The Going Back Home Question

It’s been two and a half years now that I am an expat. The questions you’ve been ask by other people about this experience are always many, who is curious to know about the difference you encounter between your home country and the one you’re living in, who wants to know the bureaucratic details, who is worried about the food you find in the country you’re living at the moment is the same quality as the one at home… the variety of questions that I’ve been asked are so many and so different that I could write a book πŸ˜€

But there’s one question that each time someone puts me in front of it, especially now that I’m nearly graduating at Uni so a “cycle” is ending, which I feel I don’t really have an exact answer, or better, my answer is very vast to explain.

THE question: “But don’t you want to go home?”
Answer: “N…es?”

There are many reasons why this question doesn’t have a precise answer, let’s start with the NO points:

– I think I’m at an age where I can totally take advantage of all the opportunities I have in front of me and until now, living abroad has taught me so many things about life, people and myself that probably I won’t have got at this age if I would have lived at home.

– Unfortunately my country at the moment can’t give me the same working opportunities as abroad [if you didn’t know, inΒ the last few years, inItaly there’s a high rate of youth unemployability…], so after living for three years around Europe, having invest a lot of time, effort (and money) on it, would it have sense to go back to Italy which would now probably mean going back to stay at my parents house?

The mentality people have here is totally different: more open-minded, the interest to new ideas and creativity is way more shown than back at home (Obviously, I’m just talking in general and this is just MY impression πŸ™‚ ).

On the other hand, the Β YES points are:

– Of course I love my country and would love going back, I mean, in the end Italy is my home and who doesn’t stay well at home?

– After all this travelling I think one day I’ll want to settle, Italy could be an option but, who knows what will happen by the time that I’ll be settling? πŸ™‚

To sum up, I believe my short version answer to this question is “Maybe, but not now” (Well, okay never say never, maybe next year by chance I’ll find a job in Italy, but for now I don’t really feel the need to go back) πŸ˜€

I know this is hard to understand, especially for those people who never had the opportunity (or will) to live an experience abroad, but I swear it’s not because I don’t like my home country, I never left with the idea “I’ll never come back” but with a thought like “I’m going to create myself a future, see you later.” πŸ™‚

The structure of this post is quite weird, different from usual, but I think this is the best way to explain everything well… I hope you got my point and that no one took it in a bad way! πŸ™‚


What about you? Have you ever been asked the same question? Which was your answer? I’d love to hear your experience!


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  • Reply Pooja @lostinprettyeurope

    I can totally relate, Lisa! I get asked similar questions. I am from Nepal but have been living in Europe since 5 years. I was 18 when I first moved. So far I’ve lived in Finland and Poland, and I get asked the same things many times. You’re lucky that you’re Italian because it’s so near to go back to for a visit! I usually visit home every 1-1.5 years, sometimes more πŸ™‚ Well, there are good and bad sides. For me there are more fun/positive sides to it, so I just deal with the occasional homesickness and other similar emotions quite well.

    18/11/2016 at 10:24
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      So glad to hear you could relate Pooja! Yes I totally agree with you! I believe homesickness it’s totally normal, but then when you realise that what you’re doing is worth it and makes you happy then you really open your eyes and live it with even more awareness! Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      18/11/2016 at 13:39
  • Reply Charlotte

    Beautiful post and I can completely 100% relate. The “N.. es” answer comes from my mouth often. Although next year, going away for 12 months without visiting home once will be the longest time for me, so I will see what emotions and challenges it brings but I have no plans to rush back. Everything at home is always the same when you return and there is something about returning that seems so final. If you aren’t ready to settle (which we certainly aren’t πŸ˜› ) then continue your adventures! Happy Travels. X

    18/11/2016 at 10:35
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Thank you Charlotte! Good luck with your move and I’m looking forward to reading about your experience as well! Glad to hear you liked the post πŸ™‚

      18/11/2016 at 13:40
  • Reply Constance

    Hey Lisa, tough call huh? I know exactly what are going through because I’ve been there 10 years ago. Having lived in England and Scotland as a student when I finished my studies I had the same dilemma and the same worries. Finally I decided to follow my heart and go back home (Greece). Almost a decade later I decided to leave home once again and this time for good. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and if you ask me there is no better spot in this planet than Greece (I am sure everybody feels the same about his/her own country), If your are anything like me, a person with natural curiosity about everything, who needs a creative environment to evolve, who only becomes better with interaction, I believe you should stay in north Europe. At least for the moment. Home will always be there and you will always have the choice to go back. Of course you can go back and leave again if you feel like it just like I did, but if I could travel back in time I would advise myself not to go home at that point.
    In any case I am wishing you all the best at this point of your life. I know it seems epic but remember life is full of these moments and at the end of the day we can always change our minds :-p

    18/11/2016 at 10:49
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and for your suggestion Constance! It’s always so interesting reading about people who have your same mentality and lived kind of the same things! I’ll definitely take in consideration your advice! πŸ™‚

      18/11/2016 at 13:42
  • Reply Giulia

    Anch’io sono all’estero da quasi tre anni e ti dirΓ², ho i tuoi stessi identici dubbi. Vorrei tanto tornare a casa, ma purtroppo vedo che la situazione italiana non Γ¨ delle migliori e dopo tanta indipendenza, mi viene veramente il magone a tornare a vivere con i miei, per quanto adori la mia famiglia. Vedremo cosa ci porterΓ  il futuro!
    Un saluto!

    18/11/2016 at 10:57
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Esatto, siamo nelle stesse condizioni allora! Uno dei miei motti Γ¨ “chi vivrΓ , vedrΓ ” e in questo contesto Γ¨ proprio azzeccato! πŸ™‚

      18/11/2016 at 13:51
  • Reply Angie

    I understand about your thoughts on whether you should go back to your home country or not. I think you’ll figure it out. Your family is always there, so even if you live somewhere else you’ll end up back home visiting anyway. That’s how I feel about Seattle. I’ve been away for so long that I’m not sure I want to settle there anymore. Things have changed. I have changed. Regardless, Seattle will always be dear in my heart and I’ll always visit family even if I’m not living there. Enjoy your time exploring. Life is short, and circumstances always change. And home will always be with you no matter where you are.

    18/11/2016 at 12:08
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Thanks Angie for reading and leaving this lovely comment! I totally agree with your thought, I want to make the most of my age and the possibilities that I have, luckily I have a really supportive and encouraging family and this definitely helps πŸ™‚

      18/11/2016 at 13:53
  • Reply Arielle

    I feel the exact same way about returning to the US… although now I’m a little more inclined to stay away, given the election results lol. But it’s a conflict I have within myself 24/7!

    18/11/2016 at 18:40
  • Reply Emily

    Although not an expat I feel like I can relate a bit – when I lived on the cruise ship, and when I’ve done long backpacking trips, people always ask if I miss home, and I have the same reaction! Of course I miss home and all the good things about it, but at the same time travelling abroad is too amazing to give up!

    18/11/2016 at 20:50
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Yess exactly, you totally got my point Emily! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

      20/11/2016 at 0:35
  • Reply Debbie

    I love this post, Lisa. It’s beautiful and creative, just like your expat journey seems to be for me!
    I wish you so many blessings on your path.

    I left LA to go to NY… I think it was to finalize things there (I moved from NY to LA about 10 years ago!), and I realized that where physical home was for me is Los Angeles. Such a blessed awareness. πŸ™‚

    19/11/2016 at 2:57
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Oh that’s so great you’ve found your happy place, your home! Thank you for reading and sharing your experience Debbie! πŸ™‚

      20/11/2016 at 0:36
  • Reply sileas

    I can totally relate to your feelings! I’m was constantly torn between my home and other places too. There are so many other factors which influence your decisions and you’re right, you never know what’s coming up πŸ™‚ For example, my bf lives in NYC and I never thought I’d ever move there… I think most importantly we need a place where we always can return to – and that’s a safe home that awaits us πŸ™‚

    19/11/2016 at 9:46
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Oh yes I totally agree with you, Julia! And people are definitely an important point! Thank you for reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

      20/11/2016 at 0:38
  • Reply Johanna Rosberg

    I’m totally in the same boat as you, Lisa! For two years all I was asked from my friends and family when I spoke to them was “when are you coming home??” Then, a few months ago we decided to move back to Sweden next year, and in all honesty I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, I’m excited to get back to my loved ones, but I always felt like I was sort of going back in time, back to square one in a way, whenever I’ve moved back from the different counties I’ve lived in. But I’ll see this as the next step so that my partner can get a Swedish and European citizenship – that way we’ve got more choices on where to live a few years from now πŸ™‚

    19/11/2016 at 23:41
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      Oh I can imagine it’s a weird feeling knowing you’ll go back! But you’re totally right, you have to see it as a new start! You’ve done so many new experience during your time abroad that I’m sure you’re not the same person that left the first time so it’ll be definitely curious to see the differences!! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience Johanna! πŸ™‚

      20/11/2016 at 0:40
  • Reply Tay

    I totally get it! If I were you I’d probably feel the same!

    21/11/2016 at 5:00
  • Reply Caro @ Two Say the Least

    My Dad worked abroad and I grew up visiting and living in several beautiful countries. My answer was always No at the time. And now, it’s my dream to be … elsewhere πŸ™‚

    21/11/2016 at 16:19
    • Reply Lisa // Fromdreamtoplan

      So interesting to see how are feelings change! no? πŸ™‚ thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

      22/11/2016 at 10:34
  • Reply Jan

    I’ve lived my life as an expat since I was 1 month old. I do know what it feels like to ask if I’ll ever go home. After all these decades! I’m still not sure.

    21/11/2016 at 21:28
  • Reply Francesca

    There is no hurry to go back home: you are so young, have plenty of things to do and experiences to make ahead. Keep going, keeping an eye over Italy just not to miss any chance, but when (if) the time to go back will arrive, things will take you there, I am sure.

    25/01/2017 at 10:53
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