Every goal has a price. The goal of living abroad has the price of missing the family while living overseas. It is quite common when you live overseas to feel the fear of missing out. (FOMO). Feeling like life is going on, and everyone is celebrating special occasions without you. Although social media today keeps families and friends connected, it also helps you feel the pain of FOMO. You don’t need to be living overseas to miss family. Some countries like Australia and America are so large that just living in another town or state is too great to go back to for every family occasion.
When you choose to live abroad, you often choose it because you envision a better life for yourself and your family. A new job, an adventure and, in our case, for my husband to learn English as well as a joint adventure.
Most often, when you are an expat living away from family, you have so much going on around you that you have little time to miss home. Yet there are key dates, family functions or events that have you feeling like you are missing out. You may even feel a little jealous or sad that you are not there, as everyone is.
There will always be times when you feel a little homesick and feel like you are missing out. It is natural, but there are ways you can equip yourself for the FOMO. Read on for tips on overcoming the fear of missing out.
Tips on how to overcome the FOMO as an expat.
Stay connected with family and friends.
Fortunately, with today’s technology, you are always connected. This can be a good and bad thing. Good that you can share the wonderful times you’re having. Bad because when you scroll through photos you can miss friends and family even more.
Stay connected by sharing photos via Facebook, WhatsApp, email or one of the many social media platforms. There are many ways to stay connected with family and friends.
Be present in your new life.
As you share the joy of your new homeland, be present in your current activities. So often, people spend time on the phone sharing during the activity that they miss out on it.
Enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Have fun at new cultural events and enjoy the places you explore. There will always be time to share your photos and excitement with family and friends.
Be mindful of scrolling through social media.
Some people can feel lonely and left out when they view photos or live updates of family events. If looking at photos set of the FOMO trigger, set yourself boundaries as to when to use social media.
Your well-being comes first, therefore when you are down, if you find joy by looking at photos, connect and explore what your family and friends are doing.
Remember that your family and friends may feel the FOMO as you share all your great adventures.
I remember my mum telling me once that she loved seeing photos of the countries and places I travelled to. She was enjoying it with me and my family.
Be at peace with the decision to live abroad.
You may become sad, feel lonely or feel like you are missing out when you think about your family and friends.
I sure had the fear of missing out when I first left home many years ago. I felt like the family was getting together, continuing their annual traditions when I was alone or with one or two new friends. Yet, it was I who chose to go. I chose to create a life living abroad, so I was the person who needed to change my way of thinking and my traditions.
Being at peace with our decision to live abroad surfaced many times. There have been multiple times when we have moved internationally as a family. Moving between Australia, Switzerland and Jersey. Yo-yoing between countries is an expensive experience. I don’t recommend it. It taught us that we love the home we have created in Australia, no matter how small our family is.
Create your own traditions.
Naturally, FOMO may be stronger during festive seasons, birthdays, or special events. One way to make peace with missing out on the traditions is to create special days where you live. Of course, your new friends would love this too.
I’ve found that the traditions you create will change over the years. You may move again; your family will grow, and you may downsize as the children move out. Yes, children will create their adventures, but the blessing is if they live not too far away, larger celebrations will take place once again.
A wonderful lady told me about her life and how she and her hubby moved to Australia in 1948. They were just the two of them. Now, they have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She expressed how the younger generations are so grateful for the opportunities of living in Australia.
Plan your trips.
Take time to write down what you miss and think you are missing out on. Quite often, the FOMO is in our heads. You may miss the moment and want to be there for that event. Yet, when you are there, and the moment has passed, you want to be back in your new country for the event you are missing.
To help understand how to solve the problem of missing out, write down what you are missing. Is it the family, friends, celebration or long chats with a friend? What you are missing is what is important to you.
I left only to long for the very thing I left behind: family and community.
You will not be able to attend every family celebration. If there is a major celebration you would like to attend, plan it well in advance and arrange to get together with other family and friends nearby.
For many years, we always spent our holidays travelling back to see relatives. After a while, I began to miss not travelling to new destinations. One way to still see family, friends, and a new location is to plan a holiday somewhere new together. Create new memories.
What is JOMO?
JOMO is the joy of missing out. You create memories when you embrace activities and interests and are present with your new friends. You create good times, laugh more, smile more and enjoy life.
No comparison. – One way to embrace JOMO is not to compare your life with others. It is to let go of the FOMO and connect with ourselves and the environment in which we currently reside.
The bucket list – Another way to create excitement is to create a bucket list of places to explore and things to do in the new country you are living in. What cities do you want to visit? Are there any traditional foods you want to try? What adventures do you want to take? Write a goal list and aim to complete your list while you are living there.
Journal – This is one thing I wish I had started years ago. Oh, the adventures I would have written about. There is only so much that you will remember. If you start a journal you can record your day, note your level of happiness, and write what you are grateful for and your feelings towards events and activities. Better yet, the more you write, the more you have to share.
Community – As expats, being involved in your new community is a great way to make new friends. Here are 6 ways to be involved in your community.
Hobbies – Become involved in an activity you enjoy. Just because you live abroad does not mean you can’t stick with your hobby. If you join a club, you will get to know more people. It is fun to try new hobbies. If the country has an activity, sport or tradition you want to try, add it to your bucket list.
Turn your FOMO to JOMO.
Sometimes, it is the food that you miss. When living overseas, you can’t always buy the same food. Every Christmas, we loved getting food hampers from family and enjoying a taste of home. When our daughter was overseas, we sent her a taste of home, the Aussie Downunder Gift Box.
Living abroad is not easy, but it is rewarding in many ways. The best way to reward yourself with your life abroad is to immerse yourself in the traditions of your new home.
‘Does that mean I must start watching Australian footy and rugby?’ No, it doesn’t, but a few of my friends would love it if I did.
Thirty-five years ago, my goal when I first left home was to survive one year living overseas. Your goal may be to survive a gap year or relocate to a warmer climate.
Whatever your living abroad goal is, if you feel the FOMO as an expat setting in, talk to a friend and find your JOMO.
Design a life of adventure by creating a vision board with places you want to visit while embracing your time living abroad.