As I sit here in front of my laptop, I am brought back to a life that I’ve chosen to put aside until this moment.
This is the same laptop that traveled throughout Europe with us. The same laptop that recorded every single moment of our expat life. The ups and downs and in-betweens. Everything started here. With my feelings flowing and my fingers tapping vigorously on the keyboard.
It’s been 6 long months since I’ve written here and I’ve missed it so much.
But now, we are back.
Surviving Europe, the adventures of Erin and Erin have returned. In addition to the living abroad realizations and European travels, we are ready to share what the ‘after’ living abroad feels like.
When we look out the window and there are no Alps or flower-lined balconies. No fairytale church bells in the distance or castles on a hill. When it takes more than a quick train ride or a walk outside our front door to experience something totally brand new.
For 6 months, we’ve been living back in the USA. After almost 3 years of adventure and self-discovery, we left Austria seeking some time to resettle and focus on our other life goals. Gosh, that was such a hard decision to make.
No matter the reasoning or the logic, nothing makes it easy to say goodbye to something you love with your entire self. But we knew it was time.
So we took a deep breath, focused on the positives of moving back home. Our friends and family, the joy we could share with them. The exciting new life challenges that lie ahead. Being in a comfortable place to settle and start the next phase of our life together.
We left Austria, leaping into a more ’normal’ ‘routine’ life with just as much focus and determination as we moved to Austria with.
After all, it was our decision to move back to the USA. We had to own it and make the very best of it all. So we took a break on the site (I still kept a journal of course), stopped daydreaming (as much as we could help). We sucked it up, embraced our current surroundings and did just that. Looked forward, focused and made the best of it.
And boy, did it pay off.
Right now, we live in a beautiful town outside of Philadelphia. In a house from the 1800s with 2+ acres of land and a creek in the backyard (life goals!).
It’s hard to believe it’s only been 6 months. We sure packed a lot into every second since landing.
After all, in those short 6 months, we:
1) Found the perfect home in a brand new city and state.
2) Emptied 2 storage units
3) Moved everything ourselves (including a washer and couch…that was rough!)
4) Painted (our entire house was initially turquoise!)
5) Furnished all 1800 square feet of our perfect home (after we started with ZERO furniture)
6) Acquired 2 new cars
7) Organized ALL that we had stored and brought back from Austria.
8) Decorated (with all of our European souvenirs and art, of course)
9) AND we are both working full time (…in a routine that took a complete 360)
6 months to create a TOTALLY new world for ourselves.
Doing it all with a smile and as much passion as we started our European adventure with.
Were there VERY difficult moments in these past 6 months? Uh YES!! Are there still difficult moments? For sure. Will there be even more difficult moments in the future? Definitely. It is a process, an emotional rollercoaster, but we’re getting through it all. And it hasn’t slowed us down.
There is no doubt that our determination and perseverance is a direct result of our experience as expats in Austria. Hands down the pre-Austria Erin and Erin could have never handled this major life transition so smoothly.
But we are no longer the pre-Austria Erin and Erin.
We make a decision, we follow through with our whole heart. And we do not give up until we’ve done everything in our power to achieve what we set out to achieve. This is our way of living now.
We didn’t know we’d acquire these skills when we hopped on our 1-way flight to Salzburg 3 years ago. We had no idea what would become of us or how we’d change.
Now, seeing the direct result of the past 3 years, witnessing how we’ve grown, is one of the most rewarding things of all.
Post Expat Life…commence!
So get ready for a WORLD of post expat life. How we dealt with the immediate and drastic change, the good moments and the bad moments of moving back ‘home.’ And our biggest and more useful life lessons learned in the process.
And don’t worry, we are NOT done with Europe yet. We still have 30+ destinations to write about, about a million experiences to share. Every trip was recorded on this laptop, accompanied with about a billion pictures and videos (seriously, husband Erin was out of control with the camera!)
We still want to bring you travel advice and tips, moving abroad inspiration but we also want to take you along on the journey of adjusting back to a more stationary life.
Most will say post expat life is depressing, you feel displaced, in a foreign world that you once called home. All of that is true, but there is no reason you can’t make the best of it and approach each day with eagerness and an open mind.
And just like living abroad, if you maintain that same can-do mindset, you WILL find adventure in your new everyday life. We certainly have.