Travel writer Ben Groundwater has lived all over the world. Here, he argues that moving to a new country, getting a job, and doing as the locals do might just be the best ‘travel’ experience money can’t buy.
They say you never really know a place until you’ve lived in it. And it’s true. You can’t appreciate a city or a country until you’ve taken the time to get to know it, discover its quirks and its eccentricities, its secrets and its lies, its passions and its desires. You can’t know the world until you’ve stepped out of the travel bubble and experienced normality.
And the only way to do that? Live there.
You have to pack up everything you own and move yourself to a foreign land. You have to learn to survive far from home. You have to make friends and make a life for yourself in a strange and wonderful place.
That’s what living abroad is all about. I have a friend who calls it ‘traveling without moving’–the idea that instead of taking a series of short holidays to different parts of the world, you should instead commit yourself long-term to just one place, to learning the language, learning the culture, getting a job and an apartment, and just being there.
That’s still a travel experience. In fact, it might just be the ultimate one.