The 4 Things I’ve Learned from 4 Years Living Abroad


  1. Rebekah says:

    I love this post. Its crazy to realize how much living abroad can change you, I can’t imagine what its like for you after 4 years. I get the 4rth piece a lot. Before I went to china I had so many opinions about things and I do definitely feel like there are a lot of “wrong” things that have happened and are happening (murder and torture are definitely wrong) but I did start understanding why China is like that and why people don’t do anything to stop it. I wouldn’t say I walked in anyones shoes, but I got a glimpse of the shoes they do walk in and realized how different they are and how complicated countries and cultures are.

  2. being abroad does afford such a unique perspective. i travel to a lot of poorer parts of the globe and the frequent reminder of simplicity is something i am grateful for, but often struggle to integrate into life in the states.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      There are more choices and options in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world which is fantastic, but it does make it more difficult to keep things cheap and simple.

  3. Adina says:

    Love this post. Great insight and depth. I’m glad that I get to read about your life and see what you’re doing. Sounds like it’s way hotter in Thailand than Florida but you know I’m getting used to the heat finally and I’m loving it! It feels good to be warm and get a tan all year round. After school is over for Chew we really want to travel a lot more. Hoping to create new memories and a new lifestyle. 🙂 maybe we’ll bump into eachother someday. Love ya girl!

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Ha – it’s always hot here…I’m more used to it but still sweat and complain everyday 😉 Good luck with the travel plans and thank you so much for reading!

  4. Bethany says:

    I loved this. I eagerly look forward to my upcoming first experience living abroad, and the expanded worldview that will come along with it!

  5. Olga says:

    The most important thing that traveling taught me was that it’s okay to be alone and do things on your own – not just when it comes to going to the movies alone and dining yourself out without friends, etc, but just living your life alone, for yourself, and for your own good. It’s super challenging for me most of the times, but that’s a severe reality! But when you accept that and stop feeling depressed about it, things somehow change!

  6. wanderinjon says:

    Great post. No matter what you do in life, I can share that my many years of travel have given me flexibility, adaptability, creativity, and confidence in everything I’ve pursued. I love that you learned to live life simply at a young age, and appreciate the cultures and environments around the globe. The breadth and variety of Asia and Africa are not to be missed! Every trip and volunteer abroad only deepens my appreciation for the right (not better) things in life.

  7. Excellent points! We’ve lived in Turkey and Poland for the past 5 years and are getting ready to move on to Melbourne next. It’s a crazy adventure and I never thought I’d live in any of these countries, much less outside of the U.S. I never thought I’d learn how to speak Turkish and Polish, but I’ve tried. I never thought I’d not miss living in the U.S., but I really don’t.

    This really hits home and I’ve often thought of the same thing: “The more you travel and see new things, the more you realize you really don’t know or have seen much at all.” The more I travel, the more I want to see. The world is a really BIG place! 🙂

  8. Cynthia says:

    Really loved this post! After almost 3 years abroad, I can relate to all of these, especially that there is no right way to live– something that many Americans are trained to think otherwise! It’s been such a refreshing experience to be immersed in such a different culture.
    I have to ask though, and hoping this question is not too forward, but one ESL teacher to another living in a country where the currency is not worth so much when taken out of it: how do you afford your plane tickets to visit home…. is it tough to manage with your salary there or pretty manageable?

    • Alana Morgan says:

      I’m not teaching any more, but when I was making about $700-800 per month. I lived really frugally, going out for a coffee was a splurge, and had come over here with savings. I lived off of what I made, even saving a little, then used my savings when I needed to.

  9. MotownRevue says:

    after 8 weeks abroad..Philippines-Singapore-Thailand-Canada & back to San Francisco to reality & work..reading this reinforces all my nights of sweaty hawker stands..West ANDAMAN Sea sunsets & brisk cool sunlit summer Calgary evenings!


    ..can’t wait to fly out next trip! I like your four simple rules & will try to abide by them on my next big trip..2016 tour of cherry blossom laden Japan! Will subscribe to ur blog! Still gotta getti Chiang Mai! Ciáo (luckily sister lives in Rome!)

  10. James Blanc says:

    “You can’t anticipate how you will react to a situation until you’re in it and can’t judge others for the decisions or actions they made for circumstances you’ve never had to deal with.”

    This is such a great perspective and incredibly valuable piece of advice – something that everyone, traveler or not, should live by. Personally I’ve never lived abroad for any great length, only traveled for up to a few months at a time throughout Asia/Far-East, but this is one of the main lessons I learned that has stuck with me. You are right, life is but many shades of grey. It reminds me of a quote I once heard: “It’s not the things that happen to you, it’s how you react to what happens.”

    Anyway, I’m currently considering whether to move from England to Chiang Mai – experiencing the customary anxieties and reservations. Thanks for your advice and sharing your experience. It certainly makes the (inevitable, lol) move less daunting.

  11. I love this post — it’s so honest — and I love your writing in general. Now that I’m in Chiang Mai, I am re-reading a lot of your work. It’s so relevant to me, and so useful, too. Thanks a million for being such a dedicated blog writer for so long. I realize your website’s focus has shifted, so I’m all the more grateful for these older posts. Also, by the way, I love your photos.

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