Settling into the stride of life abroad

There comes a point when you move abroad where, suddenly, your perspective shifts. You go from feeling a heady mix of excitement and anxiety all the time, to feeling instead like you’ve found your stride. 

I’m not totally sure why, but when I first moved to this strange new place I had this horrible feeling that it could all slip through my fingers. Knowing no-one and having no network, I felt really rootless. So my natural inclination was to nest in, to re-create the loveliness of what I had back home. That feeling was the motivation I needed to turn up the gear full throttle and throw myself into life out here. I had all this energy to do a thousand and one things, I didn’t want to waste a second. Meetups, trips to tourist spots, scouting out the best places for brunch: you name it, I was on it. But I think beneath it all, that rocket-like energy came from an underlying desire to create a sense of belonging here.

At some point over the past few months, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly when, but that feeling went away. Now I find myself with a new kind of energy. One that I think has made me a little braver. 

This year has been a whirlwind of up and downs for me and my boyfriend. As the dust settled on our first year here and the honeymoon period has ground to an end, we found ourselves faced with a new set of big life changes. Like, two new jobs and buying an apartment kind of life changes. I think any one of those things in isolation would be a bit unsettling for most people, we we did all three at the same time. 

That initial feeling of just wanted to be settled and stable here gave way instead to a feeling of being able to weather the storms of the things that are less than comfortable. For the first time since we moved here, when I look ahead to the next few months I have absolutely no idea what to expect. But, one thing I can be sure of is that this new feeling of being in my stride has given me the confidence to know it’ll all be fine, no matter what comes our way.

Just getting to this position of calm okayness is a huge step forward for me. When I lived in London I had this immense anxiety about the future: was I progressing through my career fast enough?; when would I ever be able to buy a home and start a family?; Would I always be trapped in this cycle of eat-sleep-work-repeat?

Now I feel a total sense of calm about the future. In just 12 months we have managed to save enough to put down a deposit on a beautiful little flat. Life out here means that having children will be totally manageable - and affordable - around my career. I no longer feel like work is the only thing that defines me, I finally feel like a lot of other interesting things make up the sum of my whole. All those things combined have led me to a really good place. 

This journey that I’ve been on over the past 18 months has been one that’s terrified and delighted me in equal measure. I used to think that I would never get to where I needed to be, wherever that mythical fourth-dimension is. Now I realise that there is no end point, that instead all I should aim for is to live contented in the moment. And that, I think, is how I know that the decision to throw myself out of my comfort zone and move abroad was the right one, cause it’s done just that.