travel

The Magic of Being an Expat

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I've been reading Sarah's blog for a couple of months now and only recently gathered up the courage to email her and say hello. I love how vulnerable and upbeat Sarah's writing is, and from my experience of living in France I could entirely relate to her posts that talked about being an expat. Today she's taking over Spikes and Stardust to talk about the magic of being an expat.

Hello, Spikes and Stardust readers! My name’s Sarah and my blog, The Laughing Medusa, is an adventure guide for urban pixies. I’m Canadian by birth but last October I packed two suitcases and moved across the Atlantic to try out life in jolly ol’ England. The lovely Indigo has let me take over the reins here today to talk about the magic of being an expat.

It’s interesting to think about how many incarnations I’ve been through already in my life. Depending on when someone met me, they probably have very different ideas about who I am as a person.

And when I say I believe in magic, that’s what it comes down to: The freedom we have to create our lives. To shape ourselves into the people we want to be.

Of course we all have different limitations that we’re working with, but we’re never stuck with what we’ve got.

It wasn’t that long ago that my life was ruled by shoulds.

I should always have a certain amount of money in the bank.

I should sacrifice my other dreams to graduate at the top of my class.

I should find a job to pay the bills.

I should play it safe.

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But through a series of choices led by my heart rather than those guilt-inducing shoulds, things slowly started to shift. Now I barely recognize the thinking of that girl I was before.

Perhaps more than anything else, moving to London has shown me how truly magical life is.

I didn’t step off that plane and become a different person. But it solidified a deep understanding that my choices cast spells and create who I am.

The magic of being an expat is two-fold.

First, when you move away from everything that’s secure and familiar, you release yourself from the expectations of people who think that you’ll continue along the same old path forever. You give yourself the freedom to take risks and experiment with new ways of thinking, dressing, doing.

Secondly, you’ve already taken a massive risk and proven how brave you are, that you’re capable of making things happen. You know what you’re capable of, so you’re less likely to hesitate the next time a wild and wonderful dream dances into your mind.

Even before I had a plane ticket, my decision to move was inspiring me to make other changes in my life. I had a certain vision of what my life in London would be like and I wanted to really embody the kind of person who would live that sort of life. I started saying yes more often. I sought out adventure. I became more playful with the way that I dress. I stopped letting the fear that I wouldn’t be good at something get in the way of my desire to do it.

I used to be a bit of a neasayer. I had a million reasons why my dreams were unattainable. 

Becoming an expat has opened up my world.

I’m filled with this overwhelming love for the city where I live and the more I go out and reap the opportunities London offers, the more magical my life becomes.

And I share a little bit of this adventure each week in my Expat Diaries series. I do hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

Top photograph by Katherine Rothman

Explorations in Santorini

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The last leg of my time in Greece was mostly spent in transit, wandering from one village to another and trying to soak up as much of the culture as I could before leaving. My friend and I moved to our second lodging in Kamari, a beachside town that was mostly shut down. It was incredibly quiet and peaceful, and the few places that were open couldn't compare to the Black Beach that Kamari is famous for.

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I was so thankful to be able to experience it without the swarm of tourists, to just see black sand and blue waves stretching uninterrupted into eternity. We arrived at the beach around dusk and the setting sun cast such a pure blue light over everything, amplifying the already vivid blue of the ocean.

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Exploring Kamari with such a blue light was magical in its own right, and it seemed to be reminiscent of a movie or television set to me -- how everything was composed, how the light made the mundane infinitely mysterious.

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There were a couple of little super markets in Kamari, but this one was different because it seemed to have a restaurant above.

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I also spent a fair bit of time in Thira, which is the capitol of Santorini. It was by far the busiest, most alive village in the island, and took my breath away yet again. In Thira is where I had my first, and sadly my only, gyro in Greece -- did you know they put french fries inside? I was not expecting that, but it was quite delicious.

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While wandering I came across this store with my name as its own and I wish it had been open so I could see just what Indigo sold.

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On the main street there was a café with benches just outside of it and I would sit 0n them, with this guy as my view and companion, to steal the free wifi and call my parents and gush about Greece.

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On my last day in Greece I ended back in Oia, paid one last visit to Atlantis Books and took in the oceanic views. Looking at these photographs makes me want to jump on a plane and go back, just for one more day.

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Bonjour From Angers!

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As I write this post it is 9:07p local time in Angers -- pronounced "An-jay", while my body thinks it's 1:07p like I'm still in Austin, I've been up for nearly 48 hours straight or something crazy like that, and I'm settling into my new home for the next four months. This semester I'm studying abroad in Angers, France, and I am SO EXCITED, especially as I am now actually here?! Which still seems kind of crazy, if you ask me.

So, what does this mean for things around here? Not a whole lot! Around Austin will become Around Angers while I'm staying here, I'm still going to post five times a week, and I'll be taking all of you on this journey with me! All of my Angers/travel specific posts will be tagged with "An Austinite Abroad" (as well as my instagram photos from this trip!)

I'm so beyond thrilled to have this opportunity, and to be able to share it with all of you magical babes.