#1 How to Enjoy My Own Company
This is something that has always come quite naturally to me, but the initial isolation of moving abroad can be quite intense. It’s not easy starting a clean slate. Not having family, friends or even acquaintances to socialize with can be extremely crippling to some people. I’ve always been the most independent person I’ve ever known, but even I’ve had moments where I felt lonely. You begin to realize how important human relationships are, and with that you begin to push yourself to create new ones.
To move abroad alone, you do need to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to learn to take yourself out for coffee, meals or even nights out. Without pushing yourself to get out there you’re not going to make any new relationships and you’ll begin to feel lost.
Since moving to Athens without knowing anyone I’ve became more independent than ever. I now prefer my own company and have begun to appreciate the freedom that being alone brings.
#2 How to Budget
Budgeting is something I’ve never been good at. Before moving to Athens I was living at home with my mum and so I never had to worry about money; I could spend my last penny and still have food on the table.
Only now do I realize that just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it. I came to Athens with the mentality that as long as I don’t buy fancy clothes or go on crazy nights out then my finances will remain in-tact – but I was wrong. It’s the little things that add up: the couple of coffee’s a day, the snack from the vending machine at work or the snack from the bakery; that’s what really makes a difference.
#3 You Can’t Escape The Mundane
Unless you’re lucky and have money handed to you or can work as some kind of digital nomad, then you’ll have to accept that life is monotonous. Unfortunately, whether you’re working in Manchester or Marbella, you’re still working and doing something you don’t really want to be doing.
However! At least you’re where you want to be. To me that’s what matters. At least work is justified. I remember when I was working in England, I had no idea what I was working for. I didn’t even look forward to the weekends. Now, every weekend I’m on holiday in my favorite city in the world.
#4 We’re All The Same
I work for a company that has 93 different nationalities as staff, and one thing I’ve learned is that when you take away the language barrier and the culture… we’re all the same. We laugh and smile in the same language. We have the same values; as humans we instinctively know how to treat people, and whilst there are bad foreign people (as you see on the news), there are just as many bad countrymen.
My closest friends are from South Africa, Luxembourg, France and Tunisia. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only borders that separate us; everything else is bullshit.
#5 How to be Myself
Once I hated it when people would say “Just be yourself”, because I didn’t even know who the “I” was who I had to be. When you’re detached from everyone else’s opinions and ideas of who you are, you’re free. You can can reinvent yourself to be, well… yourself.
I think sometimes it’s too easy to play the role that everyone else cast’s you as.
There’s a quote by Thomas Cooley that says:
“I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am ”
Just think about that for a minute…