Going Back to Reality

30 Jun

I’ve been an expat now since 1994 and this type of life has been very kind to me both in terms of lifestyle, opportunity and the chance to grow as a person experiencing people from all walks of life. It has taught me to be tolerant, grateful and accepting of every person or opportunity that has come my way.

One of the things that has always irritated me over this time has been this constant phrase from other expats about returning to their home environment.  “I want to go back to reality,” is a saying I have heard often over the years. I can understand it in a lot of ways especially after a recent trip to Dubai which is a city which has lost it’s soul to tourism. Buildings and places designed specifically to look old but which in fact just look out of place. Dubai is like Toy Town, a perfect place for perfect people…….

However, there is this sweeping image that as expats we live in a bubble and to some extent this is true. Expensive cars, swimming pools, private schooling etc all things that most of us would not be able to afford in our home country. However, much as it is a bubble, it is your own bubble and as such it is your reality. The reality you are living now.

The only thing there is in life is now. The past was now when it was happening and the future will be now when we get to it. There is actually no other state other than what is present right now. So my feeling is that as expats we should enjoy what is our present reality and not wish the time away to a future reality that may or may not be different.



Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “Going Back to Reality

  1. Noel Scanlon (@Noel_Scanlon)

    July 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Very Good Post, I’m a recent Ex-Pat, starting my 3rd year this week in my second country and I do get what you are saying, however I would add that when you are living and working in countries that are so different from your own, in my case, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, you do crave some “home normalities” though these are extreme examples, I feel that some other countries in the Middle East like UAE for example are easy to adapt to, even if they are Toy Towns !

    • Carole Kay

      July 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment Noel. I agree with the fact that we all as expats miss things from home especially when living in places like you mention above. Dubai I think is the complete opposite end of the spectrum to Saudi or Afghanistan in that everything has to be bigger and better than anywhere else. I am glad Dubai is not my reality!

  2. Adventures (@in_expatland)

    July 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I completely agree with your point that our reality is whatever we’re experiencing now, Carole. I don’t think people mean to sound condescending (at least I hope not), but that’s exactly what it sounds like when they say ‘back to reality’. They may mean the reality of non-expat life, but it sounds a bit offensive. What do they think locals consider their lives in the places expats are living? Their reality, I’m betting.

    • Carole Kay

      July 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Thanks for the comment. I guess reality is all about perception. Everything we experience in life effects everything else and I suspect the way we view things contributes to this too.


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