This is what people won’t tell you about moving abroad

So instead of treating your twenties as an extended period of adolescence, do something constructive.

In January 2015 Sharon was twenty-nine and NOT living the life of her dreams. In her early twenties she decided to move abroad to study. Little did she realise that her initial short-term overseas adventure would turn into a long journey and cross-country hopping.

This added a completely new dimension to her life: the feeling of displacement.

Sharon was desperate to share Meg Jay’s lecture with me. I was of a similar age and my life was pretty much displaced, too. We were in the same boat: the defining decade of our lives was almost over and not necessarily an example to be followed by other twenty-somethings.

In my early twenties I had already lived in 3.5 countries

Poland, Germany, England and Scotland (the two UK countries get the total of 1.5 ;) )

Worst of all, though, I had no clue where I wanted to live.

Before I moved back home I had been working for almost five years in London, the city of my dreams. I was a working professional in a world capital and life couldn’t have been more exciting and eventful. Still, I was unhappy as an immigrant and as a human being.

The view of Tower Bridge, much as I loved it, wasn’t enough to keep me in London. I wanted out.

The evolution of a young person’s character brought about by their relocation abroad

I was interested in the role of mobility in their later life. It may seem straightforward to pack a suitcase and relocate to a different country. The real challenge, though, quite often begins when it’s time to unpack the same suitcase back in one’s home country.

Whether you’re an Erasmus student, economic migrant, EU expat worker, American in the Eastern Hemisphere or a compulsive traveller, you’re bound to experience some sort of displacement. You may be trying to redefine your life purpose to find a place you could call ‘home’.

Currently tens of my internationally-relocated friends are wondering how to pull themselves together and settle down to a normal life, whatever normal means in this context.

Displacement used to be my chronic ailment

At some point I lost faith that things would ever fall into place. I felt stuck in my meaningless life of a vagabond that I began to curse. Then one day it dawned on me: I had to embrace my displacement and acknowledge its immense power.

In my head popped up a new concept: the power of displacement.

I realised that one’s personal displacement can bring some good answers. The answers that might have never been received, should you have stayed put in one place.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Karolina Kulach

Karolina Kulach


Non-fiction writer & content manager. Author of “The power of displacement”. Keen reality and people observer. Loves writing catchy, rhyming poems.