Fleeting Feelings: People or place?

enjoying life, success concept

Are people more important than place? Most would agree that to be the case. So for those of us that live overseas away from our families, it’s a lingering notion that can cultivate uncomfortable emotions.

Before I took a chance opportunity to live overseas, I strongly believed that people were more important than place. That families were meant to stay close together and there was more to life than the weather. I couldn’t understand why people would choose to move far away, particularly if it meant leaving behind family. These beliefs, at surface level, largely remain in-tact. Which means my choice to live overseas is misaligned with many of my core beliefs, creating a jarring juxtaposition in my mind.  I feel overwhelmed at times. Not just because I miss my family, but because my self-assessed selfishness cultivates a conscience about putting my own lifestyle preferences above the love I have for my family. A family I know that misses us desperately.

And so I’ve frequently questioned whether I’m choosing lifestyle over love. Whether, by choosing to live so far away from family, it means I now believe that place is more important than people.

Yet my current lifestyle really suits me. It makes me feel free. I never feel bored anymore. I no longer need to wait impatiently for a few days once a year to bask in the glistening sun, for the grey clouds and rain to subside to feel motivated to go out for a run, or for the annual, two if we’re lucky, holiday overseas to relax and have some fun. I feel inspired, relaxed and energised by nothing more than stepping out of my front door. This lifestyle makes me happy.

And so no, I still don’t believe there’s anything more important in the world than the people that we love. But I’ve realised I am in fact choosing people over place. Because, while I would love and feel I will eventually be closer to my family, I’d forgotten to include one person in that question before; me.

You probably found my post through Facebook which is an amazing way to share content but also risky as sometimes paid posts and advertising are given preferential visibility  – so if you enjoy reading my free posts on expat related topics and don’t want to miss them visit my home page and sign up by email. 

You can also follow me on facebook: UpsideDown

And instagram #upsidedowninoz

Or twitter Upside Down


  1. Sylvia

    Great post as usual! I feel that you are in my head!!! I’m about to have to make that big decision myself: being close to family, with the prospect of being able to settle, in a grey cold place, or continuing my adventures wandering the world. Both are attractive and terrifying prospects, for all the reasons you know and express so well.

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Sylvia, I’m glad you can relate! Good luck with your decision, I hope it will based on what you want and you only!

  2. EstoChica

    Really liked your post, as my last 4 dinners/coffee dates have been talking about exactly this – are our proclaimed values aligned with the choices we’re making in our lives. I was hoping your post would continue a little bit more on this topic – continue with more of the framework of “You have to love others/your partner, but you have to love yourself first.” If you have additional thoughts, I’d love for you to elaborate and make this post a bit longer (and this is me usually thinking that most blog posts are too long), but would have loved to continue reading yours 🙂

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Hi there thanks for your comment! Yes, there was more thinking around this loving yourself first, but I decided to just do a short and sweet post. But the thinking behind is the old saying you can’t love others until you love yourself basically and I think its more about meeting your own needs before being able to be truly loving towards others, including our families. Quite often I feel so overwhelmed with guilt I immediately start thinking to myself ‘you need to go home, just go etc etc’ but I know if I acted on that urge to go home directly related to the guilt then I would likely end up resenting the fact I did and projecting it onto them if I was unhappy with my life back in England. Because if it was to be a decision based on them, and not me, I’d likely hold them responsible for my happiness in some way (even on a subconscious level!) I have also come to this train of thought since having my now 3 year old daughter – it’s been clear to me that when im not putting myself first im actually not being the best loving version of myself to her. I’ve fallen into traps as I think many mums do at times of neglecting my own needs because I’ve felt I was being ‘selfish’ so not taken time out to exercise, or time with friends etc etc. But all that happens is I project the frustration of my needs not being met onto her, I’ll get more easily frustrated with her because she’s being high maintenance and I’ll be thinking ‘I never get a breather’ etc. Whereas if im fulfilling my own needs I can handle anything she throws at me, im not expecting her to be quiet because I need quiet time say – I’ve already taken the time I need for myself. It’s a basic version of what I mean when it comes to loving yourself and putting your own needs first – only then can we be sure we are being the most loving version of ourselves to the ones we love and not making them responsible for our happiness. We can give far more of ourselves this way. Can be applied to any relationship I think. And particularly when it comes to our values – if our values are that of being loving to our family and friends then if we’re not extending that to ourselves, we’re likely expecting those we’re offering it to, to meet our expectations in return. When it comes to the choice of living far away from them the same logic applies – although of course we miss them too but when (and if) we do return we have to be sure it’s not at the expense of our own needs and desires because otherwise we risk expecting them to meet some of those. Hope that expands on it enough!

      1. EstoChica

        That was fantastic – can relate to all of that. Would love to see everything you wrote in the original post – if you do decide to add it, i’ll share it to my friends as well. Thanks for thinking out loud for me 🙂

        1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

          Hey I didn’t actually write anything more on it, but maybe I will give it a bit more thought after my next longer one which is going to be about taking risks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *