Expat for reverse

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

In a quick turning expat world, where the shelf life of a new home, country or friend is in average 2.5 years, we frequently sit down and discuss the latest parameter that determine our life:

- What is going on right now?

- How much longer is the current project for?

- What is possibly next?

- Where do we go from here?

- What if, and the resulting Plan A, B and C…

My hubby and I, we chose to be expats. We liked the lifestyle, where in exchange for a lot of work hours, the salary package typically includes fancy housing, allowances, private schools, flights, new cars… you name it. It is the all- inclusive care free package.

We genuinely haven’t paid an invoice in 12 years nor did we ever had to arrange our own visas. We just show up where and when we are told to with emphasis on told to.

We have what most people desire.

Hands on, sounds great, doesn’t it?

The grass looks always greener on the other side.

Seemingly, very few people consider that it needs water in order to look green. This ‘water’ are the countless working hours, 6 days a week, 12 hours a day plus being on call duty 24\7. Those working hours are evidently work not quality time. It is the time we don’t spend together as family nor time we spend with the family and friends in our respective home countries. Obviously we can’t just quickly jet over, our nearest family is about a 12 hours flight away.

So what?! Most of you will still think. You chose that lifestyle, you have it pretty good.

In Germany we have a saying: ‘You don’t chop off the hand that feeds you!’

My English speaking friends would say Dont bite the hand that feeds you

This ‘hand’ takes care of the materialistic aspect and a lot of the modern day worries. However, there is always a price to be paid. That ‘price’ is the one thing we don’t have. Personal freedom.

We have a fancy roof over our heads, but the company can decide at any given time with little to no notice to relocate that very roof to another country. People that don’t even personally know our family, have the power to decide where we move next.

Of course, we can always decline an offer, but what do you imagine will be the consequence?

It is a constant cloud over our heads and a persistent one as well. It is deeply anchored in our minds, never to settle as it may change soon. It can eat you from the inside out. The only consistanty is the inconsistent lifestyle. As kids came to the equation, we started to reconsider our values. We reevaluated.

All peachy while the kids are small. All they need are their parents, but while they grow so do their needs.

The children learn quickly that home is not the house or a place it’s a feeling. Yet it is hard to maintain that feeling if you get uprooted every couple of years. Hard for oneself and now we even have to sell it to the kids. Its our choice but will it be theirs?

Our common question as well as fellow expats:

-What comes after?

- Should we move back to our home countries?

-Stay in a third country?

- Keep moving and stay expat forever?

-What happens if one leaves the expat bubble? - What if we remove to what is s perceived as the safety net Can we we still offer our kids the adventure we sought after 12 years ago somewhere else than in our hometowns

-What is the real world?

On our #JourneyBoons Blog you can see life as it happens, as we are tempting to break free out of the expat rat race. We are expats in reverse, yet expatriating to a foreign country.

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