When we decided to become expats, I knew there were others like us out there – I just had to find them. Once I started looking, I was amazed at just how many people have chosen an expatriate lifestyle. So many people tell me that they wish they could move to another country; I want to share the stories of those who have made the choice. I hope that these stories might encourage others to take the plunge. Today’s guest post is from Lyndsay of Discount Travel Blogger. Like me, Lyndsay started her traveling “career” young and hasn’t looked back!
In 2004 When I first left my home country to work on a Mediterranean Cruise ship, in my head, it was a little downgrade of my real dream job as a Flight Stewardess but well, our titles sounds similar as a Cabin Stewardess. I thought it was still a job ‘hitting 2 birds in one stone’. Getting paid while I travel for free.
Reality check, it wasn’t as glamorous as that. I left.
Milan, Italy in 2004 – My first country I ever lived, love, and hated aside from my home country. It was an amazing experience having to see a totally different world from where I’m from, it taught me a lot, it changed me, it became a part of me. Despite of the hardships I endured as a 22 year old, first time abroad, traditionally conditioned Filipina in Europe, the language barrier makes everything more difficult. And because that land is far away from home, it felt like I was caught in a place where I was not supposed to be but all I can do was to battle the fears, sadness, anger, and suppression of what I have that time which taught me to be a real independent person. Three years in Italy felt like forever back then, I could not appreciate the beauty in front of me then that I long to see again now that I have different perspective. The lifestyle, the culture, the people, and everything why Italy is famous for. I will come back, and that’s for sure.
Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2008 – It was a week long vacation turned into my first introduction to backpacking when I met a nice Australian guy in Bangkok, Thailand. We fell in love and traveled together on a shoestring budget for a year and a half from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Australia. It was Vietnam that I loved the most that time because it was budget friendly for a nice lifestyle we want in a beach town. In a year and a half of being together, Nha Trang was our nest for 9 months. We studied Vietnamese with our ‘Vietkong’ (Vietnam War Veteran) Teacher. Vietnam for me was similar to what we have back home, in that beach town, it was nicer and laid back, yet the necessities of civilization is still there. A/C, cheap and healthy food, internet access (except Facebook that you have to hide under a proxy to access it), and the beach! Vietnam cities are too crazy with motorbikes, go check out You Tube to find out.
Singapore, Singapore in 2010 – When a 4 day family tour in Singapore got me connected to old friends and classmates that are based in Singapore, convinced me to try my luck there too. Couple of months after, I was back to see if my luck is good enough to stay in Singapore. I love Singapore, I feel at home there. A lifestyle I always want, an organized, clean, and freedom from Western culture with Asian attitude was my bet. I tried hard, fought hard to get a work permit but I failed so I have to cut my stay and Singapore lifestyle just for 3 months. Where to after that? Backpacking solo!
Thailand – After backpacking that includes volunteering as English Teacher in exchange of free accommodation or tours, I knew what can be my life support for my long term backpacking next time.
English Teaching. I came back to Philippines to save for my next trip, it took longer than it should be just because I found great friends at that workplace. Anyway, the time came to leave again and I brave to rent an apartment in Bangkok while I find myself a job. It was reasonably cheaper, nervous about the bills if the month ends without a job I searched online non-stop, sent out resumes to hundreds of agencies and schools. I could not wait for their call, I started calling everyone who has a contact number on the ad. The next day, I have a schedule for an interview; one from a language center and one from an agency. To cut the story short, the agency helped me get jobs at the English Camps and then a FullTime English Teaching job in Southern Thailand. Now, I am directly hired by another school in Southern Thailand but in a different province. I’m loving Thailand, because the more I get to know them, the more I understand them. Everyday, I appreciate how amazing this country is and how thankful I am to be here. I know soon, I would have to move on again but for now, it is my home.
Of all the countries I lived in, I could not tell who I love the most. They have their own charm and magnet that pulls me to go back to. I say, I love Thailand because I’m loving my life here right now but all of them are now a part of me. You know… being an expat is a huge learning experience. You get to meet different people, cultures, and you become adaptable to the change of each destination. When you make one place your home for a bit or awhile, it becomes a part of you, a special bond called you to stay and live in that country. Knowledge and wisdom you learn from it can never be found in the confinement of any four walled classroom.