My friend Liz, who has lived as an expat several times, recently mused about why living abroad is so conducive to having adventures and why we don’t have more of them on our home turf.
“Is it inertia?” she asked. “Or high overhead? job-related fatigue? exhausting infrastructure?”
Yes, times four.
It’s also worth noting that adventure is defined as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.” I can’t imagine myself taking risks at home the way I have done in Spain—risks that lead to moments of discomfort and vulnerability and frustration and loneliness and self-doubt and pride and self-confidence and resilience and bliss. When I feel especially uncomfortable—feeling tongue-tied during three and a half hours (!!) of small talk in Spanish with moms at a kid’s birthday party, as just one example—I try to remember that the bigger the risk, the bigger the potential payout.
N.B At that same three and a half hour birthday party, I traded phone numbers with the mother of a sweet boy Lou is getting to know through their shared love of Legos and science experiments. Yesterday the mother texted me to see if her son could come to our house to play while she attends a work meeting—my hours of wanting to be anywhere but at that party were not in vain!