Saturday, October 4, 2008

That Other Suitcase

One of the advantages of being an expat is that you get to leave everything behind in your home country.

I say advantage because let us just pretend that in your home country you had enemies, debt stalkers and other such negative aspects of life.

Of course leaving everything behind from your home country is also a disadvantage because you leave all your family back there and also everything that is generally familiar.

Yet there is actually a catch to all this. It may be seen that escapism is a part of being an expat. One may mentally start to believe that all their psychological issues with the world and themselves somehow stay put at the airport.

This is not so. When you travel anywhere, whether it be a two week vacation to Tiki Island or to live and work in another country, you bring with you not just your possessions but an extra suitcase.

Within this luggage is all your emotional and psychological issues. The stuff that I would say makes us human.

For some the contents of this luggage can fit in a small carry on bag. Yet for others, like myself, the contents fits into an oversized check-in bag.

When you first arrive at your destination you set this bag down and don't really unpack it for some time. But then, after the dust has settled, the contents start to emerge.

Soon you see yourself opening this bag and the contents taking over the everyday thoughts of your life. Issues such as the path of your career, family matters, past relationships and that one incident that happened back in middle school.

And again life seems to become no longer this utopia of change and escapism. Instead you feel you are back where you started.

The truth is that no matter how far away you get from the sources of your troubles, you always carry with you this luggage.

It is not something to dwell upon, but rather to realize that these are the things in your life that can change who you are, make you grow and help you become wise.

I am saying all this because of course I have this luggage. And I thought it was important to share this abstract thought of mine to other travelers. I know that many other people handle the issues in their life with positivity and grace. For others it is the kind of stuff that makes you get the blues.

In general although I leave deep personal expressions out of my blog, I am still human.

Also, I have noticed that being an outsider in another country and being an expat I can often come face to face with the stuff that has made me me.

So if you are an expat out there and from time to time you contemplate the stuff in your life, just think that it is the other piece of luggage you brought with you.

And if that luggage was carry-on size, well then be really thankful!


  1. This is usually termed "baggage".
    "Emotional baggage".
    So once it's unpacked, then what?
    Stuff it back in & move on to the next place, where it will unload itself again?
    At some point admitting that help is needed w/this stuff isn't defeat......sometimes we just have to surrender to win!

  2. my point was that you take it out and deal with it. But in general it never really goes away.

    Also that some think you can escape your troubles in life but they go with you.

  3. "It" can really go away if dealt w/successfully.
    YES...go away & never come back!
    Troubles go w/u til the above occurs.
    Now...the question does one deal w/them successfully?

    I contend that at times people need some help from someone who knows how to guide us through that problem solving process.

  4. Agree with M (Mom?). Baggage can be unpacked and left behind. You can't "run away" from your troubles, but you can run away to deal with them, and then leave them behind. Your emotional baggage isn't something you're saddled with for life.

  5. Yup.... M = Mom
    Hopefully Joy will unpack somewhere comfortable & make progress leaving whatever it is behind once & for all!

    Takes courage which I know Joy has...& willingness.
    That's the key. Willingness.


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