“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
These words that Jack Kerouac used to define his adventures in On the Road epitomize the expat experience. We are forever watching the people and places we love disappear behind us like a tidal wave receding the shoreline, only to wash us further away when the swell looms up and devours us. We come to the realization, often too late, that our goodbyes are mostly permanent – that we will never live our lives the same way again, the comfortableness of one home is exchanged for another, and life goes on. As expats we too lean forward and embrace, perhaps reluctantly, the next crazy venture that awaits us in our new country. Yet we never get over that goodbye – the one we speak a thousand times in a thousand ways – that takes us away from the familiar into the unknown.