How do you pick up the threads of a past life? (Kudos if you guess who I just quoted.) Every time I go back to Scotland, I feel like I have changed immensely and experienced a hundred million things that I can't explain to people as it sounds like boasting - but everyone else is ticking along nicely and hasn't changed. Every city and culture has its own speed, of course, as does every person, but it's hard to adapt back to my original climate and culture. Why is it so bleeding cold?!
In some ways, it's a more difficult culture shock because I feel like I'm regressing. I've already been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
My parents were expats. I've now spent over half my life abroad (yikes) and I probably have a different perspective and attitude to someone who has spent their whole life in one place. I crave adventure, new experiences and fear complacency. The idea of living in the suburbs of some dreary town and going to Tenerife on holiday once a year is my idea of hell.
So why the hell am I going home?
It's a decision that is mystifying a lot of people. I've been in a tax-free, sunny and fast developing city state for years now, which has afforded me lots of opportunities. I've travelled all over the world (mostly on other people's dime) and had some career highs - I got my own magazine age 25.
But I'm bored now. I've outgrown this place and overstayed. It has a lot of downsides and they have all overwhelmed me. It's stressful and oppressive at times. It's not the place to live in long-term and a lot of my friends have left.
I also wanted to go back to the UK as I can't get a mortgage and therefore a house if I'm not a resident. But I can't get a mortgage as a resident without an income aka a job.
So age 27, after visa issues and a redundancy I am giving up the expat dream (which has taken a turn into nightmare) to move in with my parents and look for a job in the small economy of Scotland.
I'm in a good position to do so after living fairly frugally and have some savings (which is going in its entirety towards a deposit) and no debt (thank you, Scottish university system). But I won't have any income until I get a full-time job - and who knows how long that will take? And I am very wary of spending my hard-earned savings as I need that for the deposit...
Also, after working like a devil for years and not taking holidays, I am a little burnt out. I'm planning a nice holiday with my boyfriend before I leave the continent (I'm also going to be navigating a long-distance relationship) and I want to take some time off to travel to places with friends I've barely seen for years and volunteer and do some language classes...but I also don't have any income.
I don't exactly know how I'm going to manage this. But I do know that I feel (and in some ways have always felt) like an expat in my native country.