What Life Abroad Can Teach You

1). You cannot create a parallel life

I thought starting afresh would be easy. As if my upbringing, my relationships, my language, my habits, my culture could be easily replaced. I’ll exchange one life for another.

In reality you end up being stuck in between, often torn.

Whilst it’s important to be open to different ways, you don’t always have to say goodbye to  the old to bring in the new. A tree doesn’t rip up its roots in order to grow and neither should we.

2). Don’t waste time on what ifs

Often whilst traveling I’d bump into situations or people that were too good to be true. Because they were.  This job is so amazing… if only it wasn’t in a bad location. We connect so much… if only they didn’t live here. We became friends so quickly… if only they didn’t need to leave so soon. It’s easy to get frustrated,  as if the world is teasing us, showing us a glimpse of what could have been in an alternate reality. Don’t waste too much time on these what ifs. You only have the options in front of you. Concentrate on them.

3). We all know our own truth

Deep down we all know what is good for us and what decision is best. Often it’s tempting not to listen, to lie to ourselves and make excuses. So easily we slip down the path of comfort and instant gratification. Trust yourself and value yourself enough to take the path best for you, even if it’s the harder one, it’ll pay off in the long run.

4.) There’s beauty in the finite

Living overseas, especially in an expat community you get used to people coming and going. Learn from them, create memories with them, let them leave an impression on you, but don’t be too destroyed when you have to say goodbye. Something doesn’t loose it’s value or ‘sparklyness’ just because it has to end. Appreciate what you had, but also learn to embrace change, rather than working against it. Why pointlessly try to clutch at the wind when you could let it sweep you along to somewhere new and exciting? Arriving at this new destination doesn’t take away from the scenery at the previous stop.

5). At the same time value those that stick around

Appreciate your rocks. The people you can always come back to and amidst all the flutter and craziness of the world offer something strong and indestructible. No matter where you are or how long between talking, you never have to doubt it and you’ll always have each others’ back.

6). Play by your own rules

Ok maybe not when it comes to laws in a new country. But in all other senses, be a (respectful) renegade. You don’t have to always adhere to social norms. These change for every new city you’re in, but that doesn’t mean your own personal standards have to.

-Don’t be scared to explore or experiment or shake things up a bit.

-Don’t restrict yourself or feel caged by what others may think or their inability to get it. People don’t like it when you explore past the realms of what they’ve deemed possible or normal or acceptable, but that’s not your problem and you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

-Don’t ever let customs or stigmas or group mentalities shame you. Do what’s right for you, stand tall by it, own it, be proud and never feel belittled for being different.

7). Get to know flawed people, rather than being disappointed by perfect concepts

Everyone is just trying to get by the best they can. No-one has the answers. Don’t be so hard on yourself or others. If you see someone as a success, a leader, a mother, a partner, a sister then  you fail to see them and love them completely. Accept people for who they are and where they’re at. Accept what they are able to bring to you right here and now rather than expecting the world, or worse,  expecting them to fill yours.

We don’t fall in love with perfection; it’s sharing of insecurities and vulnerabilities that create the most intimacy. Allow yourself to be imperfect and vulnerable. Allow yourself to be a person, not a gleaming product. Get to know people for who they really are. You included. When you see someone as a shiny concept of a person you do everyone a disservice.

8). Allow yourself to change your mind

I moved to Sweden with no return ticket and a head full of rigid plans and expectations. Then I changed my mind. Which is ok. Changing your mind shows you’re thinking things though, listening and actively living. It shows that no matter how set your intentions, you’re giving yourself to a larger force that’s out of your control. Life. Be humble enough to let it surprise you.


12 thoughts on “What Life Abroad Can Teach You

    1. Aha! One thing I don’t have the answer to… 😛 Stop putting my highly scientific, foolproof life lessons to the test “pretty integrated” “pretty much an average dude” Malcolm 😛 Nice bio 😉 Life is crazy!!!


      1. Hahaha the world is missing out big time! Our first hit would have been a remix of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” for sure and with cover art like that who could resist?!? Typical you to take my pensive, taking itself too seriously and artsy blog and turn it into a joke ahaha 😛


      2. Weirdly I can’t comment your last reply :|…

        Anyway, just wanted to say that you still have time to change your mind and come back to Sweden. You get free kanelbullar and a cool parallel life as DJ’Emu if you do so 😛 (no I’m no bribing you)


      3. I’ve managed to make Malcolm speechless?? What a feat! haha Well it is a very tempting bribe! 😛 Nah you just need to kickass at your robotic thingo so you can come to Australia and DJ’Emu can have a reunion tour! Very much enjoying Robot’rip btw mwaha Past Malcolm has some very interesting thoughts on life 😛 But truthfully I am enjoying reading it 🙂


      4. Hahah thx. I enjoyed posting on Robot’rip but I must say I’m not very good at this. I think I need to find out what I like to write about also and thus the inconsistent posting times ;). Guess you’ve skim through all the techincal posts to go right to me two years ago 😉 ?

        I’m trying to get Singapore currently and if I miss it, the paper I’m writing right will go straight for the Australian conference I think ;). That would be so great !


      5. Oh I’m so inconsistent and if I do post something it’s just random musings of my mind that should be kept in a diary rather than on the world wide web 😛

        haha yep pretty much 😉 As thrilling as learning ‘how to visualize the results of the sphere optimizatino and the slam2d optimization of G2O is….musings of 2014 Malcolm is much more interesting 😛 Australia is second cab off the rank?? :O Well then selfishly I hope you miss the Singapore one 😛 Nah good luck with it!


      6. I could also get both of them. But I don’t think I’m clever enough to pull that off :P.

        Hey ! I have the duolinguo experiment and how to move a guitar in a plane in 2015 ! Not just graph optimization (and you don’t know how much you’re missing 😉 )

        Just wondering but is it you on the picture in the article ?


      7. You could, back yourself! You’re a clever cookie!! I’ll put in a word with the Australian robotic authorities 😉

        Such a diverse range!

        Yes it is, taken up in Kiruna 🙂


      8. Do you actually ask people to take picture of you back 😛 ? Because both that picture and the one on top of the website are like that.

        Emma : “Wait I’m going to walk like I’m super lonely looking at the desert of ice /sand/whatever… But just stay behind and take a picture of my back….” 😉


      9. Bahahaha I was with a Sami lady supposed to be doing a Northern Lights photography course…but alas no Northern Lights so I was the next best natural wonder to capture 😛 The website one is just my Dad creepin haha


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