Day 5: embrace a simpler lifestyle

In the last few years of living overseas, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the opportunity that the expat life can offer to simplify my lifestyle and align it closer with my values. There’s a couple of ways I think this can work.

The expat life involves moving. And not just moving all your things into a new flat or a new city. But to a whole new country. That will likely involve shipping a good amount of stuff across the planet to be reunited with you in your new home.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need all the stuff.

Just repeat after me: I don’t need all the stuff. I know, it’s mind blowing. But all those books you can’t live without? You can live without them. The boxes full of mementoes and old school books? You’ll not actually unpack them before you move again. The cake tins in every possible shape and size? Well, maybe… ahem. No, even those are not necessary.

If you’re about to move overseas, or if you’re currently there, take a moment to look around you and think, Is this an item I need or truly value in my life? If not, give it away or sell it. Not only does it make it cheaper and easier to live an expat life, it subtly reminds you each day that there’s more to life than what you own and helps you focus on what’s really meaningful in your life.

And bonus? A less cluttered home is likely to have a significant positive impact on your mental and physical health (not to mention your bank balance).

The other aspect of this simpler lifestyle that I find the expat lifestyle can inspire is the shedding of the over-busy schedules we can find ourselves burdened with at home. When you start new in any place, you have a chance to focus your time on what is important, and leave lots of time in between for spontaneity and rest.

Most of us have to work of course, but here’s a chance to be intentional about how we use the rest of our time. If or when you return to your home country and people ask you what you spent your time doing overseas, what do you want to be able to tell them?

What about you? Have you found that expat life has helped your embrace a simpler lifstyle, or do you find yourself clinging tighter to the lifestyle you came from?


This post is part of my 31 days to embrace expat life. I’m writing every day through October on this topic.

Yesterday’s post – Avoiding comparisons.

Photo: Backpacker (via pinterest)