The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad


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How To Survive Being An Expat

Insightful and humorous, this article written by an American expat living in Italy offers great tips for surviving life abroad. Enjoy!

Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

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1. Appreciate Your Life

Be thankful that you wake up alive each morning. Don’t take your situation for granted, most people never get the chance to live abroad and experience what you’re experiencing. Don’t sweat the small stuff like the fact that in Italy people have no concept of sidewalk space and they would rather throw you in front of a bus instead of stepping aside. So what! You stepped in dog shit and getting your residency is difficult, at least you’re not dying from terminal cancer.

2. Make Friends (It’s way better than sitting in front of FB all day crying)

Having good friends can make or break any experience. What do you love to do? Find a group of people who like the same thing and get to know them. Join a writer’s group, a painters group, a knitting circle. Friends will not come to your door magically…

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REBLOG: Loneliness or Freedom? The Existential Conflict of the Modern Expatriate

So very many excerpts I could quote here from this beautifully crafted essay on the dilemma of the modern expat. But one that particularly stuck out to me was the following: “But if life back “home” isn’t the life you want to live, then there is no reason to stay put. The expatriate experience, although rife with existential crises and constant second-guessing, is often the only way that certain people can find true happiness. Not everyone was born in the place they want to forever live and some were not even born in the same country.To know yourself, to know that deep down you must make the move is a serious but terrifically mature decision.”

Cody Delistraty

In the summer of 1951 an expatriate from New Jersey opened Le Mistral in Paris, a bookstore he named after his first French girlfriend. From the very first night 38-year-old George Whitman allowed writers, poets, artists, and bohemian travellers to sleep in his shop on a series of mattresses and towels that he’d arranged on the top floor. Slices of moonlight appeared on the ramshackle floors and the Notre Dame cast a sparkle onto the Seine just outside.

Perhaps now the most famous literary destination in France, Shakespeare & Co. – a name given to Whitman by Sylvia Beach – embodies the expatriate experience, not just as a literary pilgrimage but as a place for Anglophones to meet with one another in a city where they are accustomed to being met as foreigners. For the expatriate, life can get quite lonely. The expatriate desires camaraderie, time with people who are…

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