Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my deliverance from domestic adulthood. I started this blog over a year ago to share my experiences abroad with others, and if I had only one bit of advice to give, it would be to live abroad for a year or longer, if you can. Here are ten reasons why.
1. You’ll be free
Quitting a shitty job, packing a suitcase, and catching the next plane to God knows where is an empowering feeling. It’s pure, unadulterated freedom.
2. You’ll have stories
Tales of debauchery and embarrassment on an international scale trump stories of “epic” fraternity beer chug-offs any day of the week. Live abroad at least once and you’ll almost certainly become a more interesting person.
3. You can start a travel blog
Tangible real-world obligations have taken a back seat to this blog for a full year now, and I only hope to continue upholding my negligence by stockpiling new content in the crowded center of blogging mediocrity for years to come. If you go overseas, you can join me.
4. You can eat new foods
Every time I go to the supermarket, I try some new food that I didn’t even know existed. Sometimes I’m disgusted and confused. But most of the time, I feel like Indiana Jones stumbling upon a culinary gem the likes of which the finicky western palette has yet to discover. I’m appalled at the sheer deliciousness Asian cuisine has hidden from my depraved taste buds.
5. You’ll learn about your own culture
Meeting people from other countries and listening to their opinions about your home country from an outsider’s perspective can provoke deep cultural reflection. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture will shock you in ways you can’t prepare for. It’s like life medicine.
6. You can start a new routine
Living abroad for a year is a chance to start fresh, and with that comes an opportunity to pick up some new, interesting routines. For example, exercising in outdoor gyms in Thailand. Or chewing green tea leaves for caffeine instead of drinking coffee.
7. You can play new sports
Back in the day, I didn’t give a shit about football (soccer), but now I play every week with people from China, Korea, England, Colombia, Ghana and the U.S.A. It’s like the United Nations of sports. Also, I realize now how shameful it is to call football “soccer.” If you already consider yourself a footballer, try your hand at sepak takraw, arguably the most ridiculous sport ever conceived.
8. You’ll grow as a person
Living abroad can be tough at times. Trying helplessly to break a thick language barrier just so you can mail a post card to your home country is a frustrating yet character-building experience. It’s obscure situations like this that unearth opportunities for personal growth, and plenty of them await you if you choose a life of overseas living.
9. You’ll master the art of friend-making
Some people think that if you’re a loner or you suck at making friends, you shouldn’t travel. That’s stupid. Living abroad forces you to get out of your comfort zone and create a world of friend-making opportunities that would have never otherwise existed. On the other hand, if you’re already a master socialite, you’ll open the floodgates of networking and friendship possibilities.
10. You’ll get a traveler’s education
Like a “real” education, only better because you won’t be drowning in debt. Remember when you were young and went on field trips for school? It was about leaving the classroom, going out into the field, and sweeping rocks to excavate fake dinosaur fossils. The point is, it was hands-on learning. Living abroad for a year is like a field-trip for adults packed exclusively with hands-on learning, only without the dinosaur fossils.