Thursday, 28 November 2013

Expat SOS – Coping without technology

So interwoven has technology become in all our lives that being abroad with no way to ‘phone home’ might seem as terrifying and alien as being dropped on another planet. Video messaging services and time spent browsing through social media posts and photos helps you stay connected to friends and family many hundreds or thousands of miles away, as well as, occasionally, reminding you why you left!

But what of those who weren’t so lucky? Those who moved abroad before we had ubiquitous WiFi, roaming rates or even telegraph cables? What did they do?

For 21st century expats is there anything we can learn from this kind of isolation and hopefully immersion?

Image Source: Flickr

A message in a bottle: Romantic and fatalistic but a little unreliable, posting a message in bottles is probably better suited to stranded sailors than modern day expats. In terms of speed and efficiency you’d probably be better to pop home in person. When Christopher Columbus’s ship hit a storm and he feared for his life, he trusted the news of his discovery of the New World to a bottle, but, while he made it home, the missive has never been discovered. Maybe this one is best left in the past.

Letters (private): This is the stuff of many folk songs across the globe. The traveller goes abroad for work and writes his sweetheart letters promising eternal devotion and looking forward to return. There could still be something in this for modern day expats (even if their gender and industry is hardly so predicable).  Letter writing is great for fanning the flame of long distance relationships and setting aside the time to write about your experiences can be fun and rewarding.

Letters (public): Good news! You no longer need to be Lord Byron to publish writings inspired by your travels. Blogging can be a great way to share your personal expat experiences with your extended network of friends and the online expat community.  Just check out some of our guest bloggers for inspiration!
Moving abroad can be as scary as it is attractive, and as the date approaches, what felt like an adventure can start to seem like exile. But remember:

·         This isn’t the 16th Century! Your friends and family will always be just one phone call, or one click (and potentially one flight) away.

·         Taking the plunge will give you something worth talking about. Those you know at home aren’t going to forget you! They’ll be excited to hear about the amazing experiences you have to share.

·         Don’t be a tech addict! A lengthy letter can be better than hours spent messaging – and, what’s more, you’ve moved to see somewhere new! So get out there, get lost and see what you will find! 

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