Monday 17 June 2013

The expat on holiday

Being an expat on holiday rarely involves actually being on holiday. The guilt of booking a trip to another country other than where they live or their home country, is too much to bare, plus there is never any money left for a holiday after the annual trip home.

Many expats find themselves in a similar situation when they return 'home' for a visit. They are expected to 'do the rounds' and see everyone. Despite family and friends saying 'no pressure, we understand' there is still the pressure, even if it's self imposed, to fit everyone in with a decent amount of time, it can be done, but the expat returns and needs a holiday despite having travelled 100's, 1000's of miles on holiday in the first place.

I hear expats talking about renting a cottage and inviting family and friends to come visit them, but not everyone is on holiday and it becomes a complicated process trying to juggle dates and avoid double booking.

The trouble is that when you become an expat you become everyone's favourite holiday destination, but you're not on holiday yourself and you end up needing a holiday after your visitors return. You're expected to show them the sights, act as tour guide, provide all the information they need.

But when the expat returns to their home country, it isn't any different. Whether you travel around visiting everyone or everyone visits you, the expat is till expected to be the host, entertain, share knowledge, tell stories of their lives as everyone else thinks their own lives are boring and they have nothing to share, but for an expat, hearing tales from the homeland, really does help. After all an expats life isn't exciting to the expat, it's the same/new stuff, just a different country.

This years expat visit home

As an expat who returns to the 'home country' twice a year, whose husband returns twice a year (on separate occasions) with kids flying back once a year, I think we have maximised our family and friend time to the limit. As a family we have different needs and although everyone offers us their spare room, which is often the sofa, it's not really practical for 2 adults to stay in the same place. Hubby is a little fortunate as in his trips coincide with business so he can pop in and out and only has to spend the weekends in spare rooms or on sofas. For me I rely on the generosity of friends. I try not to spend anymore than 2 nights in each place, although I know I'd be welcome to stay longer I don't want to inconvenience anyone. I'm on my 4th week in the UK, so far I've stayed with family and friends in Cornwall, Devon, Bath, Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye. Driven backwards and forwards to Gloucester and Malvern to visit the kids and solicitors. In total clocking up 1,400 miles.
I've given up on the car now, I'm now train travelling. I'm currently in Leeds visiting my son, then it's off to St Albans and into London, ending up with #britmumslive conference and then train back to Newport. The remaining two weeks will be spent carrying out repairs to our home that we rent out, as long as our tenants have moved out by then, despite currently ignoring a court order to do so.
I'll be back again in September to settle 14yo into his boarding school for up to 2 weeks. Hubby is travelling with me, we shall rent a car, rent accommodation and just tell people where we are, hand out phone numbers, it'll be up to them to make arrangements whether it's by visiting us, us to them or meeting out.

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