Friday, 31 May 2013

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing…Whitney Lenox

We have the pleasure of introducing Whitney Lenox tweeting @WhitBNimble as our guest blogger today. Here, former expat, Whitney, shares five ways life abroad prepared her for an unconventional life back home.


After living a life that didn’t foster my dreams for so many years, I identified my passions and found freedom by taking the leap into expat life. Here are five lessons I walked away with that can be applied to an unconventional life as a returnee.

1.   Living with Less

Living abroad taught me to live with less stuff, and fewer expectations. I found that any time I would conjure up a set of expectations; life would always turn out differently in the end. From a simple trip to the grocery store, to figuring out my new work environment, situations were never as I expected. Letting them play out rather than attempt to control them helped me to become comfortable with ambiguity.

In addition to flexible expectations, I learned to appreciate a smaller living space, fewer amenities, and less stuff. The ability to let things go, is setting me up for a much simpler, affordable life now that I have returned to the US.

2.   Being mobile

Once I accepted my position in Korea, I had to quickly tie up all loose ends in the US and prepare to move. This included selling my vehicle, and giving away most all of my belongings. Then, after completing my first working contract in Korea, I took off across Asia for six months. With each step, I became more and more adjusted to change, moving, and letting go of things I owned. This lesson has opened my horizons, and now I’m considering a plethora of options for new cities and living spaces I’d like to call home during my lifetime. Having a “nest”, and planting roots, is less of a necessity than it was in my past.

3.   Comfortable being different

There were many days that I felt like a fish-out-of-water while living abroad. Trying to pick up a new language, and blend in while figuring out a new culture, is nearly impossible at times. The more I experienced that outsider feeling, the more comfortable I felt being an outsider. I care much less about fitting in, and much more about trying new things and accepting diversity. I can apply this new found confidence to so many new, once intimidating, experiences.

4.   Work vs. Freedom

I took a significant pay cut when accepting a teaching job abroad. What I didn’t expect to gain was an immense amount of freedom. I was hooked. I never realised just how much of my freedom I was giving up for a paycheck, in the past. Adjusting my spending to support a lower income was well worth the time for hobbies and travel I gained. I will continue to live this way in the US by managing my finances in a way that leaves room for free time.

5. The adventure can continue

Upon leaving Korea, I knew that the adventure didn’t have to end. I had learned to freely explore, and find joy in the smallest things while living there. Returning to the US brought on a new set of challenges for finding excitement and joy in familiar places. I have risen to the occasion by trying new ways to observe places around me, continuing to travel, and documenting my experiences in a creative and meaningful way.

I hope you feel inspired to apply the lessons you’ve learned as an expat to live a confident, adventure-filled, unconventional life, back home. 

About the author

After living for several years as an expat in Asia, Whitney has returned home to begin the next chapter of her life. She is currently road tripping across the US to determine which city she’ll call home next. You can join her in her attempts at livin’ life to the nimblest, by visiting her lifestyle blog, Whit B Nimble or tweeting at @WhitBNimble.

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