My “reverse expat bucket list”

Living abroad, I am very aware of my limitations.  I am reminded, constantly, of how poorly I speak the language and how unfamiliar I am with the customs here.  Every day I have thoughts of how I wish I were doing better, learning faster and moving through the world more easily.  I think it’s perfectly understandable that I so often focus on my challenges and shortcomings, because I see them all the time.

It’s easy to overlook how much I’ve accomplished, how far I’ve come, and how many things that I’ve done and seen.  Amanda at Expat Life with a Double Buggy is hosting a blog link up today, encouraging expats to celebrate what we have already done and accomplished in our adventures.  So, here is my “reverse bucket list” — I’m taking a moment to celebrate what I’ve done so far.

In the past 3 years, I have:

  • Travelled to England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Vatican City and Germany
  • Survived 3 round trip transatlantic flights with preschool aged kids (and never even had anything thrown at me … by anyone other than my kids)
  • Been sledding in the Alps
  • Visited the highest point in Germany
  • Took the overnight train to Italy
  • Eaten pasta and gelato in Italy, baguettes and macaroons in France, and fish & chips and shepherd’s pie in England
  • Visited some astoundingly beautiful places in Austria139
  • Seen a mountain goat in its natural habitat
  • Visited at least 4 different castles
  • Been to a ball at a palace (twice!)
  • Seen a couple of glaciers
  • Shopped for groceries … and didn’t hold up the checkout line
  • Learned a bit about Austrian history
  • Learned a bit of German
  • Renewed my (expired) passport
  • Completed entire shopping transactions entirely in German
  • Got to know the Krampus
  • Swum in both sides of the Atlantic
  • Become pretty much an expert on traveling with kids — either across town or between continents
  • Written over 900 blog posts
  • Been in several of the grandest cathedrals in Europe
  • Learned to love Lanternenfest1072
  • Had a flying lesson
  • Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • Ridden in a gondola
  • Been to at least 7 different museums in 4 different countries
  • Made new friends, including actual Austrian friends
  • Become a connoisseur of Austrian Christmas markets
  • Saw Shakespeare performed in England
  • Learned to let go of being a perfectionist (more or less) and become much more flexible
  • Let go of judgement (of myself and others)
  • Turned over a new leaf in terms of my health

When I write it down like that, it DOES seem something to be proud of (especially since I’ve probably forgotten to include many things). These past 3 years have been a remarkable adventure. I’ve seen and done things I didn’t expect I ever would, and I’ve become a different person in small but important ways. Whatever the future holds for me, these experiences will never leave me, and I hope they serve to inspire many further adventures.

Expat Life with a Double Buggy

4 thoughts on “My “reverse expat bucket list”

  1. Great list! Found your blog via the Reverse Bucket List Link-up. Completely admire the courage you had to move abroad for the first time with two small children. You can find my reverse bucket list in the link-up as well. Look forward to reading about more of your adventures!

  2. Hi Emily, I also found your blog on Amanda’s reverse expat bucket link up. I would love to see a mountain goat in its natural habitat. And, I’ve also just renewed my US passport so I can go to Spain this summer (we go every summer to visit my British in-laws) and I’ve lived in England for 15 years now and NEVER seen Shakespeare performed in England. So good to discover your blog 🙂

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