This one is especially for all of the mums out there living the expat life. We know those times when we hit the fork in the road all to well. We’ve all had them. Those moments when it’s time to choose. When almost every fibre in your being says ‘it’s time to go’. When the little voice of reason, doubt and ‘are we really doing this?’ hits you hard.

A true turning point about where to live and who to keep close can come at any time yet it often tells you something you already know perfectly well. But you might not have been prepared to really understand it or take action until now.

I often chat to my clients about that famous fork in the road. That tricky spot where we know we have to decide to stay put or go home. To settle or to move along. To uproot what we’ve built for ourselves and our loved ones. Or to stand our ground.

The three most common reasons why people get stuck and feel the need for new direction:

1) The end of an era.

Something in your life or your family’s life has come to an end either suddenly or planned. Maybe you’ve finished studying, wrapped up in a specific work assignment or a relationship ended. The key question going through your mind is ‘What now?‘. Probably followed by some element of panic combined with emptiness. Most of us have been at this point sometimes in our life and whether or not it’s carefully planned, it’s still very challenging.

2) Time to grow up?

You might have had people ask you this or you might be feeling that well know internal stress building up. That it’s time to settle down (ideally geographically close to the people who might be hassling you to settle down), do the right thing for the kid (whatever that is and how someone else would prossibly know what’s right for you) and possibly put an end to some of those travels and adventures you love so much. The question you might be asking yourself here is ‘Isn’t it time that…?‘ The challenging thing with this fork in the road is that it’s often other people or external expectations in some way that generate these feelings. Be mindful to not let other people’s opinions take over your mind. You and your family can decide what’s right for you!

3) I’m/we’re running out of time. 

I’ve seen this interesting pattern in clients and expats of all ages and family situations. Sometimes it’s triggered by someone who’s been responsible and sensible for too long and/or focussing their energy on making others happy and somewhat forgotten about themselves. If this is you I bet you can’t wait to start doing something for yourself and making your mark in this world. You’re probably asking yourself ‘What do I really want and how do I go about creating that?‘ It’s totally fine not to know where to start, just remember you need to start doing something different today if you want to see some different results in your life. Also remember that if this one rings true for you, walking your truth and following what makes you shine will rub off on your children. Children always model what we DO rather than what we SAY. So start finding a way of doing your thing now!

If either of these ring true for you, rest assured you’re not alone. The question to ask yourself now is not so much why you got here, but what to do next. If you need some help I’d strongly suggest you dare to ask for it. Because things like this are not always easier to manage on your own. Have a chat with a good friend, your partner or even a coach.

Open up the choices available to you and your family so you can make a decision and get past your turning point in a way you’re proud of.

Can you relate to this? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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  • Life decisions can be do hard to make, particularly if you have small children or elderly parents


  • An interesting article and topic, thanks for sharing.


  • Have experienced all this and now am interstate from my children with an ailing husband and probably facing Alzheimer’s down the track -20 to 30 years is estimated. So what to do, if hubby is no longer my rock because he has died from ?; do I stay near his family who are wonderful or try to assimilate back in to my family who although I see them every year at least once I have been apart from for 30 years, and both parties are going to get someone who will have a problem.
    It’s a dilemma.


  • It’s a bit like moving from state to state constantly because of your or your husband’s job. It is even harder if you have children school age or younger.
    You make new friends in the area, so do your children if you have any, if they are school age you settle them into a school……then work transfers you yet again. If you’re like one family I met, twice when her husband was transferred she was pregnant. On one occasion she stayed with her parents until after the birth of her baby as the country they were transferring to may not have had the facilities needed. It was also to late for her to be allowed to fly. He was in the Military Forces at a base, not in a war zone. I know a family with 4 children who were regularly transferred from state to state with his job. Their children were doing special subjects in high school. They did some research. None of the schools didn’t have all the subjects available that she was doing here in one school. One of the boys had a similar problem. They refused to transfer him back to their home state where the subjects were available at one school. He applied for and got another job with a different company and didn’t have to split their family up. They were later able to transfer to their home state where they had elderly relatives and not have to move again.


  • I was an expat for 10 years, across 5 different countries. It is certainly hard at time… especially starting over. And the longing to be home. I certainly agree that there is a difference between surviving and thriving..


  • This can be applied to expats as well as Aussies here who move interstate. An interesting article.


  • I moved to Australia almost 8 years ago. With my husband and our daughter. We left both our families behind in Europe. I think we made the right choice. I wouldn’t go back! :-) We just have one life and we have to try to do the best we can to live it at the fullest.


  • As with the other recent expat focused article, I find this useful but not really expat specific.


  • My parents emigrated to Australia for a better life. Their parents and siblings chose to remain in the home country. When my brother and I were quite young, we all went back to the home country to see family, but mostly Mum and Dad wanted to see whether they’d made the right decision, and they had. We returned to Australia and one year later Mum and Dad became citizens. They loved this country and were always grateful for all the opportunities Australia gave them.


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