I’m not done with being an expat – and I’m not sure I ever will.

In which ways has living abroad expanded your comfort zone?


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6 thoughts on “Why I’m not ready to move back to Spain

  1. Ohh how I understand you, I moved to Lausanne too 4 years ago, because of my paremts jobs. I didn’t know how to speak the language and just like you I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in. But it actually turned out to be a beautiful city.
    It’s nice to know that someone shared the same experience as you ☺

  2. Living and working in Sri Lanka for 6 months of the year teaches me to be grateful for everything I have. It also teaches me that poor people love and care for each other and want to give. I’m not sure that my comfort zone has expanded I just learn to carry on in spite of discomfort.
    Something of your story matches the heroine in my book.

  3. As an expat I’ve had some of my highest and lowest points in life and there has been much much learning. After moving away from home and not only surviving but thriving I know I can handle whatever comes my way. I do want to go ‘home’ eventually but not really yet. I do love being an expat but I could try another city now. London is getting a bit tiring.

    1. I completely understand how you feel – I sometimes feel a bit tired of London, too, and daydream of moving somewhere completely different – somewhere smaller and warmer 🙂 Where would you like to move next?

      1. I’ve come to like the temperate weather actually but consistent sun would be lovely. Not sure where but warm, and very different to England or Canada. Maybe somewhere in Central or South America…actually I’ve thought of Costa Rica before but I’m open to almost anywhere except Australia and Russia.

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