Whilst some expats are in it for the long haul, many embark on their travels abroad knowing they will eventually end. It might be clichéd to say life is a journey but for expats it is literally true. Whether drawn home by old friends or tempted by the jobs, culture and adventures of a new country, expats understand more than most the importance of savouring the moment while it lasts. It is this adventurer’s mind-set which makes expats such a unique breed and, quite often, fantastic story tellers.
It is also why you find expats jotting down their thoughts in notebooks, recounting their adventures online and collecting bric-a-brac for old time’s sake. Human beings are famously social animals and taking a bit of your old life with you will help you to tell your stories and relive your adventures. Not everyone wants to be jotting down notes in their diary each night and everyone’s different - so which type of expat storyteller are you?
Guilty as charged – this one fits Expat Explorer like a glove. Whether you write as yourself or under a pseudonym, chronicling your travels online with a blog is a great way to share your experiences with others. Not only can you keep your friends up to date with the latest news, you can help other expats learn from your experiences. There are some great sites out there to help expat bloggers connect with each other and keep family and friends up to date with your adventures abroad; joining online communities like these can also be a good way to find your feet when you don’t know anyone. Many would-be bloggers fall at the first hurdle, setting impossibly high standards for themselves and never publishing a single post! The trick is to keep it short, keep it simple, and keep it regular. Just get your first few blogs out there, before you know it you’ll be climbing up those Google rankings.
Creative Commons / Dmgultekin
The Treasure Hunter
You know who you are. Do you still have those news clippings from the day you were born, a vial of sand from that first beach holiday or certificates for grade 1 breast stroke? If so, why not try a keepsake box. Photographs are all well and good, but nothing gets the imagination flowing like a physical piece of history. In years to come a trinket from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar could become the jewel from Aladdin’s cave, inspiring the odd exaggerated tale. Sometimes it’s the silly little things that can have the most resonance. The menu from a meal shared with friends, the tickets for that local band or the jersey of your old sports team, the treasure hunter has a story for them all.
Creative Commons / Magic Madzik
Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. There is nothing quite like the considered reflection of writing a diary, but it is often said that diarists rarely read their old entries. You might just be the next Bridget Jones, but for most expats, sharing those first kisses, triumphs and tribulations is more than a little embarrassing. Nevertheless some diarists have become important historical icons in their own right. Scientists are attempting to look further back into the earth’s climate by consulting ancient diaries, whilst London’s Samuel Pepys’s diary is one of the most important English historical sources of the seventeenth century. Keep a watchful eye on the world around and, you never know, your memoirs might just become the defining local history book.