Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dreams of the International Lifestyle

A few months ago, Writer Abroad was reading a blog when she came across someone familiar—herself. In the process of reading this blogger’s post, Writer Abroad realized something: she was living this person’s dream. And also, thankfully, living her own.

It only took 31 years.

But the truth is that living a dream like writing abroad isn’t always all that dreamlike—even if you have things like Swiss cheese and chocolate bars to chomp on.

First off, getting to the point where you are brave enough to pursue your dream can be painful in itself. For Writer Abroad, it involved a layoff, a lot of German paperwork (just say “nein”) and feigned fluency, as well as a number of soul searching days that involved being scared to say no to writing manuals for dentists.

Later, living the international life can get even messier and involve things like double taxation (aren’t you proud to be an American?), rejection (in this case no worries about double taxation), and fun things like doubt.

But no matter what, if you’re living your dream, you’re a happier person. Writer Abroad definitely smiles a lot more than before even though no one else in Switzerland smiles back.

Anyhow, Writer Abroad is tired of talking about herself. How did you come to live your dream? Was it a messy, doubt-ridden process too? Please share. Writer Abroad loves a little Schadenfreude. It is a German thing, after all. Prost.


  1. Messy and painful are definitely the right words to describe my journey.

  2. Whew. I feel better now. :)

  3. I didn't have the courage to realize my dream on my own - it took my husband's encouragement. He said he didn't want me to wake up in 40 years never having realized my dream. And although I'm not quite there yet, I'm far enough along that there will be no regrets. :)

  4. It took a layoff for me, too, and a breakup. I had always wanted to live abroad, and after the bottom fell out of my "old" life, I decided it was now or never. I've been in Australia for five weeks, meeting people, seeing things and making a living writing, and thus far it is one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

  5. Hi Nadine,

    I had some husband encouragement too. It's great when your partner wants you to follow your dreams.

    Hi Fritsky,

    Glad to hear you took the risk! I think sometimes our "old" lives end for a reason. I've never been to Australia but it sounds amazing.

  6. Not so much messy and painful but EXPENSIVE. 80k in student loan debt for my year spend in England getting my MA in Creative Writing. I had to come home for financial reasons and I really really wish I could have stayed but it was so very worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I wrote a post about it on my blog here: http://camarshall.blogspot.com/2009/08/mighty-ma.html

    I just recently found your blog and I love it! If I can't be abroad anymore, at least you're here to remind me of good times and I get to experience a bit of Switzerland, a place I haven't been yet!

  7. Hi CA

    Welcome to the blog. Will take a look at yours.

    Yes, living abroad can be expensive, depending where you are and what you are doing. Europe and getting an education are two of the most expensive things around, right behind the price of Chinese food in Switzerland. $30 for sweet and sour chicken?

    But I digress.

  8. Living the dream, whatever it is, is often messy and always worth it in my opinion.

    Also it's worth noting I think that sometimes the dream changes.

    Anne - Aboutfreelancewriting.com

  9. Hi Anne,

    I agree the dream can change sometimes. I think my first dream was to become a writer but then in high school and college I switched to singing because writing term papers was not my idea of writing. But now I'm back. And it's great.

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