Expats Are Travellers Who Stay Still

I read somewhere that expats are travellers who stay still.

In my early expat years I used to get a bit miffed when people likened my expat life to their backpacking years. Yes, just like it.

Except you possibly didn’t struggle to get the home phone connected or the electricity back on.

You didn’t worry about your residency permit or the fine print in another language on the car insurance.

You didn’t do the school run, volunteer for the local hospital, or wait six months to move further up the waiting list for the school bus service.

You didn’t say hello to the same security guy for two years and find yourself crying with shame when you realised he’d gone and you had no idea where.

Expats do stay still in their place of residence, they discover that the burbs are the burbs no matter where the city, and the commute becomes the commute no matter how exciting it originally was looking out the window – but expats also venture out, dig a little bit deeper and plant roots, maybe not thick and everlasting, but roots that are deep enough to sting when they’re extracted.

Expats are travellers who stop, make a home, and then leave a tiny piece of their heart and soul in the form of memories of what once was.

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  1. That’s my everyday struggle. I’m having trouble understanding the ‘Oh you’re French. How long have you been in Australia? Do you like backpacking?’ Expats are another category of travellers indeed. We flew all the way to a new country bringing with us all our loved ones and belongings. But we’re different in the sense that we travel to settle down somewhere new. We experience a different type of long-term travel. Good read! 🙂

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