25 Reasons You Should Live Abroad At Least Once In Your Life (Or Travel More)

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25 reasons why everyone should travel more or live abroad at least once in their lives

If you want to travel more, live abroad or do a gap year overseas but you’re not sure it’s the right move for you, here are 25 fabulous reasons why you should just do it.

25 ways which travelling and living abroad will affect you

I think everyone should try to live abroad at least once in their lives. If living abroad is not in the cards for you than travelling for an extended period beyond the two-week vacation is a close second. Heard of slow travelling?

Our lives are defined by experiences. The greater the number of experiences, the better our lives become. Travel is one of many ways you can get the most variety in your life experiences and suck the marrow out of life.

I was fortunate enough to have been born into a multicultural family who also did a lot of travelling. I also left home at 18 to live in Japan for over three years, where I taught English and did various jobs, including modeling and hostessing. Now, as a wife and mother of 3, I’m living in France with my family.

Needless to say, I love travelling and recommend it for what ails you. I could probably think of hundreds of reasons why everyone should make travel a priority and try to live abroad at least once in their lives. But let’s first start with these 25 reasons which I think might resonate with you the most.

pintrest pin about 25 reasons live abroad atleast once in life

1- Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacation

Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacationI used to get so stressed out during our family’s 2-week annual vacation because it felt like a race to jam everything there was to do into those two weeks no matter what the cost. The kids were cranky, I was grumpy, and we fed on each other’s crankiness.

Living abroad or slow travelling can remove or reduce that stressful element of travel by allowing you to take your time- if you have children, then this can reduce a considerable amount of stress.

2-Living abroad is not as expensive as you think

how much does it cost to live in France for one year?

Living abroad is cheaper than you think and costs a whole hell of a lot less than your average annual vacation. When you travel for extended periods or live abroad, you get to rent a house ( cheaper than a hotel room), cook at home because you have a kitchen, do things during off-peak travel and do the lesser-known non-touristy things that are way cooler in my book and cost less.

See also: How much does it cost to live in France for one year

3-Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullest

Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullestYou know how you go on vacation and try to cram in as much as you can because you only have seven days to do it all and you don’t know if you’ll ever be back? Living abroad is kind of like that but less manic and rushed.

Suddenly, because of time restraints and the newness of the place you are in, your eyes are open to all that life has to offer. You’re more inclined to take advantage of it all. Too bad most of us don’t feel so inclined when we return home.

Living abroad also means you can’t live on autopilot anymore simply because everything is so different, foreign and new. As a result, you need to make more conscious and deliberate choices about your life and your daily routine. It can be a bit stressful to step out of your routine and comfort zone but shaking things up has its rewards. It gives you new experiences and can help you grow as a person. You might even learn something about yourself.

4- You’ll get to view your culture from another countries perspective

traveling has taught me that McDonalds is ruining the world and the American image

Living abroad gives you the perspective of another culture about your home country. For instance, if you’re American, you may be surprised to learn that many people in France would love to live in America. You may also be surprised to learn how your home country is negatively viewed abroad. Did you know that most of the world thinks all Americans love McDonald’s and are obese?

See also: Do the French eat McDonald’s: Fastfood in France.

5- You’ll get a different, broader view of the world


You already knew that other countries have different cultures, but until you experience that other culture first hand, you will never truly understand what that means. Once you do, you may see the world in a whole new light.

6- Travelling is not the cure to your life’s problems. You can’t escape them


If you want to move abroad or travel to escape your problems, you’ll be extremely disappointed because unless you get to the root of your problems and try to solve them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth or be waiting for you once you return home.

7-Travelling makes you appreciate home

traveling makes you appreciate the comforts of home

It’s natural to take things for granted. When we’re at home, we dream of escaping off to some adventure; however, we often forget to notice the comforts and beauties of home all around us. It’s often not until we are away, seeing home from the other side that we begin to appreciate it. Travel can give you the distance you need. You may even start to appreciate the routine of your life that you thought you wanted to get away from.

8-You may realize you don’t need as much crap as you think you need to be happy

traveling has taught me that You Don’t Need As Much As You Think You Need To Be Happy

Travel inherently opposes materialism and consumerism. After all, you can only put so much in your luggage or backpacks.  It can be hard at first to be away from all the stuff you bought and own, and you’ll miss certain things from home, but after a while, you’ll get used to living with less until finally, you realize, you don’t need as much crap as you thought you did to be happy. It is quite liberating.

9-You learn what is truly important in life and what makes you happy

You learn what is truly important in life and what really makes you happyJust as living without things makes you realize you don’t need the things you thought you once needed, being away from your life can help you discover what is truly important to you. Maybe climbing that corporate career ladder is not what you wanted after all. Maybe being away from your friends and family makes you realize how important they are to you. Or perhaps the time you spend abroad makes you learn something new about yourself that surprises you.

10- You learn to make do with what you have

Traveling and Living Abroad as a a family has taught me: to make Do With What I Have.

You can only pack so much and buy so much when you travel. The same is true if you spend a year abroad someplace.  Who wants to lug around extra stuff or pay expensive fees for shipping things back home. You end up learning to make do with what you have and buying only what you really, truly need.

11)- You’re kids will get to go to school in another country

You're kids will get to go to school in another country

Mainstreaming your kids in school while living in another country is probably one of the fastest ways for them to adjust to local life. It’s also a wonderful experience for them, not to mention an excellent way for them to make new international friends.

See Also: Preschool in France- what’s it like?

12-You have the chance to learn a language well or become bilingual

If you live abroad You have the chance to learn a language really well or become bilingual

See also: Will I be bilingual if I live abroad?

13- Travelling as a couple can make or break you- It can test you too

Travelling as a couple can make or break youTravelling long-term as a couple means spending almost everyday all day together.  You need to align your goals, your focus and connect on a daily basis with the other person. All this constant togetherness can lead to some head-butting.  You want to see all the museums and the other person wants to lay at the beach all day. You may want to get up early to see the sights while the other person wants to party all night. You want to live abroad while the other person just wants to go back to their small hometown.

14- You’ll learn that you can accomplish more than you think

Living abroad will help you discover that you can accomplish more than you think

 Bodies in motion stay in motion. It’s just the nature of travel to do and try new things you wouldn’t normally do at home. You might try escargot, train for a marathon or go spelunking in a cave for the first time. All these new experiences stretch and test your limits pushing you further beyond what you thought you could ever accomplish. It’s a snowball effect, and you’ll never want to stop because it’s so satisfying.

See also: Spotted Dick: 10 traditional British foods you will either love or hate

15- Getting lost can get you places you didn’t think you would find

You'll get lost when you travel and land in the most wonderful placesWhen you’re in a new place and new surroundings, it’s only natural that you might get lost once in a while. Getting lost is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can land you somewhere unexpected and wonderful. Just make sure you have GPS to get back **wink wink**

16- Travel or living abroad can recharge your batteries and give you a new lease on life


Between your busy work schedule and hectic life, your daily routine can become all-consuming and automatic-a series of unconscious acts that happen without even thinking. Each new day begins to look like the previous day. That’s a rut, isn’t it? A year abroad can give you perspective. It can give you the time you need to recharge your batteries.

17- You learn to appreciate your family more (hopefully)

travelling has taught me more about my family
Two things can happen when you travel with your family. You’ll either learn to appreciate them, or they’ll start to annoy you. One of the things I have noticed about living abroad is we tend to spend more time together which is great in many respects but at the same time, spending too much time together can be stressful too. The important thing is to seek a balance between together time and alone time.

18- You may learn it’s ok to question the culture you were brought up in


19- What you thought was an authentic recipe is not authentic

What you thought was an authentic recipe is not really authenticThat local Chinese joint is probably not serving you up authentic Chinese food. That expensive French restaurant you like to eat at is not really how French people eat in France. Guess what, you’re getting localized versions of food from around the world which is fine. But if you want to try authentic anything, you almost need to go to that country or know someone from that country who can cook it for you.

20- Time is precious: Make the most of your time

Don't wast time. use every moment to do something funWhen travelling or living abroad, every minute counts. You have a sense that your time is limited so naturally, you try to make the most of it. Even when you are at a bus stop waiting for the next bus, you can do something together. Break out that hacky sack.

21- Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let it

Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let it

Often, we are lost in our thoughts somewhere- anywhere but where you actually are now. Seldom are we fully here, living in the moment. We’re struggling with something that happened in the past or fearful and anxious about the future. Travelling can inherently help you be more present, in the moment and enjoy life as it is happening if you let it, but you still need to take conscious steps to truly enjoy life as it is happening. Learn to live with less, smile more and forgive past hurts,

See also: 10 steps to living in the moment

22- Sometimes you need to see it rather than read or hear about it

A Day at the Berlin Wall near Warschauer Strasse Station: Travel can be educational for you and your kids

(photo source: Catherine on Blake’s shoulders writing on the Berlin Wall :very concerned about the survivors of the Holocaust.)

Some things are worth experiencing first hand, rather than through photos or books. When we stayed in Berlin, Germany, the kids saw the remnants of the Berlin wall, contemplated what it was like to live through the holocaust and stood on the same soil where people were shot.  They showed no previous interest in these things prior but being there touched them in a way and expanded their minds in a way they could not comprehend.

23- You might adopt new customs that you didn’t know you would love

You might adopt new customs that you didn't know you would loveLiving abroad can introduce new ways of doing things which you might not have otherwise tried.  Some of the customs we as a family have adopted while living in France are: eating more like the French in terms of quantity and time schedule. Going more often to the market to get fresh produce because our refrigerator is smaller than the massive American one we had back home. Your experiences will be different, of course, depending on where you are, how long you stay, and who you travel with.

See also: 10 Reasons Why You should Travel With Your Kids Even If They Won’t Remember

24- You will love living like a local and not a tourist

You will love living like a local and not a tourist

Travelling as a tourist is great but living somewhere like a local is sooo sooo sooo much more satisfying. The longer you stay, the more friends you make. The more culturally authentic things you will try to experience beyond what tourists do. You’ll get a sense of the daily rhythms and more.

25- For the stories and the hell of it

tell-stories for the hell of it

There are thousands of people out there (right now) who are backpacking around the world, living nomadic-ally, taking a family sabbatical abroad or zig-zagging the continent in an RV: with and without kids.

They are ordinary people like you who decided to live a little unconventionally. To make it happen, some have saved for years. Others sold their house and their possessions while still others work while on the road or some other combination. You can read about some of them here.

Here are other lessons learned by the following travellers

Ramble Crunch-  15 lessons I’ve learned traveling the world.

Four Jandles  50 lessons learned from travelling the world.

Raising Miro 12 simple principles for a happy life on (or off) the road

Bohemian Travelers:  Travel Lessons: Can You Embrace the Unknown

Edventure Project – American Thanksgiving: 22 things we are thankful for

The Nomadic Family: I Know Nothing (and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me)

Peace On Earth: 5 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling

Travel with Bender: So it’s been 6 Months – You won’t believe what we have learned!

Life Changing Year: Life Lessons From The Road – A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Loooong Way!

Living Outside of the Box: 6 Life Lessons From the Road (why 6? I have no idea!)

Flashpacker Family: Lessons From the Road of Life

Grow in Grace Life: By Any Road..Lessons from the Journey

Our Travel Lifestyle: Travel: Teaching us about ourselves

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  1. Wow what a great read. Certainly gives you inspiration and hope to travel with my future family :)

  2. Hi
    Your point about McDonald’s couldn’t agree more but it is not only America. It is all over the world what ever town you go to in any country and there is McDonald’s . I cannot eat the stuff just makes me feel bad with a capital B

    Loved the other points though thanks lee

    1. You are absolutely right. It’s not only America. I remember McDonalds being in Japan years ago and here in France McDonalds is everywhere now but, my point was that Mcdonalds was started in the US. I asked what a french person thought of Americans and Canadians and he said They eat too much McDonalds. LoL. I have not eaten a McDonalds in over a decade and my daughter has never eaten at McDonalds. But sadly many people do..

  3. Hey Annie,

    I love the lessons you have here. I honestly don’t think I could add any more things to your list about lessons from traveling. One huge lesson I’ve learned recently is just how cheaply you can travel if you do it for long periods of time. Staying in Casablanca has been extremely cheap for me. To be fair, the school pays for my housing and school lunch so I just pay for entertainment and food outside of school. But even then I don’t pay for much at all. I eat at home a lot which is extremely cheap and I walk most places. Back in the US, having a car is essential and I’m really glad to just be rid of it since I’d just rather not own one at all.


    1. Steve,
      I agree. Living without a car has made our lives much less costly and stressfull. We tend to walk alot and plan our trips around bus and train schedules. You just make due. On the other hand, i can’t run out to the store whenever I want but that’s ok because that just means each trip i make is super efficient and i get just what i need. The last thing i want is to forget something crucial and have to get back on the train or walk a mile to get what i forgot.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hoping for some photos of Morocco soon..

  4. Hi Annie

    Your list is something I can really relate to. Not so much from travelling but from giving up work to look after the kids. Many of the items on your list ring true to how our lives changed after that.

    Oh and we don’t have a dryer! I hang the washing up. Dryers eat electricity. Although it would be nice to have one maybe with all the washing we get through :-)

    Have a great week Annie


  5. Hi Annie

    Very rightly said that travelling opens our mind, but its more of a personal choice. I would prefer spending my time either on my laptop and the remaining with my husband, who I feel is the best in the world and with my daughter at home.

    Word “travel” brings a feeling of tiredness in me, I don’t know whether it is the upbringing or something else.

    All Said, your daughter is of the same age as mine, very sweet. Thanks ~Sapna

    1. Hello Sapna,

      I completely understand your point of view. I know some people who love to knit. I hate knitting and it makes me cranky so i don’t do it.

      Travelling is the same thing. It’s not for everyone. If you enjoy it, it can certainly bring out so many things in you. However, if you don’t enjoy it, if it tires you or stresses you out then it will bring out the worst. We should all choose those experiences that bring us joy. Sounds like you’re already doing just that.

  6. Hi Annie,

    Fantastic post and by the way, your pictures are gorgeous too.

    When I was younger I wasn’t nearly enough appreciative of what I had. I tended to take everything for granted. Now, however, I’m like you, I am grateful for every little thing. Things I wouldn’t even thought about back then.

    I agree travel teach you a lot and I think every one should live abroad at least for a little while in their life. It opens the mind in ways that people who have not done it, have no idea :)

    Thanks for this beautiful post!

    1. Hi Svlviane,
      You know the old saying, “you don’t know what you dont’t know?”. I think as you said, traveling does open up your mind in ways you never knew possible. I’ve traveled a lot in my life but never with my family long term like this and i’m still learning things.

      Thank you for the compliment on the photos. I’m trying to improve my photographing techniques but it’s a slow process.

  7. Fabulous list and great lessons Annie! I know that with you living in France then you are able to really put things into perspective.

    You know, I don’t have much but that’s a choice I made. It’s not that I can’t afford more but to me they are just “things”. Things aren’t what make me happy. My friendships and my family are on the top of my list.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us for this Thanksgiving week. We can all learn from these lessons.

    Enjoy your weekend my lovely friend.


    1. aaahh thanks Adrienne,

      I love that you it’s a choice for you to live with less. Focus on people and experiences over things and objects.

  8. Loved the lessons Annie!

    You are truly blessed to have such a beautiful family, and your little daughter is adorable indeed and reminds me of mine when she was that young. :)

    These are such wonderful things to be grateful for, and I agree with all of them. Yes, we really can manage and do with a little, though we tend to spend more. We realize this fact when we stop buying things we really don’t need and find ourselves as content and happy. We also hardly spend, except where it’s necessary, unless of course if there are certain occasions, functions, or birthdays.

    Also, though we don’t travel and live out of our country like you do, we do make frequent trips within our country to various places, and those are indeed moments of bliss for all of us, but we do miss home too.

    Ah…you last one on he best husband – well – mine is good too, and I feel he is the best one, though we won’t talk of that here. :)

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post with amazing pictures of your loved ones with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours too. :)

    1. Harleena,

      LOL, I am sure your hubby is quite the catch too.

      i can totally relate to your moments of bliss from your frequent trips within the country. That connection that you feel with one another which you should feel all the time but cannot because you daily life is so busy and hectic.

      thank you for the kind words about my daughter. I do love having a little girl. Especially after two boys who are now both teenagers.

  9. These are great lessons Annie! I especially love the ones focused on the importance of date night, space & time along for yourself and about travel deepening your connection to each other.

    1. Thank You Bethany, the deepening connection we feel with each other was something I did not expect. I still need more date nights. Cannot have enough of those.

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