"Should I stay or GO?" SERIES
This is a collection of stories on how expats and repats around the world have grappled with the question whether to stay, move back home or move somewhere new.
I hope these stories inspire you to find the right answer for yourself.
Got a decision deadline? Keep these things in mind
Quite often I work with expats who have a decision deadline forcing them to decide whether they should stay or go. Learn why sometimes you can’t and shouldn’t rush clarity on what you should do, and what are the repercussions of following someone else’s advice.
Normal feelings to experience when you’re (considering) moving countries
No matter how many times you’ve moved countries, you’re going to experience anxiety around an unknown future. Here are normal feelings to experience as you’re going through/contemplating moving countries.
Should you stay or go when you disagree with local politics?
What should you do when you disagree with local politics or you’re negatively impacted by local legislation? Find out what questions to ask yourself so you can take action that leads to peace of mind.
How to (not) make the right decision to stay or go as an expat
To make the right decision, I advocate relying both on your intuition and your logic. Relying on only one or the other can lead to trouble. In this blog post I explain why.
How to know what you want so you can decide where/whether you should move
Most expats I meet know what they don’t want but struggle to know what they do want. In this blog post, I share strategies for how to know what you want so you can decide where/whether you should move.
The 3 stages of deciding whether to stay or go that all expats go through
There are definite stages that expats go through when they’re stuck in the “stay or go” dilemma. Here’s how you can move through these stages.
Why it feels hard to make the right decision whether to stay or go
Some decisions are harder to make than others. When you’re struggling to just *know* what the right decision is – to stay or go – then read this to discover what may be making it hard for you to know what to do.
5 ways you can deal with anxiety around an uncertain future as an expat
Find out how you can deal with anxiety around an uncertain future when it’s preventing you from deciding whether to stay or go, looking forward to what’s yet to come and living a fulfilling life.
Expat relationship problem: My partner and I disagree on whether to stay or go
It’s a very common expat relationship problem where partners disagree on whether to stay or go. Here are steps you can take to solve your shared dilemma.
STAY OR GO #17 – “I had to do something because not knowing was unsettling”
Vanessa decided to repatriate with her kids after living in Austria for 23 years. Although she works with intercultural communication, she wasn’t immune the effects of reverse culture shock. Find out how Vanessa coped with it and found a way to readjust to life in the UK.
STAY OR GO #16 – “Life abroad taught me what it intended and then it was time for new lessons closer to home”
Melissa has gone through the entire expat journey from being a serial expat to becoming a repat and working as a coach to expats. Learn how Melissa has navigated her many “should I stay or go?” dilemmas along the way.
STAY OR GO #15 – “We completely embraced uncertainty, it was part of the whole adventure.”
Emma and her family embraced uncertainty during their 3,5-year adventure in Denmark. They have since repatriated to the UK, though not because they wanted to but because every adventure has a natural end.
7 most common repatriation fears expats have (and how you can overcome them)
Learn about 7 of the most common repatriation fears expats have about moving back home, together with potential ways to reframe those fears and eventually even overcome them.
“Should I move back to my home country?” – 3 mistakes expats make trying to find clarity
Avoid making these 3 mistakes expats commonly make when you want to find clarity on whether you should move back to your home country.
STAY OR GO #14 – “Instead of embracing my expat life, I constantly felt useless and wanted to hide”
The first few years abroad are often the hardest. But Melody’s rough start in the US shows that you can absolutely learn to love your life abroad.
STAY OR GO #13 – “Sweden isn’t my cultural home”
Ella’s story isn’t a typical expat story. It’s a story about getting to know her Swedish side and finally realizing where her cultural home is – back in New York.
STAY OR GO #12 – “Somehow I just knew I needed to be in my real home”
It’s never too late to make a change in your life. Amy, an American serial expat, shares her story of why they uprooted their family from an idyllic life in Germany to repatriate to the US.
STAY OR GO #11 – “An overseas job has to benefit both partners in a marriage”
Marcie has been a “tagalong wife” her entire expat journey and had to face the dilemma of staying or going along a total of 8 times. Her incredible journey shines light on the times when it’s worth moving for your husband’s international career and when it is not.
STAY OR GO #10 – “Adjusting to motherhood and living abroad stretched me to my limit”
No amount of research can prepare expats for the reality of becoming a new mom while adjusting to life in a foreign country. Should you stay or move back home then? This is the question asked by this first-time expat and new mom living in Japan.
STAY OR GO #9 – “If I want to be in this man’s life, I need to stay”
Deciding whether to stay or go on your own is hard enough. But how do you make that decision as a stepmom in an expat relationship? Marissa, an American expat in the Netherlands, shares her truth about such a reality.
STAY OR GO #8 – “I didn’t want to give up when things got challenging”
You can only prepare so much when you move abroad. So when things don’t initially work out as you had planned or hoped, it’s easy to start thinking about giving up. This is Emily’s story of how she chose to push through anyway and continue building a life in Munich, Germany.
When is it time to go home? 6 signs expats should look out for
If you’re an expat wondering when is the right time to go home, here’s my ultimate list of signs to look out for so you can make sure that you’re making the right decision to move back home.
STAY OR GO #7 – “It’s often hard to decide because we’re afraid to make mistakes”
Deciding whether to stay or go as an adult third culture kid can be next level complicated. This is something that Wiebke has faced several times as a serial expat. These days she works as an expat coach. In this post she shares how she helps her clients decide whether to stay or go.
STAY OR GO #6 – “No part of me was eager to start from scratch somewhere new” (American expat in Germany)
When a relationship breaks down while abroad, it’s easy to wonder whether you should stay or go. Nicole, a first-time American expat in Germany, chose to start a new life abroad alone. Read more about her thought-process and staying in touch with one’s inner voice.
STAY OR GO #5 – “I don’t know if I’ll always want to stay but for now the hardships are worth the rewards” (American expat in Italy)
Even when you feel like a foreigner and miss the familiarity of home, the rewards of living abroad can still trump the hardships. This is what Bella, a first-time American expat in Italy, has learned.
Stay or go? #4 – “Asking ‘should I stay or go?’ means that change is happening and no one but yourself can know the answer” (American expat in Morocco)
Expat life can be a recipe for identity crisis or profound self-growth. This is the path that Patti, an American expat, has been on since moving abroad in 2017. The experience has helped her realize that she is happy being away from the US.
Stay or go? #3 “Germany is the place where I grew up as a person but I miss my family and friends” (Soon-to-be Australian repat)
Even when you appreciate living abroad, after several years you may just want to move back home to be closer to friends and family. That’s what Simone, an Australian expat has decided to do after 5 years in Germany.
Stay or go? #2 “I thought this feeling was going to pass but it was difficult to get back into my life in New Zealand” (French repat-turned-expat again)
Moving abroad does not make us immune to depression or needing to work on ourselves. Camille, a French repat-turned-expat again, shares her story of overcoming depression and going through self-discovery which put her on a radically different path in life.
Stay or go? #1 “It seemed liked the universe was against us on living abroad” (First-time UK expat in Germany)
What would you do when your new life abroad meets one challenge after another? Steph, a first-time expat, shares how she went about deciding to stay on in Germany regardless of the challenges she faced at the start.
How to choose a country to live in
How to choose a country to live is a simple question with a long answer. In this post I walk you through how to decide where to live if you’re considering changing countries.