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35 Inspirational Quotes About Living Abroad for Expats

I’ve always loved quotes, and expat quotes are no different.

I often turn to quotes when I can’t quite find a way to explain what I’m thinking or feeling succinctly, or I want a bit of inspiration and motivation. Depending on the situation that I’m in, different quotes apply. 

Throughout my different living abroad adventures, I’ve found myself returning to the same living abroad quotes again and again.

They’re saved on my phone and laptop, in various notes and documents, so I thought it was finally time to compile them and share them so that you can all enjoy them too, just like I did for my unusual travel words post!

You’ll find the moving abroad quotes below with some of my thoughts on them as well! 

Quotes for Expats - Expat Quotes You Can Relate To

Expat travel quotes about making the leap

Deciding to make the leap and move abroad isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes we need a little bit of motivational quote inspiration! I used to have the last line of this Terry Pratchett quote on my travel blogger business cards. I absolutely love it!

Making a big life change is pretty scary. But know what’s even scarier? Regret. – Zig Ziglar

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from. – Seth Godin

The best way to travel abroad is to live with the locals. – Unknown

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. – Terry Pratchett

And suddenly you just know…It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings. – Meister Ekhart

Expat Quotes Living Abroad-5

Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially. – Tom Freston

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spend working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain. – Jack Kerouac

Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was. – Jodi Picoult

Expat Quotes Living Abroad

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. – Gandhi

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large unexpected cheque in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homey restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city. – Bill Bryson

You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Expat Quotes Living Abroad

Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground. – Judith Thurman

This last quote is an interesting one, in that it sort of explains how some of us just have this desire to go and live abroad and see what it’s like to live in another culture. It’s something we just feel like we have to do!

Living abroad quotes about getting used to your life overseas

Once you’ve made the move abroad then you realise what a rollercoaster it can be. Sometimes it’s the most amazing thing in the world, and at other times it’s hard and you just want nothing more than to jump on a plane and go home. 

Splendid to arrive alone in a foreign country and feel the assault of difference. Here they are all along, busy with living; they don’t talk or look like me. The rhythm of their day is entirely different; I am foreign. – Frances Mayes

I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses. – Bill Bryson

Everyone smiles in the same language. – George Carlin

Just remember that when you’re having a bad day! 

When you move from one country to another you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there is nothing you can do about it. – Bill Bryson

Expat Quotes Living Abroad

Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world. What I found appealing in life abroad was the inevitable sense of helplessness it would inspire. Equally exciting would be the work involved in overcoming that helplessness. There would be a goal involved, and I liked having goals. – David Sedaris

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. – Mary Ritter Beard

Why did I hope we would be happy abroad? A change of environment is that traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely. – Vladimir Nabokov

Living abroad isn’t going to magically fix all of your problems, but it’s definitely a good way to have a fresh start!

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable. – Clifton Fadiman

Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time. – Hannah Arendt

Expat Quotes Living Abroad

All you will have is the present. Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow. Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive, it is the vice of the expatriate. You must put down roots as if they were forever, you must have a sense of permanence. – Isabel Allende

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth. – Robert Southey 

Just because you’re living abroad doesn’t mean you have to lose friendships. Some will inevitably fade, but others will be stronger than ever or pick up exactly where they left off when you see that person again. 

The loneliness of the expatriate is of an odd and complicated kind, for it is inseparable from the feeling of being free, of having escaped. – Adam Gopnik

You know what else is nice about being a foreigner? Whatever you do takes place in a capsule that need not be discovered and opened by someone back home. Nothing really counts – it was the life that falls in the forest. – Patricia Marx

Expats who can only criticize the country in which they choose to live are like a sailor who demands the wind blows only according to his skill. – Tony Crossley

Quote about moving abroad

Moving home after living abroad quotes

Moving abroad isn’t always forever, and reverse culture shock is definitely a thing! Here are a few expat quotes that help to explain how the idea of home can change when you live abroad. What many expats find that the problem then becomes, where is home

Our homes are not defined by geography or one particular location, but by memories, events, people, and places that span the globe. – Marilyn Gardner

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again. – Azar Nafisi 

Expat Quotes Living Abroad and Moving Abroad Quotes

The above quote is one of my absolute favourites and I think it’s so true. Even if you return to a place you’ve lived abroad later, the circumstances are never quite the same. It reminds me to really live in the moment and appreciate it!

She had not thought it would be so easy to slip into the old roles. Cambridge and changed her fundamentally and she thought she was immune. No one in her family, however, noticed the transformation in her, and she was not able to resist the power of their habitual expectations. – Ian McEwan

This moving home quote makes me think about how when we travel abroad we can feel like we have really changed, but upon returning home other people might not see it or understand it. 

So, here you are. Too foreign for home, too foreign for here. Never enough for both. – Ijeoma Umebinyuo

It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same. – Sarah Turnbull

Moving Home Quotes Moving Abroad

You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. – Miriam Adeney

Ended on another one of my favourites! I’ve paid the price and received all the good about living abroad in return, but that doesn’t mean it’s not especially difficult at times. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these quotes about moving abroad and living overseas! I’m always keen to read and add more to let me know if you have any favourites.  Sonja x 

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2 thoughts on “35 Inspirational Quotes About Living Abroad for Expats

  1. Erin Gustafson says:

    I love the Azar Nafisi quote – I had not read that one before. It is very fitting as I have been trying to reinvent myself after 7 years living abroad and repatriating to the United States last year.

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