Over the last seven years of living abroad, I’ve had plenty of time to figure out expat life. Sometimes it’s a walk in the park, other times, it feels like jumping off a bridge, but most of the time it’s somewhere in between. And no matter what, I’m always open about that in my blog. Lately, with the world all topsy-turvy like, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. These moving abroad quotes sum up expat life, moving, connections, and love, far better than I could.
So here you go, my top 15 living abroad quotes that might just inspire you to move abroad.
1. Ordinary life does not interest me. – Anais Nin
There is the perfect way to kick off my list of moving to another country quotes. Although I am sure Anais Nin wasn’t referring to living abroad, I still feel her sentiment. Moving abroad is a way to escape the ordinary because nothing will ever be the same again and life is far from ordinary here.
2. So, here you are. Too foreign for home, too foreign for here. Never enough for both. – Ijeoma Umebinyuo, Questions for Ada
This is one of my favorite quotes about living abroad. It really speaks to me. Every time we go home, it feels like we are tourists in our city, yet I still feel like Chicago is home. Or at least one of my homes. I am a foreigner in Malaysia, yet I call Penang home. It’s not a bad thing – I feel lucky to be so deeply connected to so many places around the world.
3. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. – Christopher McCandless
I’ve always been the girl who couldn’t sit still. Maybe its because I’m a Sagittarius, or because adventure is in my blood, or my tendency to be commitment-phobic – but either way, this life abroad quote resonates with me.
This is a meaningful travel quote as well. Traveling provides the same unknown that living abroad does, without the commitment.
4. And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. – Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur
There is a part in all of us that plays it safe, assuming we will get to it later. We only have one life, and sometimes it is really short. When my dad died at 39, I was only eight years old. Even back then, something clicked in me that later might not come. Life is not a dress rehearsal; don’t play it safe. It’s ok to lose control and go off the rails once in a while because then you’ll know you’ve really lived. This is one of those great quotes on living, pushing yourself out of the comfort zone
5. Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time. – Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess
Necessity might be the mother of invention, but moving abroad is the mother of reinvention. For me, one of the most profound aspects of living abroad is the opportunity to reinvent myself in ways I never thought possible. I may fall on my face. I may fail, but at least I’ve tried. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll reinvent myself again. If that isn’t a motivational quote, then I don’t know what is.
6. You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. – Miriam Adeney
There is no doubt that my life is more abundant for having moved abroad. Friends in Penang have come and gone. I have come and gone. Part of my heart will always be in Chicago, but part of it is also in Cape Town. No matter where I live, I will feel like home is where I make it.
7. It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same. Even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald nails it right on the head with this moving away quote. I realize that it is difficult for my friends and family in Chicago to understand my life here. Unless they’ve visited, they can’t even imagine it. So when I go back to the US, I recognize how much I’ve changed, how I don’t feel like I truly belong there anymore.
8. You know what else is nice about being a foreigner? Whatever you do takes place in a capsule that need not be discovered and opened by someone back home. Nothing really counts – it was the life that falls in the forest. – Patricia Marx
There are a lot of quotes about moving to another country, but this one speaks to the anonymity that comes with it. When social media rules the world, and every one’s lives are out in the open, does it exist when there is no social proof?
9. The loneliness of the expatriate is of an odd and complicated kind, for it is inseparable from the feeling of being free, of having escaped. – Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon
While I don’t look at my life and think I have escaped anything, there is a definite sense of freedom that comes with moving away from America. We joke that life in Malaysia has a sense of lawlessness that we like. I don’t worry about being sued if I look at somebody the wrong way. If you fall on the sidewalk, you are to blame for tripping. Not the person who owns the restaurant in front of said sidewalk.
Yes, there are some freedoms that we have in the US that we don’t have here. But there is something lovely about not fitting into the mold, not worrying about offending someone for saying the wrong thing. I believe in being politically correct to a degree. But I also think America has gone too far. I like saying Merry Christmas and Easter eggs, and I’m not offended. Ya know why, because it’s not offensive, that’s why.
When a local Chinese Malaysian (yes I can write that without being dubbed a racist or politically correct) tells someone they are fat, that is offensive. Merry Christmas? I don’t think so.
10. You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious… You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés. – Ernest Hemingway
When it comes to moving abroad quotes, Hemingway totally had expat life down. There is a common, but hilarious, misconception that expats are always on vacation, partying it up, and have lost touch with reality. While that might be the case for some, it’s not for most of us. This is real life, with all the same crap, just in a different location.
11. When you move from one country to another you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there is nothing you can do about it. – Bill Bryson
This is so true. There are so many pros and cons to living in Malaysia. I’ve learned to accept the crappy stuff because no place is perfect. And because there are no rainbows without cloudy skies.
12. Even when someone is miles away, always remember this: we are under the same sky, looking at the same sun, moon and stars. – Gudapati Srikanth
This is one of those quotes about moving countries that always makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It reminds me how small the world is and makes me believe in the magic of the sky. Every night when we sit on our balcony eating dinner, I look up at the stars knowing that my loved ones are under the same magical sky as I am.
13. And suddenly you just know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. – Meister Ekhart
Sometimes you just need to trust. There will be plenty of time for second-guessing yourself, there always is. But sometimes you need to free fall and believe that you’ll land on your feet. There is something to be said about the freshness of starting your new life abroad.
Moving away quotes don’t get much more spot on that this one. Even though this guy is from the 13th century, it still resonates today.
14. For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I need to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, he gets me. This is one of those quotes about life that should be tattooed on my forehead.
15. It’s impossible said pride. It’s risky said experience. It’s pointless said reason. Give it a try whispered the heart. – Unknown
This isn’t just about moving abroad; this is one of my fave quotes about living from the heart. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your mind, but sometimes you need to follow your heart. Moving to another country is a life-changing decision. I don’t think it should be taken lightly but it has to feel good, not just look good on paper.
So there you have it, my fave moving abroad quotes. Do they inspire you? Which one is your fave? Tell me in the comments below.