Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving Home

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving Home

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving Home
137 Flares Twitter 35 Facebook 0 Google+ 1 Pin It Share 101 StumbleUpon 0 Reddit 0 137 Flares ×

Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving Home


Living abroad was one of the best and most difficult things I’ve ever done. It was exhilarating and exciting and besides who doesn’t want to live on a tropical island? When we moved to Phuket, Thailand I was ready to become an expat and enjoy every minute of it. Life in the United States wasn’t going the way I had envisioned. I was working like crazy, struggling to pay of my looming student loans, and just overall didn’t feel free. Everything changed the second I decided to move to Thailand.


Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving HomeI never thought that two years later I’d be coming back to live in the United States. I was ready to be back on U.S. soil and see all my old friends and family, but it prove to be much more difficult than I thought. When I was abroad, it was hard being away and not having many people to talk to. I was ready for all the comforts of home and to finally be able to share some of my travel stories, but I didn’t expect to feel like a failure. The more time I was home, the more I started to feel like I had moved backwards in life. I had done such a crazy and adventurous thing by moving abroad and taking control of my life, but moving home just felt like all of that was all for nothing; it felt like I had failed.


Nothing prepared me for when I would talk to new people and explain that I had once been an expat. Their eyes would light up with excitement and delight just to be followed by such a disconcerting look followed by those words, “And you moved back home?” Nobody seemed to understand and it was easy to assume that living abroad was perfect. I’d call my friends and they’d ask, “How is it there?” and before I could respond they’d say, “Oh its so beautiful, life must be perfect!” How could I ever explain that it wasn’t? That life, no matter where you live still has its ups and downs? So I kept quiet.


Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving Home

“I can’t help but feel sad

at the thought that it is

all behind me now.

Why did I move home?” 



The past two years of my life have been the most exciting ever and I can’t help but feel sad at the thought that it is all behind me now. Why did I move home? I guess some backstory is in order. Jeff and I moved to Thailand as a couple. He and I both always wanted to live abroad, but never really had the courage to do it alone. We were what we both needed to take that huge step into the unknown and I was so grateful I had my best friend by my side while I did it. When we pushed that button to book our one-way ticket to move to the other side of the world, we both knew that it would make us or break us as a couple. We talked about how things could end badly, but in the end it was worth the risk.


Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving HomeAfter selling everything we owned, moving out of our apartments and even quitting our jobs, we were off. Once we settled into our new life, reality started to settle in. It was confusing. We were in such a beautiful place, yet it seemed so dark. We went from being best friends and a couple that worked all week and lived 70-miles apart to living together on an island, working and running a business together and being our only friends. After struggling we both decided that something had to give, and unfortunately that was the relationship. For me, I’d rather have my best friend and be single then loose everything we had built together, and Jeff felt the same way. So I decided to move home, it was difficult, but I needed it.

“I want to travel, I want to live in new countries and now I can pick myself up and plan my next adventure.”


Now that I’ve been back home for six months, I find myself feeling depressed and out of place. I keep thinking about moving abroad again, but I know that it would be scary to do alone. I’ve become so comfortable in my little bubble being back in my hometown that moving again is scary. Is in normal to feel this stuck? The answer is yes.


Confessions of an Ex-Expat: Moving HomeI think that moving home whether you lived in Thailand or just lived in a different town or state can be difficult. It’s easy to feel like you’re moving backwards, but just remember, all that matters is what you need at that moment. For me it was coming home so that I could rediscover why I moved abroad in the first place. I needed to feel this way so that I could be remotivated to fight for it. I want to travel, I want to live in new countries and now I can pick myself up and plan my next adventure.


I can finally feel myself starting to pull out of my funk and although it took 6 months to get there it was something I just had to go through. I love traveling and without it I just don’t feel like me. I need to get back out there and start exploring again. I know that Jeff and I breaking up plus moving back home has been a really difficult thing for me to get over, however it is time for me to focus on what makes me happy – TRAVELING. Although I don’t know if I’ll ever live abroad again, I can at least explore the world and all it has to offer!



Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.








  1. It’s not easy to move back home. We both were expats for 10 years (in several different cities, countries and continents), and moved back home a bit more than a year ago. So far, so good. We were both very lucky to get a job we like as soon as we came back, and an apartment within 6 months. But we still travel the world, spend all our holidays and week-ends abroad, or explore the (still unknown) spots in our country.
    But you’re absolutely right: it’s not your “old” friends or family that will ask you about what you experienced abroad. It’s strangers who will, and who will eventually become your new friends. The thing is, for those who “stayed”, a nice home and a well paid job are the most important things. Giving up everything that is good to them, heading to something unknown and scary, then come back again “with nothing” seems to be a stupid decision to them. So it’s quite normal that you see yourself as a failure (through their eyes). They either can’t or don’t want to (and thus probably never will) understand what a life-altering experience travelling or being an expat can be. But you know it! So don’t ever forget it: the strength, passion and energy you had, planning, organizing everything before leaving home, what you learnt while you were abroad, as well as the strength you had to go back home. Whatever people think, if traveling is what you like, then do it! You can get a full time job again (at home or elsewhere) and still explore the world. If we can do it, you can to! 😀
    Good luck, and thanks for sharing your story!
    Mei and Kerstin (from recently posted…Top 20 Vietnamese FoodMy Profile

  2. I’ve been an exapt my whole life (kid of expats) and I too know that moving back home is a hard thing to do. I’ve sank in the kind of hole you’re talking about so many times, each time being a bit different but still difficult. However, I found that, the older I get the less what people back home think affects me. I do have to remind myself that I’m happy with my life and they’re opinion is based on ignorance. If you’ve never been an expat or at the very least stayed with one for a few weeks, you have no idea what it is. I forgive their judgement and carrying doing what suits ME best. And just like you said, you don’t need to live abroad to discover the world. I’m very sorry about your break up, I wish you strength to get through the hard patches!
    Sarah recently posted…Desert Oasis of your Dreams: Garmeh, IranMy Profile

  3. Yeahhh. I’m heading home after living abroad for nearly 3 years now. I’m so excited to see everyone and just have that security of being back where i know everything with be OK no matter what.

    But it does always feel different.

    And all my friends have had babies and gotten married while I was away….. I’ll be like…… hey, I’ve been travelling, thinking of Canada next! No babies….. hahaha

    • Haha, we know the feeling Tara! Best of luck adjusting back to life at home, I can’t imagine what that will be like… or if I’ll ever do it… or where home is anymore haha.

  4. It definitely is not easy to move home and all the emotions that come with this are in result of the change. I think that you are not a failure in any way because what you did was much more important for your growth as a person than if you would have stayed and have an ordinary job… family and ect.! I have never been an expat but I love to travel and many times I was staying in other countries for few months… even after this little amount of time I feel strange to go back home.. I can’t imagine how horrible you should feel. Moving abroad may be a great thing but you definitely should learn to feel comfortable with yourself at home… gain confidence as person and then no matter where you move to you will not have fear and you will find happiness! Thanks for sharing! Have a lovely day!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge