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Laura Bronner has always wanted to be the old lady that everyone goes to for a good story. You know the one; she has crazy tales of days gone by, of encounters that make you laugh so hard you cry, and has crumbling old photo albums worn from years of page turning. She wants to be that old lady.

So, six years ago she packed her life into a backpack and hopped a one-way flight to New Zealand. She lived there for over a year, and then moved to Australia for two more. The following year was spent in Korea, followed by a string of other homes; Switzerland, England, Mexico City.

With no plans of ever moving back “home”, Laura has become an external expat. So who better, we thought, to interview on the pros and cons of living abroad.

The Pros and Cons of Living Abroad: An Interview With an Eternal Expat

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What do you love the most about travelling?

I love the freedom I get when I’m on the road. I love that all my time is my own to use however I choose. I also really love eating new food.

What inspired you to become an expat?

It sort of happened by accident. I met my boyfriend while studying abroad; he’s from the UK, I’m from the US. We moved to New Zealand so that we could be together.

It was only then that I fell in love with the idea of living in different countries around the world.

What are some of the benefits of living in another country as opposed to visiting for a few days as a tourist?

When you live somewhere you get to know it in a totally different way. You learn what the work-life situation is like, you meet people who grew up in that country, you learn about the hidden secrets.

It becomes a part of you in a way that I’ve never experienced when I simply travel through somewhere.

What are some of your best memories from your time as an expat?

My favorite memories are the ones where I feel like I’m home. I feel this amazing pride when I’m surrounded by new friends, speaking a new language, and enjoying life as though I’ve always lived in this foreign place.

How do you deal with homesickness?

I never really miss “home.” Sure, I miss my family and my friends, but I don’t often feel homesick. Anymore that is. It was a lot harder for me when I was younger.

At 23, I’d never lived more than a few hours from my family and suddenly I was on the other side of the world. I felt so far away. But now I make sure to get home at least once a year and when I miss people, I call them. The technology we have today can be a very powerful thing.

How do you keep in touch with friends and family back home?

Emails and Whatsapp texts are the best way to keep in touch with family and friends on a daily basis.

What are your tips for settling into life in a new country?

The most important thing for me is to meet people who live there. Whether that’s locals or other expats. Making friends makes a transition to a new city so much easier.

They can show you the best places to eat, explain the cultural norms, and they can keep you from feeling so lonely in those first scary few months.

What are some of the challenges of living in another country?

Sometimes there are days where you feel completely isolated. It’s hard to make friends, it’s hard to begin to understand the customs, it’s hard to learn a new language.

There are days when you come home exhausted from trying to do simple things like buy groceries or go clothes shopping.

How do you deal with the logistics? Ie visas, housing, bank accounts, jobs etc?

I’ve quite been lucky, and for the last two countries I’ve moved to, either mine or my boyfriend’s jobs have sorted out the majority of that stuff. For instance when I taught English in Korea I arrived to a job and a fully furnished apartment. My boss helped me sort out a bank account.

The hardest places I’ve moved to logistically have been New Zealand and Australia. The visas were pretty straight forward, simple online applications. On both occasions I stayed in a hostel for a few weeks until I found a place to live and a job. Bank accounts were easy to get once we had our visas – you do it just as you would in your own country.

I think it always seems like it’s going to be hard to start again, to sort our getting a job and setting up a life. But it’s actually a lot easier than you think it will be.

How do you deal with culture shock?

Having expat friends has always been a helpful way for me to handle culture shock. When you have people who have lived in the country and know what makes it different to your own culture, they are an incredible resource.

I think the biggest culture shock I experienced was the workplace in Korea. It was completely different to any workplace I’ve ever experienced before and it took a lot of time (and patience) to get used to it.

Three things you can’t travel without?

My camera, my journal, and my Kindle.

Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve been dreaming of traveling South America for a really long time. Now that we’re living in Mexico, I’m hoping to make some trips down that way over the next year.

Can you see yourself returning home anytime soon?

Not to live. Every time I go back to visit, it feels less and less like home.

Most practical piece of advice for those planning to move abroad?

Do your research, talk to people who have done it, then just go. You’ll never be able to plan it all, never be able to have it all under control before making the move, so do as much as you can then just do it.

Why should people leave home and become an expat?

It’s not for everyone. There are days when I wonder if I made the right choice, but I’m happiest when I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, when I’m meeting new people and seeing new places.

If you love traveling, but still want to have a home base, being an expat is the best of both worlds.


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Laura is a perpetual country hopper. She’s the girl whose feet are always itching for the next adventure, but wondering if she’ll ever find a place that feels like home.  In the last seven years she has lived in Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, England, and now calls Mexico City home.

Read more of her expat antics on her blog Eternal Expat, and follow along on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.


  1. I love that you asked about the logistical side of things too. Living abroad can be scary at first but knowing where to start when it comes to the basics can really help. Interesting read!

    • It can definitely be scary, Sally! I’m glad you found it helpful :)

  2. Great Interview! I myself am on my way to becoming an forever expat. I’m living in Germany right now and I think our next stop is Kenya or the U.K! Posts like this help me find comfort that I am not alone and inspire me to keep pushing myself!

    • I would love to live in Germany – maybe one day! I’m glad I could inspire!

  3. Really enjoyed reading this, as I have always dreamed about making a more permanent move abroad. I like the bit about it happening by accident. It just shows that you never know what’s around the corner. An exciting thought!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading! I hope you get the chance to enjoy life abroad one day – it’s a truly magical experience!

  4. I completely understand! Just because I was born in a specific country (the US) does not mean that is where I want to live. I loved living “abroad” and exploring new parts of the world.

    • I totally agree with you, Jen! The world is a big place, why should we only live in one place?

  5. love this post. I am an expat myself and I have lived in Crete Greece for almost 18 years now and love it. I and my partner just sold our house packed up and moved . We have no regrets and still keep busy.I with my archaeology and learning new language anmd my partner breeds birds. No intention of going back.

    • I would love to visit Greece! It must be so wonderful to live there – what a great experience!

  6. This post resonates with me. I have been an expat for a long time, and eventually I moved back to my home country. Now after a few years I’d like to move overseas again. The thing is that the older you are the worse it gets with living abroad. Most countries have an age limit for expats visa, which is usually 50.

    • I had no idea that countries have an age limit on expat visas Michela – 50 seems quite young to me considering that quite a lot of people these days are now living until 80, 90 or even 100. Seems wrong to exclude expats based on age :(

  7. I love reading interviews like this, since I too have lived abroad for many years. I agree that meeting people who live there really make a big difference no matter where you are living. I usually only get homesick the first few days, but then after that it just disappears :)

    • Thanks Candy! Totally agree, I’ve found one of the biggest keys to settling into a new place is setting up a support system and making new friends – it’s a lot harder to pine after home when you have wonderful and exciting things happening to take your mind off it :)

  8. What an amazing lady. I am sure it requires a lot of courage. But then traveling is like that. Once you have the bug then thats that :)

    • Pretty much! I think it requires a lot of courage when making the jump into a new lifestyle at the start, but after that it becomes addictive… as you said, once you have the bug, that’s it!!

  9. Homesick is rare – only for poutine haha only the best can be found back home. But quite same, I don’t feel real homesickness, only miss family and friends!

    • I’m very grateful for the technology we have in that regard – it’s so easy to Skype and video chat now where-ever we are in the world :) And I’m always homesick for Vegemite and Tim Tams being from Aus lol

  10. More people can live abroad than ever before, it’s still just not a common path. It’s good to have interviews like this so others can get some insight into the life.

    • It is interesting that it’s not an overly common thing even though living abroad is an experience which anyone these days could do. Glad to provide some insight with our interviews which will hopefully inspire others if it’s something they want to pursue :)

  11. Loved reading about Laura. I totally feel the same about missing people back home and not home per say. In my year living as an expat in Indonesia, I learnt so much and made a ton of friends, its such a lovely experience.

    • So glad you enjoyed the interview Jo, and that you had a wonderful year as an expat too :) I’ve also found that home is usually defined by the people we are close to :)

  12. Living the dream! I’d like to move into being an eternal expat for a little bit, at least while I’m in my 20s and single. I like how she does it too– moving to different countries and creating a little, temporary homebase! Dying to visit New Zealand.

    • I agree! I think it’s so smart to set yourself up in a country for a year or two, and be able to fully immerse yourself in the culture and discover parts that 3 or 4 day tourists don’t get to :)

      Highly recommend the experience if you’re thinking about it Samantha … feel free to touch base with either Laura or myself for any tips if you want to XX

  13. Interesting read about the pros and cons of being an expat! It sounds like such a luxurious life but I guess you do need to consider the practicalities as well. Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Sally! The practicalities of setting up life in a new country should definitely be considered, because it’s not all luxury all the time … but if you’re weighing up the pros and cons I think the pros definitely win here :)

      Happy travels! X

  14. Such an interesting article!
    Thanks you for sharing this.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Stephanie :) Happy travels X

  15. Love this. Great read. Inspiring :-)

    • Thanks Rebecca :) Glad you enjoyed the interview!

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