Before we moved abroad as a newly married couple, many of our friends and family expected us to do the “normal” thing married couples do; get a job, buy a house, have kids… settle down. We aren’t saying that doing those things is bad or even boring, we have many friends and family members who are wonderfully happy and starting families of their own. However, for us, one of the things that attracted both of us to each other was a shared love of travel. Every chance we got, we would take road trips and doing this brought us closer together. Once we both graduated from college we knew we wanted to take a huge chance and move abroad, much to everyone’s surprise. We think that traveling while you are young is a great opportunity to gain a better perspective and really challenge yourself to grow and learn new things.
Packing all of your things and setting out for such an adventure was an interesting process. We both sat down and sorted through our entire life’s possessions and ended up donating most of our things as we prioritized what we felt was most important. This is much easier to do when you are young and don’t have as many things and priorities. Doing this also taught us to have less emotional attachments to objects as we packed our lives into four meager suitcases.
Moving your entire life into the unknown can be stressful, however. We found out how each other handles these stresses and have grown to better understand what we both need from one another. Ryan deals with his frustrations by talking about them and putting them out in the open, while I need to relax and have time to think about them. Traveling as a young married couple has put us into situations we have never experienced before in our relationship and so we have learned to be more supportive and caring of the other’s needs. This has brought us even closer together and has strengthened our marriage.
Becoming an expat while you are young gives you a whole new perspective on different cultures and the lives of people around the world. You will meet new people and see how they live. You will trust strangers and show more compassion. You will have new experiences and encourage others to do the same. You will learn to appreciate what you have and be thankful each day.
If you are young, I urge you to travel. Follow your dreams and fall in love with the unknown and the unfamiliar. You may end up finding yourself and choosing to never come back.