Once someone has had a taste of travelling, expat life or location independence, people start to equate settling down (whether in their home country or somewhere else) with a boring life. It’s seen as the end of excitement and adventure in their lives.
For many people who live abroad, settling down equals a boring life.
A small but important clarification: I don’t equate settling down with repatriating. One can choose to settle down anywhere in the world (legalities permitting). So when I talk about repatriating or settling down, I don’t think they are one and the same.
As a result, I’ve become quite used to unpacking statements like these with my clients:
“I’m worried that after the initial excitement is over, I’ll want to leave again because I’m bored”
“I’m afraid my life will be boring when I move back to my home country”
“I don’t want to settle down yet because I don’t want a boring life”
“I’m afraid I’ll lose my international identity and become boring when I move back”
If this is you, you won’t get any judgment from me because I’ve thought some version of the above *several* times during my serial expat life.
I had the privilege of being exposed to various cultures and countries from a very young age, so I always knew that there was more to this world than what I lived and experienced in my day-to-day life of growing up.
For the longest time, I was hungry for the world.
I associated everything that was familiar to me with boredom (because I already knew everything about those things) and everything I didn’t know as exciting and better (because it held the potential of fun and exploration).
In other words, the idea that the grass is greener somewhere else used to be a very good friend of mine.
I’m sure these thoughts are familiar to you as well.
When we buy into the idea that everything that is new and unknown is exciting, and everything that is familiar is predictable and boring, it is easy to then make the conclusion that moving back to one’s home country or settling down equals a boring life.
We may think that moving back or settling down equal boring because we think we already know everything about that life.
They equal boring because we think we’d be committing to a routine and predictable life.
They equal boring because we think nothing exciting will ever happen to us once we decide to settle down or repatriate.
It is very normal to think like that.
And it’s okay to be worried whether you’ll be able to create an exciting and fulfilling repat or settled down life.
But let me ask you this – when you take an honest look at your life abroad, is it as adventurous and exciting as you made it up to be before you moved to your current destination?
Sure, the first few months and maybe even the first year were probably very exciting and you had a lot of motivation to go out and explore.
But once the newness of it all wore off?
Once you got into a routine?
Once normal life struggles started to outweigh the freshness of your new life?
Somewhere along the way even life abroad became boring, right?
So let me ask you this – how much time do you put aside on a weekly basis to live this exciting life that you once chased after?
Or better yet, what *is* an exciting life for you?
Is it actually constant traveling and starting fresh or does it actually entail:
- being able to do fulfilling work,
- having strong relationships,
- having a lovely place to live,
- feeling good in your body, mind and soul,
- feeling like you’re moving forward in your life,
- having time and space for all your interests,
- having enough disposable income to do whatever you wanted with it,
- enjoying a sense of home and belonging?
What each of those items look like for different people is of course individual.
But at the core of it, this is what we all yearn for. These are the core ingredients of an exciting life.
Do you think you’d want anything different from your life when you move back or settle down somewhere?
Probably not, right?
The moral of the story is that your life will be as boring or as exciting as you make it, wherever you choose to live.
Your geographical location has no role to play in how boring or exciting your life turns out to be.
The only exception to that rule is perhaps the fact that different places afford different ways of living your life and spending your time.
So if you choose to live in a place that doesn’t align with your interests or the way you want to spend your time, then yes, you’d do well to pick a different place that makes you more inspired.
But you can also have all the right opportunities around you to create an exciting life but if you choose to not take advantage of them, then you’ve definitely got a recipe for a boring life.
So rather than worry about committing to a boring life when you repatriate or settle down somewhere, ask yourself –
What does adventure and excitement look like for me?
What kind of experiences or activities make me feel that way?
How can I intentionally carve out time for those things so that I never have to feel like my life is boring?
Let me know in the comments whether and why you fear settling down equals a boring a life.
If you’re looking to settle down but you don’t know where you should do that to feel at home, check out my coaching offers here to see how I could help you understand where you’d feel most at home.
Katherine is a retired world traveller and former serial expat of 15 years. Based on her professional and personal experience as well as PhD research, she now helps expats, travellers and location independents decide whether to stay or go, whether to move back home or where to settle down.