Turkey, Austria, South Africa, France, Holland, is quite a lot of places for a person only 23 years old to have said he has actively lived in. One thing i get a lot from people is that i am living many of their dreams or that many wish they could trade places with me. Although i do acknowledge having resided in all of these places it had given me a unique perspective on a lot of things many people don’t. However there is a distinction i’d like to make, there is a massive difference between simply traveling to all these places and living in all of them. Because from where i stand, its the biggest blessing but also the biggest challenge that i will carry with me for the rest of my life. I guess not having a “home” is an unconscionable concept to most people, spending your childhood in one place, your formative years in another and pre-adult life in another really stuns your development as a person and i am an example of that. It isn’t all negative though, being all over the place gives me a higher empathetic capacity for different behaviors than most people do, however it molds you into a person that isn’t exactly the most sociable.
Lets talk about my experience being back “home”. Being the new guy in what was supposedly ‘home’ has been difficult at times, and two years in it hasn’t gotten easier. Ive lost whatever ounce of identity i had in this place and its become a game of, “how do i fit back in”. The sense of not having a home anywhere had become a very challenging reality for me. As a kid these were never things i had really thought about however you get older and start realize the importance of stability, especially in relationships with other people. You spend time away from certain people, you begin to also grow apart and differently. No matter how close you were. The moment you try to reintegrate yourself you realize how much different you’ve become and how different the idea of everyone you knew became. This simple observation alone made me realize, yes, being thrown into and entirely new life is difficult, but trying to fit yourself back into an old one can be just as challenging, if not more so.
Back to the big picture. Having friends in all these different countries truly is something to be looked at as a good thing and probably has benefits that outweigh contrapositives. But unfortunately only living in all these countries for limited periods means all of these friends, are friends you have from a distance, for lack of a better phrase. No proper relationships for the most part can be cultivated and thats how I’ve spent most of my life. There were a lot of people i was cool with, but not many people if any, i can confide in or anyone that in which there is a mutual willingness to carry burdens of a meaningful friendships. Obviously not being able to truly relate to most of the people i come across doesn’t exactly help cultivate these relationships.
With all that being said I’ll reiterate that my life as an “expat” definitely did allow me a unique perspective and a capacity for empathy that i don’t observe in many people. Benefits include the fact that there is no bubble that i live in. My mind has moulded in away to learn rather than judge and i am ever thankful for that opportunity, however it is definitely a lonely experience. Its resulted in me developing a lot of anxiety and all that jazz. Dealing with all of it with no stable support system has definitely taught me a lot about the strength i have mentally and hopefully will continue to have because its not exactly something that can change.