Love, Lust, Life, Liberty, Leisure, Luxury and lots of other things from Leo

About Life – in a country as an expat (or immigrant)


The usual definition is that of an expat. Living in a country that is not that one where one was born makes you an expat or with a slightly less nice connotation (in my opinion) an immigrant. I have personally lived in U.S., UAE, U.K., Italy, France and a few other countries if I count those I have lived in for periods of time below 1 year. All in all, it’s been a great life journey and I am truly always unable to answer a question that I am asked so frequently:

What is the country you liked most?

I really feel that each country has given me something and as they were all different experiences throughout different periods of my life (for age, occupation etc..) it’s hard to compare any of these experiences like-for-like.

It’s not as easy as it seems to really travel.

Traveling to another country in a somewhat Instagram-photo-collection-obsessed fashion is very easy these days and rather inexpensive. Especially if you live in a big city with several airports and low cost airlines; the price of a couple of drinks, will get you to another country for the weekend. . That is being a tourist though it’s hard, in my humble, opinion to consider that real travelling. It certainly is VERY VERY different from moving to another country on a I don’t-have-a-return-date basis.

Let’s see…. for me travelling (for real) is about:

  1. Getting to really know local people
  2. Trying to speak their language
  3. Read about their traditions and where those come from (historically)
  4. Trying their food
  5. Learning about the history of a country and its population
  6. Learning about the problems of a country and its population

These things take time and some willingness to explore, discover and learn, without judgement and with an open mind. On the other hand, in my humble opinion the 6 points above are the one the make the experience of travelling truly unforgettable.

So what about being an Expat (or Immigrant) ?

Well well, getting to a country that isn’t yours has some preliminary considerations to do.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions?

  1. How easy is it to get a visa for a long stay?
  2. How easy is to get a job if you don’t speak the language (assuming you don’t have a job/business you can ‘bring with you’) ?
  3. How easy is to meet new people in that country?
  4. How safe is the country we chose?
  5. What is that we are truly attracted by when we think of a certain country to move to?
  6. What happens if we want out and want to come back to where we came from?

I going to be honest with you (N 6) isn’t exactly one question I have asked myself many times. I am just starting to ask myself that question now (after 30y/old), I guess it comes with a little age.

Credit: Matteo Paganelli

Should I move to another country if I am in Love with somebody living there ?

Well well, the classic romantic that I am will have an easy answer to that question. YES, YES, and…YES. In truth, to say yes and take that leap of faith with a no-regrets policy attached to it, it takes some life skills I suggest you to have.

Credit: Arto Matinnen

What should I bring if I move to another country ?

What should you bring is a very personal thing. However, my general answer is bring the things that will make you feel home anywhere you go. At the same time try to pack light enough so that if you have to change a few residences before finding one that will have you for the majority (or the whole) of your stay, it will make your life a little easier.

Generally speaking the things that will make you feel home are often (at least some in this list:

  1. Some photograph frames (with your beloved pictures in it) they can be digital too these days of course
  2. You favourite breakfast tool..for me the mocha Bialetti
  3. My laptop
  4. My music (can fit in the one below)
  5. My favourite/most portable musical instrument (most recently a guitar)
  6. My favourite table watch

In conclusion: (If it ever happens) When do you stop feeling like an expat/immigrant ?

Credit: Steve Carrera

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