An expat’s letter to her former homebody self

Letter to myself

Today’s post comes courtesy of Denyse Whelan’s Life This Week link up. The prompt suggests a letter to your 20-year-old self. My 20-year-old self did not have a handle on things by any stretch of the imagination. All frizzy hair and no idea about dressing well or not being strange around other humans (so nothing’s changed!).

Dear me,

Mostly because of the fact that you’ve largely gotten over your faux teenage angst, I know you’re going to look down your nose at this navel gazing.

You’ll think “Pfft, writing my past self a letter, what a waste of time! I don’t need no stinking letter from an old lady. I’m busy going to see as many bands as I can, drinking beer like my boyfriend taught me to (downing it in two gulps), and coughing up a lung for a week from passive smoking at the Annandale.”

My liver and lungs still cringe at the thought. Thank God they banned indoor smoking soon after those experiences. That place was basically a smoker.

In any case kiddo, you’ve got a lot to learn so sit down, turn off the radio and listen for once.


Some people have told you that journalism isn’t the right path for you. That you have the “wrong” personality to make a career work. Don’t let them take away the experiences you’re about to have by believing them.

You’ll cover happy and sad events and talk to many more people from diverse backgrounds than you would in any other job. You’ll be worried more days than not – worried that you won’t do a story justice, or that you’re missing something, but the adrenaline will see you through. It’ll take you across the world and back again, on adventures you never thought you’d go on.

A job or a career isn’t forever, there will always be other opportunities. There’s no shame in changing direction when life throws you a curve ball or something doesn’t feel quite right anymore.

Travel v. “Settling Down”

When dad tells you to be sensible and buy a house instead of going travelling, you can listen, but you’ll miss out on living in London -the theatre, museums, music and European trips. Although, you’ll have put me where I am now – houseless and still renting in my almost mid-30s.

There is no “right” answer to that conundrum. Just do what you think’s the best for you and keep on trucking.

Don’t be scared to step away from your safety net either though. Coming from a big family and always having someone there to help you out is a great place to be in. But sometimes you need to know that you can stand on your own two feet and deal with life.

Just because no one else has trodden this path before you, doesn’t make it impossible. Get organised, plan what you can and just go with the flow. You’ve got to make your own luck and your own adventures.


Hug your mum as often as possible. And ask for all of the advice you can. There will be a time soon where she won’t be around to ask. And every time you come up against a life or relationship dilemma, you won’t have her to turn to.

Instead you’ll be wondering what she would say or do in that same situation, and have other people constantly telling you what “she would have wanted”. They mean well and are probably right. Be grateful for what you have.

You’re worried for nothing

OK listen up, because this is my favourite bit: Stop worrying and over-analysing so damn much. Mistakes aren’t deadly (most of the time) and it’s not a huge deal if you make them once in a while. Someone in your future will make this click for you. So what if some people think you’re strange or that you’ve done the “wrong” thing? There will be plenty of people who will think and say the opposite.

All the other stuff…

Would you start running already? I know you hate exercise and sport, but just give it a go. You’re going to be so much happier once you do. Oh and work on your ITB and glutes because they’re going to give you what-for in the future.

And finally, don’t let anything scare you away from becoming an expat and living where work and life takes you. Start saying yes more and you’re going to have some amazing adventures.

Kat (yeah, some people call me that now. Weird huh?)

P.S. Don’t let that Skydiving voucher expire!

Expat | letter | homebody | expat advice | expat life | Aussie expat | living overseas | living abroad

20 thoughts on “An expat’s letter to her former homebody self

  1. I love this! Such great advice – it’s always a “yes” to adventure! And I’m with you on the running, if only I had started earlier! I think renting is the new buying and although you don’t own your own place, you do have a place to call home which is the most important thing (especially in a city like SF!)

  2. This was a fun read! It made me think about what I would tell my 20 year old self…and what my 80 year old self would tell me now. I think Stop Worrying so much is a common thread.

  3. Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you can see just how far you’ve grown as a person. I keep wondering about this running thing… I’ve tried but I just cant love it but I really wish I did! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  4. I love this! It’s so amazing how much we change and grow as we get older… and then throw the expat thing in and we really evolve. So interesting and a great idea!

  5. Fun read. I think I would tell my pre-expat life self that it will all work out and to just chill out and not waste so much time stressing. It’s not that bad! #FarawayFiles

  6. I loved this letter to yourself, Kat! I feel that it’s helped me get to know you, the author of this blog a little better too.

    SSG xxx

  7. I love this cos I can relate to those questions you’re asking yourself – if you ‘could’ change things, would you? That there’s no right answer.

    And as for worrying too much, I have no idea how I would / could have stopped myself. Is it my personality I wonder? If I knew then what I know now, would I still worry about the same things?

    1. It’s probably why I’m not prone to regretting things very much. Who knows what the alternative decision would have brought?

      The worrying part is tough. For me it’s about thinking things through and realising that I just don’t have any control over them. And that worrying isn’t going to help, it’ll just make me a nightmare to live with.

  8. From some one who basically settled down and will likely never travel, you definitely made the right choice.

    And yep, can relate about the worrying thing. It either a) won’t happen, or b) worrying about it won’t stop it from happening anyway, so it’s pointless!

    1. I guess it depends on your personality. If you’re not really that into travelling then it’s not a big deal, but if it’s something you’re curious about, you should definitely give it a go.

  9. Oh my goodness this prompt has got us all doing so much inner work and that is a good thing. I found your words just wonderful. I like your reflections which are caring of you now. I have always found the story of you really interesting because I recall LONG ago when I “knew” you from Lee’s group and you were talking about all of the outer pressures from family “who did not want you to go” and the struggles you must have felt because of this. You are doing such a good job being YOU from my viewpoint anyway !! Love from here to you there!! D xx
    Thanks for linking up for Life This Week 40/52. Next week: With $1000 I would…

    1. Yep, this prompt was so difficult! I had to write this over a week to get it right, and even then, I will probably read it back in a year and think I was crazy.
      Oh gosh, Lee’s group was AGES ago. It’s funny because Sam asked me how I knew you while she was here and I really had to struggle to think back to that group. I have such a short memory! You’re so lovely, I got lots of help from all of you in that group to make the decisions that I have and to be at peace with those decisions!

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