With the immense range of hyper-fast and affordable transport options that we have access to today, there are a huge number of ways to see the world and to get face to face with new people, cultures, societies, and environments.
It’s obviously not an accident that a whole new subculture of perma-travellers has arisen in recent times, and has filled the public consciousness with visions of exotic adventures, digital nomad lifestyles, and waking up every day to a new vista of possibilities and excitement.
But the conventional vacation model understandable still reigns supreme, with people going away on weekend trips when they can manage it, and maybe once or twice a year getting away for a week or two.
Of course, there are plenty of benefits to doing things that way — but the standard tourist model simply leaves a lot of the potential depth of the travel experience on the table.
At some point in your life, it may well be worth your time living overseas, at least for a little while, whether that means setting yourself up at Affinity at Serangoon, or becoming a resident of Tokyo. Curious about the potential benefits? Here are a few reasons why you should consider living overseas for a spell.
It may make you appreciate your own country and culture more, and from a different angle
It just seems to be the natural state of humanity that we are all too prone to taking things for granted, or even treating them with contempt, if we’re too familiar with them.
As the saying goes, “we always hurt the ones we love”, and we almost always fail to treat our own health as seriously as the health of those we care about, whether our relatives, our friends, or even our pets.
Many people find themselves becoming jaded with their own countries and cultures, feeling that things are just boring, fundamentally broken, stupid, or devoid of value. While problems obviously do exist in the world — it’s also the case that our own countries and cultures are responsible, to a large degree, for the kind of people we become, and for the connections, opportunities, and way of seeing the world that we inherit.
If you find that you’re completely unimpressed with your corner of the world and the people within it, spending a while overseas might help you to see things in a more charitable light. Maybe, when you return, things will seem a little bit brighter to you.
It will get you to see yourself from different angles, and grow as a person
A lot of people make a big deal about the power of travel to completely change who we are as people, on a fundamental level. It’s certainly possible that things will play out this way — but it’s important to understand that if we transform and grow, personally, it’s ultimately because of a process that has happened within, not something that has happened on the outside.
One of the major benefits of spending a significant amount of time overseas, is that it helps to envelop us in a different way of viewing things, and removes us from the contexts that made up most of our experience or ourselves back home.
If you always thought about yourself as a nerd back home, and still lived in the same town where you spend your teen years reading comic books and getting picked on at school, there was, in essence, a whole web of beliefs and associations that kept you anchored to that identity.
When you travel overseas, however, those associations are broken — or at least weakened. Suddenly, you have the freedom to view yourself from different angles, to express new parts of yourself, and to step into different roles.
Maybe, during your time overseas, you’ll discover and develop an identity as a rural explorer, or a daredevil athlete. In either case, allowing yourself to see yourself from different angles can be a very powerful thing.
It will open your eyes to new possibilities and ways of dealing with the world that you’d never considered before
While spending a significant amount of time overseas can help you to see yourself from different angles, it can also help you to see the whole world in a new light, to one extent or another.
By immersing yourself in a different culture, you invariably take on different ways of viewing the world. Maybe you discover a spiritual model that you had never encountered before, but which resonates strongly with you.
At the very least, being away from home will change your sense of possibilities, and encourage you to look for new ways to act in the world.
This, in turn, can do wonders in terms of getting you out of a rut in either your personal or professional life.