A week ago a new friend asked me “But do you plan to live abroad forever? Don’t you want to go back to your home-country?”
This question hit me hard. No, I don’t want to go back to my home-country, this is for sure. But I also don’t want to move around forever. Live out of a suitcase without having a place to settle down is cool for a while, not forever.
I think many immigrants get to this point, and it is a very weird feeling. I feel lost. I feel like I don’t belong anywhere anymore, I am just a ‘foreigner everywhere’ – including in my home country.
When I was living in Malaysia during a conversation with my boss – a person who I deeply admired and had reached every humanitarian worker’s career goals – she said “I can’t go back to Canada, I just don’t fit there. I will never retire because I have nowhere to go.” She was successful, independent, and kind. She has been moving around the world for more than 15 years. At that time, her comment fascinated me. Now, it scares me.
I’ve been living abroad for 6 years, and I can’t go back to my home-country. But I don’t want to live “without a home” forever.
Moving abroad is the best decision I’ve ever made in life. No regrets! But sometimes I wonder if staying ‘home’ wouldn’t have been easier. Not seeing the world, not seeing all the diversity and beautiful things, and countries and cultures… I would have had a normal life. I would probably be happy in my corner of the world.
But now is too late to go back. It is too late to pretend I haven’t seen the world, or to pretend I can adjust back “home.” Living abroad, seeing the worst of humanity (in my field of work we do see the worst and the best), and realizing you can have a positive impact in the lives of so many people can mess up with someone’s mind.
So what now? Or, where next?
In two months my current contract will be over, and I will be moving somewhere else (where? I still don’t know). I will have to start from scratch again, new language, new culture, new country, new friends… it is exciting! Challenging, but exciting!
However, my friend’s question is stuck in my head. I hope time will give me an answer… or a “home” where I can actually settle down and continue to work in my career.