About, Lifestyle, Travel

Why I’m Choosing to Move Home After Living Abroad for One Year

After one year of living and working abroad, I’ve finally made the decision to move home in September.

And, surprise, I’ll be staying home for (a lot) longer than 22 days. If you had told me one year ago that I would be excited to move back to California and start a career…well, I would’ve thought you were crazy.

Still haven't figured out how to not overpack

A post shared by tarahmason (@tarahmason) on

When I made the decision to move to Thailand to teach English, I knew it was only the beginning. 

While I told my family it was only for a few months, I knew in the back of my head that I wouldn’t be moving home any time soon. At the time, I had no desire to begin a career, “settle down”, or do any of the things that you’re typically supposed to do when you graduate college. I honestly thought it would be a few years before I was ready for any of that.

Which is why it came as a shock when I realized I wanted to move back to the city I grew up in. I found myself thinking more and more about what I wanted to do long term (scary word, I know). I noticed myself being excited when thinking about going home. And at some point over the last few months, I started thinking less about the next country I was going to visit and more about the next job I was going to apply to on LinkedIn (I’m still a little bit confused about this myself so try not to question it).

I can’t tell you exactly how or when this happened. 

The best answer I can give you is that at some point over the last year, my priorities changed. I stopped wanting to live in hostels and started yearning to live in an actual house (okay so it’ll be my mom’s house, but it’s fine). Living out of a suitcase began to lose its charm. The thought of finding a job that challenges me and leaves me with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day excites me.

Over the past year, I have seen parts of the world that some people will never get the chance to see. I’ve visited 14 countries, stayed in countless hostels, and checked off more items on my bucket list than I thought possible. For a lot of people, one year of working and traveling abroad seems like no time at all.  And for others, it seems like an eternity. For me, it’s been the perfect amount of time to discover (a small part of) the world and myself. It’s given me the confidence to know that I can accomplish just about anything. It’s helped me discover new passions and dreams and given me the confidence to chase them.

why im moving home, sunrise at angkor wat
Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

A few months ago, I wrote a guest post on a fellow blogger’s website.

In it, I talked a little bit about not being afraid to “settle down” or start a career. And rereading that post now, I realize that I was scared of those things. I felt like accepting a typical office job or moving home meant that I was giving up or that I was failing. To me, it felt like a complete betrayal of everything I’ve sought to accomplish over the last year. What I realize now, is that it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to want different things than you wanted six months ago or even six days ago. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve failed…it just makes you human.

While I can’t wait to start my life in California, that doesn’t mean my life abroad is over. 

Travel always has been, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life. It’s something that has helped shape the person I am and has made me happier than just about anything else. So just because I’ve accepted a more typical corporate job in America, doesn’t mean that one day I won’t find myself volunteering in one of the two continents I have yet to visit. It doesn’t mean that a year down the road, I won’t be working remotely from an island in Greece. And it surely doesn’t mean that my eagerness to see the world has gone away.

~Tar

18 thoughts on “Why I’m Choosing to Move Home After Living Abroad for One Year

  1. Sometimes I have so much to say to you, and sometimes I’m just lost for words. One thing I do know is that you are an inspiration to me while abroad and you will continue to be when you are home. You live life on your terms and somehow you do it unselfishly. I have missed you terribly over the last year, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I now know without a doubt that this last year was exactly right for you. I love you sweet daughter of mine. Keep chasing your dreams, for I know you will achieve each and every one of them. See you soon Tar Tar!!

  2. Hi Tarah! I’m so glad you’re coming back…but You have to keep blogin on life in the OC! Everyone has enjoyed your refreshing personality! All the best to you. It’s Always best to be by your Mommy…no matter where life takes you! ❤️????☀️????????????

  3. The urge to travel, or the urge to park it for a while, are both fine, and should be followed. One can wonder why the feeling arises, but no need to worry about it unless you continually change your mind every year. I say it’s fine–when you feel like hiting the road, go out, and when you feel like nesting at home, go back.

  4. I agree that travels always help in shaping one’s life. It’s good that you are getting to experience both sides of the coin. Wishing you all the best and happiness always. PS – your guest post was amazing – just read it. Cheers!!

  5. Change is the only constant in Life and the sooner we embrace this truth the better it gets. It is ok to feel like traveling the world and it is also ok to feel home sick. As long as you love what you do, where you stay should not matter. You have had a wonderful year in Thailand and I wish you an equally eventful life in California.

  6. Ah. I understand that feeling. I yearn to get back home after a few weeks of travel. I am sure you will take breaks to go see the world one country at a time which will be fulfilling and enriching. Good Luck.

  7. Such an honest and interesting post. Long term travel has never been for me, and I think it’s because I have lots of loves in my life and balancing travel with my home life has always been the priority. It’s amazing hat your trip allowed you to be clear about what you wanted!

  8. Interesting to know about your stint in Thailand. Awesome that you managed to visit 14 countries and strike off several points from your wishlist! Its always ok to change your mind, we never know what situations live would throw you in!!! Best wishes with your job in California!

  9. First of all, as a native Southern Californian, it’s a great place to be. Tons of people all over the globe have California on THEIR bucket list, so in a different light, you’re still traveling. One thing I’ve realized that as we get older and more experienced, our priorities change. There’s nothing wrong with that. Kudos on figuring out what YOU want to do and acting upon it!

  10. I felt exactly the same way when I came home after a post-college year of travel. Five years later, I have no regrets about “settling down” — I have a great apartment and a job I love — but I’m starting to get itchy feet again. I guess it’s just human nature to want different things at different stages. Welcome back to the States and good luck with your job search!

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