Last night, the fabulous Nicole is the New Black, a fellow expat living in Germany, hosted the Women of Colour Travel Talk (#woctt) on her Twitter account. I follow her on Twitter which is why I was able to watch this discussion despite being so white that I glow in the dark. She asked some really thought provoking questions during this session which I have been thinking about ever since.
1. Have you or would you ever move overseas in pursuit of a romantic relationship?
The vast number of female expats I meet either personally or online fall into this category, so I’ve had a front row seat into the advantages and disadvantages of moving your entire life for love. Some have done this so wonderfully and almost effortlessly that I am in awe of them, however most have considerable problems. All of the unhappiest and disgruntled expats I have met moved to Germany because they fell in love with a German citizen and I’ve often wondered why that is. I’ve come to the conclusion that love alone is a terrible reason to move overseas, especially to a country whose culture and/or language is different to your own. The women who have moved for love and successfully made a life for themselves here are the ones for whom love only made up part of the equation (albeit an important one). They are women who love adventure, who love experiencing and embracing a different way of life and who are able to step out of their comfort zone. They probably would have moved overseas by themselves if the opportunity presented itself. This doesn’t mean the move was easy for these women – far from it, but they have rolled with the punches and rather than mourn the loss of their native culture, they have been determined to find a place for themselves in their new one.
So, would I personally move overseas for love? I’m not sure. It would depend on where I was going and who I was going for/with. I would certainly do a hell of a lot more research than I did when I moved to Germany thanks to an internal company transfer. I still maintain that my move to Germany was my best spontaneous decision ever, but it certainly was not a smart one. I got lucky. But also I didn’t move here for someone else, I moved for myself and that, I believe, made dealing with the not-so-fun parts of adjusting to a foreign country slightly easier to deal with. I want to be here. I am not here solely because the person I love is.
2. Would you relocate overseas with a partner if you weren’t able to work in that country & thus had to be financially dependent on your partner?
This is a fabulous question from Nicole because again so many expats I know (mostly women) moved overseas because their partner found a job there or were transferred. Spousal visas, being what they are, don’t always let the (usually) wife work. Therefore, they have to give up their sometimes very much loved careers to follow their partners overseas. This is not something I think I could cope with and not because I am so in love with my career I couldn’t give it up, but mainly because so much of myself is wrapped up in being able to support myself financially. It would be extremely hard to give that up. Sure, I have fantasies of being able to peruse all my passions free of having to earn a living, but that fantasy usually comes with me suddenly coming into a great deal of money, not being dependent on my partner. My relationship would need to be rock solid before I would even consider such a move.
So, what are your opinions on the above two questions? Did you move overseas for love – and if you did, would you do it again?