2022 has served another political horror to parts of this world.
With that in mind, allow me to elaborate on my path to becoming political so that I can better explain my stance on politics and the decision to stay or go, or settle down somewhere.
My stance is not the only way. In fact, I encourage you to use this post to tease out how you want to take politics into account in your decision-making process.
Make sure to share this blog post with someone you know who could benefit from it.
My stance on politics and the decision to stay or go
I wasn’t always political. Before I realized where on the political spectrum I land, I didn’t care about the politics in a country.
But after becoming aware of my political stance over time, it inevitable became a part of my decision-making on where I wanted to move and settle down.
I know that it’s a point of consideration for many of you as well.
For me, it was around 2015-2016 when I started to feel a certain way about politics.
By that point, Denmark had become increasingly more right-wing, alongside the US and the UK, plus I volunteered to help out with the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis – all of this combined helped me realize and articulate my political beliefs.
Because the way things had started to develop went against my core values of diversity and open-mindedness.
What’s more, on a much more personal level, I began to feel attacked by the Danish media and legislations.
The spoken expectation was that I should “contribute to society” (direct quote translated from Danish) and the unspoken expectation was that I should leave all parts of myself behind and morph into a Dane.
By that point I had lived in Denmark for a good 5-6 years, had been working and paying taxes there since day 1 and tried my darnest to find my way into the society.
But the message I got was still that I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t enough.
As an Adult Third Culture Kid, I’ve been surrounded by lots of different cultures, mentalities and ways of living life from a young age. Diversity and open-mindedness is my normal.
Naturally then I felt stuck and angry about what the world was turning into, and about my continued choice to keep living in a country that was negatively affecting me, if not personally attacking.
But I was able to get by.
Through gritted teeth, of course, but I was able to create a bubble where I wasn’t constantly reminded of how I was supposedly less than.
Mind you, now that I live in Estonia, I can’t say I agree with a lot of the politics in Estonia either.
It was difficult for me to go back to an “every man for himself” belief system in Estonia after having lived in a socialist bubble for 10 years (I tend to view myself as a liberal socialist, which is an interesting clash of ideas sometimes).
But I don’t feel attacked by the politics in Estonia in the way that I did in Denmark. I am able to compensate for the shortcomings of the political system here without losing sleep over the bigger picture (ehem, that is until Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and again this year).
Even so, I know I don’t have the right personality to be a politician or hard-core activist, but I can be an everyday activist (this comes closest to what I mean by that).
With that in mind, I’ve committed to making sure that my political beliefs are a part of my daily practice and I affect change to the extent that is within my control as an individual. That doesn’t include performative activism, by the way.
Now that I’ve explained how I personally deal with questions related to politics, it should be easier for you to understand where I’m coming from.
I really want to stress that this is just my take on things. This is not the only way to relate to politics.
If you didn’t have a moment of recognition, I encourage you to follow your own instincts and use my stance as a way to understand where *you* stand and how *you* think.
But because I think the way I think, whenever I get a question about whether you should stay or go because you disagree with local politics or you’re personally impacted by them, my question in respone is always:
How much and in what concrete ways do local politics affect the quality of your life on a daily basis?
If decisions have been made and legislations have been passed that will change what you’ll be able to do or that go against what’s important for you, then that means your quality of life is affected and that will be more difficult for you to swallow.
Whether or not you want to live with that is up to you.
- Can you live with the restrictions by finding workarounds?
- What action steps are available to you?
Whether or not you fight back (and how) is also up to you.
- Can you accept things without becoming some type of activist?
- Would you feel better knowing that you’re actively fighting back/compensating for the system in your own way?
- What options are available to you?
These are far from easy questions to answer.
My own experience has shown me that it’s not until you find your values being demolished that you find out where and how you want to draw a line in the sand.
I hope these questions will help you understand what kind of action you want to take, what action steps are available to you as well as whether the signs point to you moving countries for you to be able to sleep easy at night.
But all this is relevant only after you’ve taken some time to let the waves of shock wash over you.
What role does politics play in your decision to stay/go or settle down somewhere?
If you’re struggling to decide what you should decide because of political issues, then check out my coaching offers here and book a free gift session to explore how I could help you move forward.
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.