Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Should I stay or should I go Carla-Coulson-portrait-paris-0005

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

When do I pack up the venture and go home? When is enough, enough? What is the next step I need to take ? What happens when the money runs out? Is Italy the right country for me? Am I giving up?

These are all questions I have also asked myself over the years and don’t worry there have been times when I have felt like giving up and other times when I have crawled into a darkened room and lay on the bed and asked myself ‘have I ruined my life’?

This post is in response to an email I received but I have chosen to write it anonymously.

There is nothing scarier than taking away all the comfort and support you know in life, your own language, your friends, your family, your work network and trying to restart in another country and things get really scary when the money is almost all gone.

On the bright side you are living emotions and having the chance to look deep into your heart to find what it really is you want in life.

What to do when you arrive at the day of massive self doubt and have to decide whether to stay or to go home?

1. Write down where your heart lies if money wasn’t a problem (which country)

2. Write down the main point that is making you consider leaving?

3. Write down all the positive things you love about your new country and the things you miss about your old one?

3. Write down what you are missing to make it work where you are now?

4. Write down the steps you need to take to overcome what you are missing in point 3

5. Is there a possibility of earning an income out of Italy/or your chosen country whilst still living there?

Know that going home doesn’t mean failure.  You had the courage to leave, to go live an adventure and like I wrote in this post it took many different adventures for me to arrive at my final destination.

Sometimes we need to go home, regroup, see things clearly and put things in perspective that will allow us to have another go or discover all the great things we missed about our own country and settle down for a great rich life we had overlooked.

For the first 3 years of my Italian stay I always managed to go home and often this gave me the courage to go back. It never felt like I had left for good. There was one time that I went back for almost 6 months because there were some photography and writing skills I needed to learn and I couldn’t learn them in Italy. When I went back after this trip I had all the boxes ticked to make a success of it.

My suggestion for now would be to go home, spend some quality time with your friends and family and take a break from sweating it out in Italy and see how you feel from afar OR formulate a plan and make it your goal to work through the plan to gather the skills and work you need to stay.

Wishing you all the very best and a giant hug as I know this is a difficult moment.

“I think the biggest design project anyone can have is their own life”. Jessi Arrington

Much love




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9 years ago

Wise advice! It’s also useful to recall that at home things can be tough too, and that living beyond your comfort zone can sometimes be what it’s all about. I know how hard it is trying to succeed, to fit in, to grow. I agree with Carla though, going home is not a failure. Just make sure you know why you are drawn there: live differently, shift your goals. Be easy on yourself if you’ve had a hard time. Good luck! Best, cat

9 years ago

Big changes make for big choices.
Wonderful post.
I’m happy to say the only thing I miss is eating in the street and cheese danish from the cart on 5th avenue and 60th st.

La Contessa
9 years ago

I think you have another career as a LIFE COACH!Eloquently written. K…….sounds like your in ITALY now!I understand life there is getting harder and harder work wise.We hosted some Italians this summer and they are planning for their children to go to GERMANY or another country for work as the future is not looking to bright!I was lucky and got to experience a piece of Italia in the early 90’s.I loved it too!It changed me for the better!But here I sit in the good old (HA!) USA!Do as CARLA says……..write it all down.Something will POP out at you!Things happen for a reason even we do not see it immediately.What ever YOU do enjoy it!You could do as I did when I returned home to the USA search out the ITALIANS………even in the grocery stores!Keep the Italian music playing in the car and if you have animals speak to them with your WONDERFUL ITALIAN you have learned!VA BENE?

Peggy Braswell
9 years ago

great list!+ remember life always takes care of me.

9 years ago

Inspiring words!

9 years ago

Excellent advice! Thanks for sharing.

9 years ago

I am also an expatriate and asking the same questions, though I can understand your doubts and fears but I’m sure you have also grown in your experiences and you are such a talented photograph, please never give up. ..and have in mind, that unfortunately everywhere is the same situation. Therefore it doesn’t matter where you are. This is my conclusion . I wish you all the best for your decision.