Living long-term in a foreign country can transform your lifestyle. One of the biggest perks is affordability. Housing can get pretty cheap in areas like Southeast Asia, but the expat life comes with several drawbacks. It can be easy to feel lonely when you’re separated from your roots. These are the ups and downs of life abroad.

Loneliness Can Set In

Humans are tribal animals. When you’re floating freely about the world, the tribesman inside you can long for social stability. Even if you learn the local language, the friendships you make may not feel the same.

Sarcasm gets lost in the language barrier. Cultural differences can be hard to overcome. All of this gets better with time. It depends on the level of affection you have for your adopted home.

Life’s Affordable, Real Affordable

A brand-new, one-bed apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand costs around $500USD a month, and that’s with a rooftop pool and your own washing machine. In Bali, Indonesia, you can get a private villa with a pool and housekeeping for not much more. Taxes will be lower if you know how to work the system.

Other major costs, like food, also costs way less. A meal out at a sit-down restaurant can easily be kept under three to four dollars in Saigon, Vietnam— beers included!

Friends And Family Can Feel Neglected

No matter how settled in you get into your new country, you’ll always feel a strong connection to the place where you grew up. Friends and family from home will probably feel the same way about you. It can be hard to maintain strong relationships with people from your hometown when you’re never actually there.

Social media helps to bridge the gap, but nothing can replace face-to-face contact and heartfelt conversations. A quick trip home every couple of years helps let them know that you still value their role in your life. Being an expat is an adventure! Nobody ever said it was easy, but they did say it was fun!