An Honest Reflection about Living Abroad

The Ups and Downs of Moving Away


If you have read my about page or you know me in person, you probably already know I have moved a couple of times in my life. First moving from one city to another within Italy, then I moved to Sweden at 15 and then to Canada at 18. Although it all sounds exciting and fun, there are serious challenges which come with these life-changing experiences. I am sure everyone’s social media always makes it look so fun to move away, as it has become popular to “romanticise” leaving everyone behind to start a new life. Making the brave decision of leaving your country definitely involves maturing and getting to know yourself, which I believe everyone could benefit from. All the highs come with lows and it’s important to remember that an experience like moving abroad will allow you to both grow as a person and question things about yourself simultaneously. Maturing not only involves making fun memories from meeting new people, but also includes challenges and some identity crises along the way.
I am glad I moved on my own when I was so young, because that way I got used early on in my life to adapt to new places and become independent. When you are 15, you have no clue what fear is, which is why I made the really impulsive decision of moving to a different country. The challenges of learning a new language, finding your group of people, taking care of yourself and your home, as well as dealing with separation, seemed irrelevant. However, the older I get, the more attention these parts of my life require and the better I get at handling all these aspects at the same time. Having said this, I would not trade my journey with anything else, as I can say I am proud of the person I have become. The sadness of leaving people behind is always followed by the happiness of having someone waiting for me on the other side of the world. Lastly, it’s important for me to acknowledge that no experience such as moving would have been possible without the support of my family and friends back home. I could never thank them enough. GRAZIE <3

Travelling is like Dating


Recently I have realised that travelling, or rather moving abroad, is like dating. Every time I see a new place, visit new cities, or move to a whole other country, I see it as an opportunity to figure out what I like and what I don’t like in a home. I ask myself, ‘What is the culture like (if there is any at all)? How expensive is the city? What are the cultural norms? Where do my career plans fit in this place? How long do I see myself here for?’. Sometimes questions will arise which I didn’t even have in the first place. For example, when I moved to Sweden I questioned myself ‘Would I want to live somewhere I don’t speak the language?’. Or when I moved to Canada, I asked myself ‘Would I want to live in an older country, with more history and culture?’. Before I moved, I had no idea I was going to ask myself these things. However, these questions turned out to be very important.
Therefore, all I can think about is that by moving again and again, the list of questions will only get longer. And just like for dating, the more places (or people) you see, the pickier you become. Take Tinder, for example. If you are exposed to thousands of options to choose from, you are likely to give up at the smallest flaw or inconvenient. If you only have access to a limited amount of people (in my case places), you are likely to give up or complain less about one single option. Now, I do not believe it is a matter of what’s better, but rather how you can make the most out of what you already have available.

Another way I look at travelling is: ‘If I don’t do it now, when am I going to do it? Will I regret not doing it?’. And what is funny is that I don’t necessarily have the same mindset when it comes to dating.

It’s OK to miss home


Now, shifting away from the dating-travelling metaphor, let’s talk about what’s actually important: no matter how used you are to moving away from home, it will never become completely easy. You start missing things that keep you grounded, such as family and friends. In other words, the more time passes, the harder it is to move away and start from zero. I am extremely happy I moved when I was 15 and had absolutely no clue of what I was doing. I am grateful I was naïve and I didn’t even realise I was going through a lot of experiences and changes which could have been difficult, if not painful, if I were to do them right now.
Moving right now would be difficult but I believe the earlier you start the better. However, I also learnt that even if you feel like a girl boss and decide to move away for good, it is also okay to miss your home and your family and friends. This is what no one tells you. It is okay to miss home and recognise you DO miss your family, and you DO miss your friends, and you DO feel lost at times. And missing these things is not a sign of weakness or a sign that you are not strong enough to make all these life changes on your own, but rather just shows you are human.

Now I am done with my monologue.

Going Forward


Although this specific lifestyle can be overwhelming at times, I am glad I am doing it. I have this dream of moving to NYC and although I know this eventually will happen, I am also aware it will be difficult. The older I get, the bigger the baggage I am bringing with me is. The older I get, the harder I am willing to work to make my dreams come true. I am looking forward to what the future has in store and I am glad to be working every day towards my goals. I am grateful every day for having the opportunities I have been given and I am fully aware of the amount of privilege this lifestyle is based on. However, I am determined to use this opportunity at its fullest and make a change, as all the efforts others have made in order to give me the lifestyle I have now do not go unnoticed.