Every expat has their own reason for going abroad. Some do it for the money, other have intrinsic reasons. For me, I was searching for myself.
The story has been told many times. Graduating from university, one do not know what to do with his/her life. One travels and then one found himself/herself through those experiences.
I am very envy of people who knew exactly what they want to be when they grow up. I never knew what I wanted to do for the longest time. I didn’t think I was good at anything in particular. I like running and being active, but am I good enough to be an athlete? I made websites and HTML coding, should I be a web designer or be a computer engineer? I read many books — novels in my early teenage years, maybe I can be an author? Unfortunately, I never found traces of evidence that I was competent on the professional level to make any of these into a career.
At 23, my expat/travel life began, thanks to AIESEC. In retrospect, there were many reasons that I wanted to go abroad, but soul searching was not on the top of the list. I mainly wanted to enrich my professional experiences while living independently and travel in a new country.
Some people ask me to compare my experiences in Australia vs. Egypt. It is incomparable. I wouldn’t trade one for the other because they are so different. I had a good time in Australia. The friends I met are some of the most inspiring and positive people that I still keep in touch with to this day. Sydney treated me well with nice beaches and weather. I worked for a good company which had a open culture. I gained some professional experience. Whereas most of my personal development happened in Egypt or afterwards. You learn so much more about yourself when stepping into a country so different from your own.
There are even some things just pop out of nowhere. I never thought I was an artist. Now, I do see that I have an artistic side. No, I still cannot draw. I start to appreciate beauty – whether it is human, nature, or wildlife. I want to capture the moment. I appreciate different religions views and want to learn more about them, although I am raised as an atheist.
Everyone changes over time. I cannot say all of the changes I found within myself is because of the travelling. Maybe I matured through time. Nevertheless, a big chunk of it does derive from the lands away from home. Slowly and surely, through travelling, I was on a voyage to explore myself.