The Hard Part of Living Abroad 

Dear 2006 Me,

You’re about to move to England. Big step but it feels right and you will have the right mix of apprehensiveness and excitement. You don’t realise it yet but this is a pivotal point of your life.

At this point your thinking you’ll be away for at least 2 maybe 5 years as that’s when your visa runs out and by then you’ll be 28 and ready to come home.

This is not the case- 10 years in and you’ll still not be sure when or if you’ll move back.

When you step on the plane you’ll be thinking of the adventures your going to have, the people you’ll meet, the countries you’ll go to and the new life you’ll have. What you won’t be thinking about is what you’ll end up missing out on at home while your away and rightly so in your mind your only going for a couple of years. Not much will happen in that time. Although it’s glaringly obvious, you forget life will go on even if your not there.

You’ll go home almost every year and funnily enough more times than your sister but you can’t be there for every occasion. When your sister gets married, your best friend has a baby, a family member suddenly passes away you’ll be there and reminding yourself that the worlds not that big. But the longer you’re away the more things you start to not be able to be there for like when your grandad is ill and needs to move into a home and your grandma needs support, when your family get together to celebrate anniversaries, significant birthdays, random off the cuff weekend catch ups, meeting friends new partners, engagement parties and town celebrations.

A few weeks ago it was Dad’s 60th birthday and you won’t be there for the party. Yes you saw him a month earlier on an amazing family holiday and celebrated with everyone then but you miss out on being there now. You’ll facetime (FaceTime is amazing just you wait) and talk to everyone and see how much fun they are having together and they will laugh at how rugged up your are when it’s so warm there and then you’ll hang up and smile but that smile will fade into tears. Tears of sadness that your not there, guilt that your not there and longing as you wish to be there and not in your lounge getting ready to put the washing away.

Im not writing this to you to stop you from going or to create any further guilt as you need to go. You need to live your life. But you need to know these things as your going to have to be strong. Really strong. No one will ever tell you about this side of living away (only all the practical points of living abroad) and you do learn how to cope with it even if at times you won’t feel like you can.

You need to make sure you enjoy every moment and every new thing you see as this will shape you and make you into the person you are meant to be. As much as you’re longing to be at home with everyone they will be looking at your Facebook, text messages, Instagram and feeling envious that your having a weekend in Paris or that your off on another girly holiday to somewhere fabulous in Europe. They’ll want to be there for you when you have a bad day, hospital appointments, celebrate the promotion you got or even take you out for dinner when you get engaged (yes you get engaged!). This is just the way it is.

It might sound all doom and gloom but it’s not. It’s amazing – you have so many friends who are your extended family, you fall in love, you see things you never thought you would, you have a great job, mum comes to celebrate your 30th, you even get a pet rabbit and most importantly you have the most amazing family that are there for you regardless of the miles or oceans between.

Home is where the heart is and your fortunate enough to have your heart on both sides of the world.

Be strong and enjoy!


oh and look out for a guy that gives you a jar of vegemite on your first date. He’s a keeper and will always make you smile when your missing home

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Travel, photography and lots of laughter

39 thoughts on “The Hard Part of Living Abroad ”

  1. This is just so lovely! We miss you too but we know you have made the right choice and are happy. It’s amazing how we can stay in touch despite the miles between us.xx

  2. You have no idea how much this cut to the bone for me, as yes we do miss people, on this grey yucky no sun Monday 🙁 We made the decision we are happy doing what we are doing. Actually, when we do go home, we can’t wait to go and do some more housesitting 🙂 🙂

  3. This is a lovely post, living in a different country is so hard. I moved from the UK to Spain so not as far as you but missing out is definitely one of the hardest things to deal with. Thanks for sharing.

    Jess | xx

  4. What a beautifully written post. Puts things into perspective at how hard it can be being away from family. This is the first time on your blog so I’m not familiar with where you’re originally from, but I’m glad you feel at home here. There are negative and positive points on both side, but at least you have two homes. I can’t wait to move abroad one day.
    Love Hannah x || HannahHawes

  5. Brilliant post, it is such an adjustment moving abroad. And I know once you get settled snd things start to become ‘normal’ the home sickness starts to set in.xfjx

  6. Vegemite as a first date gift? LOL!

    We’ve toyed a few times with the idea of moving across the country with our kids, but it’s never quite worked out. Reading your thoughts on living abroad made me both happy to have stayed put, and bummed that we had, all at the same time.

  7. This is a great post! I’m a sucker for a bit of nostalgia, and I love how tenderly, yet honestly, you speak to your younger self. It sounds like you’ve had some amazing adventures; I admire the leap of faith you took! Also, I’d love to hear about the first date that included a jar of Vegemite– too funny!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments! Much appreciated. Haha yeah most girls get flowers on a first date but I got a jar of vegemite. I had been missing home and at the time said I really wanted some vegemite toast so he was a sweetheart and got me a jar. Bless him x

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It’s a funny feeling isn’t it! Wouldn’t change anything apart from maybe being a little closer to home but great I get the best of both worlds. Your blog is great I was having a squiz earlier! X

      1. I think my distance is much smaller than yours but to be honest, there isn’t much difference. But hey, the most important thing is that there is always someone waiting for you! This should always keep you motivated. And thank you for your kind words x

  8. This is such a lovely post. I like how gentle you are with your younger self. I think we could all do with a bit of that. Well done on being so brave!

  9. Very recognizable! 🙂 Luckily, there are Facebook, social media, Skype, email and blogs now! When I left home (to unexpectedly never return) in 2003, most of this was not around yet. And before, when I packpacked long-term in my twenties, I had to make collect calls if my parents and family wanted to know how I was doing. In serious cases, you can, indeed, just jump on a plane and get there, but it is not the same. That being said, I have found that the older you get, the less everyone gets together anyway, since everybody is so busy living their lives, that once a year might be the same amount of time the others see each other as well.

  10. Very thoughtful article. “You need to make sure you enjoy every moment and every new thing you see as this will shape you and make you into the person you are meant to be.” Is something someone just traveling should keep in mind as well!

  11. Aw, this was so sweet! I’m British but been living abroad the past five years. Totally agree that one or two years quickly turn into five and five years are filled with a lots of things you’ve missed back home. But, I just moved back to the UK and now it’s a shock in reverse!

  12. Dear me, just must be smitten. I’m not sure what I’d say to a man who gave me Vegemite lol
    This is a little sad yet heartwarming at the same time. I’m not sure i would have been brave enough to make the same move you did 🙂

  13. Thank you for this honest personal post. It is the hard part, but it’s also a pretty awesome part. You have to learn that dates are just numbers and sometimes you accept that you ceebrate birthdays a month ahead for the company. And you learn so much about yourself. And that’s the awesome part. Seeing how much you grow, and how you grow into who you are and who you were meant to be.

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