Last week, I met an Estonian young woman of 25 years old, who spent her layover in the same hostel as I. She had just arrived from Bali and was on her way back to Estonia, although with much apprehension. Before going to Bali on a vacation to live cheap, she had lived in Australia for two years, becoming a personal trainer. The apprehension for her, was the feeling of perhaps being forced to return into the kind of person she didn’t want to be, or simply not get to work with what she just had found to be her passion.
I couldn’t agree more. Naturally, I shared my own experience of having lived in the United States and then coming back to Sweden, not only once but several times. This time around has been even worse than the times before. It is indeed a reversed culture shock first of all, and indeed a real challenge to adapt again, preferably in a new and positive way where at least our experience and new found knowledge and confidence gets to be used in an enriching way. Do we ever?
I see opportunities everywhere, for myself personally, and for others. It is why I chose to become a Personal coach to help others find their own best careers and life-balance. This in turn translates into actual pursuits of course, whether finding a new place to live, a new job, founding a new business, reconnecting with old friends, making new, applying a broadened perspective or simply by the language.
There comes a point though, of not wanting to adapt anymore. For me, my turning point was in 2014. Usually, we delvelop more patience and more tolerance. But, we also develop our values and standards alongside preferences and worth. It is a treasure in itself to have lived abroad like no other. It is a mix of personality and culture blending old and new, in a different setting.
The trend since then, as I perceive it, is a generation with an increased inclination to move abroad for work upon college, often directly which in turn creates a new point of reference on both how we work together, and what is called home. How can you build anything sustainable without setting roots first? This to me is a dangerous development in Europe, where I think Sweden is overflowing with new immigrants while Swedes either hate them more, or become weaker in their own sense of identity, less integrating.
My hope already as a young traveler in the 90’s was to be a bridge for cultures, but every time I try to, I become more opposed or sabotaged and ignored.
The encouragement I gave to the Estonian woman was of course to not see her homecoming as infinite, but rather to regroup and try for a while before moving on to for example Norway or Sweden where many do, like she mentioned. This way, a third option after Australia could become something new and more narrow to build upon.
As for me, I set out the intention of becoming an American citizen in 2010 with action steps taken. A lot of testing and learning along the way is definitely necessary to mature. All good. Still want to become one.