I may have mentioned before that working abroad is full of opportunities and amazing fun. However, it’s also full of just plain ole day-to-day stuff with frustrations and aggravations.
It’s funny though because now that I have been living in Istanbul for about three months, it feels like my life is just getting settled. The past three years my life could be summed up like this: searching, moving, managing, surviving, searching, moving, and smiling.
When I started to think about moving abroad, it was about six months before I actually got a job at the fair in Boston. Then it was a matter of picking up and packing my life in San Diego, moving to and living across the world, not really loving it there, looking for a new job, moving to another new country, and here I am. Happy. But it took a bit of time!
What has been interesting to me about living abroad is the other ex-pats. From the little experience I have with this lifestyle, it seems that people like to stick with their own kind. Even when traveling to other places, I find many of these people go and do everything together. I have done this too. But as I think about what I want out of life, I ask myself if I am a tourist or a traveler?
A tourist takes the tour bus, sees the required sights, and hangs with the people they came with. On the other hand, a traveler goes off the beaten path, talks with new people, and tries new things. Not because it’s a good travel story but because it’s life. For me as I think about my life, I would like to be a mix of both with a heavier emphasis on the traveler.
At this moment, I find myself now in a bit of an existential dilemma. I want to be a traveler with my new life in Istanbul, but what do I really want out of my life here? And what are the steps to achieve this? I want to look back when this is all said and done and say, yeah, I was unafraid… this is who I am.
I see people pulling large carts of trash and others selling water on the rain soaked, exhaust filled highways as I head for home in my comfy bus. Mine is a first world problem for sure. That is not lost on me. And to think about it really, I am questioning things while living in Istanbul. Already feel ahead of the game.