Expat Life

expat life when is it time to go back home

When is it time to go home? 5 signals Expatriates should look for

Moving to a different country can be exciting. But it can also bring on feelings of homesickness, culture shock, and loneliness. When is the right time to start thinking about going home? Here are some tips to help you decide when it’s time to pack up and repatriate. Knowing when it’s time to go home can be difficult but understanding yourself, your values, and your needs will help make the decision easier.

Disclosure: anitabeyondthesea.com is reader-supported. When you make a reservation through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. That will help me keep the blog up and running. Thank you!

Table of Content

Financial struggles

This may sound banal but probably it’s the most important point of our list. While the psychological aspect is essential for your well being, financial struggles should be the ringing bell that your mission is about to end.

Of course it is normal to struggle in the beginning, especially if you are looking for a job. That’s why before moving your should establish a financial plan.

  • How much do you have saved?
  • How long can you live on it (including renting, food, and other basic needs)?
  • Which is the budget you need to move back home? After the pandemic the price of plane tickets skyrocketed!

It’s important to make sure you have enough money to keep living in your foreign home for as long as you want. If financial struggles are starting to pile up, and your savings account is getting lower and lower, it might be time to start looking at alternatives.

Before packing your bags, think about the stability of going back home and the role money plays in making your decision.

financial struggles
Photo from Pexels.com. Credits to Cottonbro Studios.

Feeling lonely and isolated

One of the most common horror stories shared by expats is loneliness and struggles to make friends. You may have moved abroad with a host of expectations, but if you find yourself feeling lonely, unnoticed, or isolated in your new home, it might be time to start making plans to move back.

Ask yourself whether these feelings are temporary or chronic and consider how going back home may help you in the long run. Making friends in a new city, country can be challenging but should be fun!

Remember that you have endless possibilities of things to try and do that could potentially let you meet new people. Socializing isn’t that hard! If you are looking for some ideas to socializing in a new city check out our 12 EASY ways for making friends in a new city.

feeling lonely and isolated expat life

Cultural burnout & homesickness

Being an expat can take its toll on any individual – adapting to a new place and culture can be a process of both exploration and rejection. It’s expected that you’ll have moments where the language, customs, and routines of your adopted home will begin to wear on you.

Homesickness for friends, family, and the familiar is also normal. If your feelings toward the culture of your adopted home aren’t improving over time, and you aren’t able to overcome homesickness, you should take this as another sign to consider leaving.

Difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle

Adjusting to a new lifestyle as an expat can be a difficult journey. If you’re still struggling to accept and adapt to a new lifestyle, it might be time to consider leaving and returning home.

This can be paired with the point above. It could mean that you’re having difficulty accepting the food, customs, language, or overall culture of your adopted country and that these struggles are impacting your emotional well being.

Don’t ignore the signs of discontentment. If you are unable to get out of your unpleasant routine it might be time for you to find another place where you feel more comfortable living.

sadness expat life when is it time to move home
Photo from Pexels.com. Credits to Felipe Cespedes.

Negative changes in health or mental well being

If you’ve been an expat for several years, it’s normal to feel homesick or lonely at times. But adjustments to a new lifestyle should improve over time.

If the opposite is true, and you find yourself feeling increasingly depressed and anxious, despite having established connections in your newly adopted country, consider it’s time for you to leave.

Most important: a decline in physical and mental health should not be ignored. Returning home to your supporting family and friends, can help you improving your health and well being.

One last word about when is it time to go home for expats

Ultimately, the decision to go home is deeply personal and unique to each expatriate’s circumstances. It’s crucial to regularly reassess your situation, listen to your intuition, and consult with trusted confidants. Remember, there’s no shame in acknowledging that a particular expat experience has run its course, and going home can open up new avenues for growth, fulfillment, and happiness in the next chapter of your life.

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ELA4 Ariane 6 construction site

13 Expert Expat Tips to make adjusting to life abroad easier

Life abroad can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time expat. To make the transition run more smoothly, I have collected 13 essential expat tips from our experience and from other expats that will help you settle in quickly and comfortably to your new location.

13 Expert Expat Tips to make adjusting to life abroad easier Read More »

12 EASY ways for making friends in a new city

Moving abroad or simply to a new city means having a fresh start with all its pros and cons. One of the cons? Finding yourself with no friends (except maybe your partner). Unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge, that may be quite daunting. Worry not! Making friends in a new city is waaay easier than it seems. All you need is optimism, confidence, and following the tips below.

12 EASY ways for making friends in a new city Read More »

The cost of living in French Guiana in 2024 (from a local)

Life in French Guiana can be very exciting. The lifestyle is amazing. There is no traffic or pollution. Nature is everywhere offering astounding landscapes and possibilities for excursions. And there is no need for warm clothes, given that the lowest temperature goes around 20°, on VERY rare occasions. Even so, it isn’t all peaches and dandelions. In fact, the cost of living in French Guiana can be very high compared to other countries in South America. But exactly how expensive? In today’s blog post I’m going to break down the budget for living in French Guiana in 2024.

The cost of living in French Guiana in 2024 (from a local) Read More »

Tips on how to learn a new language

Expat life: 6 useful tips on how to learn a new language

Moving abroad may be overwhelming, especially If you don’t speak the language. Luckily for you, I have already gone through this, twice! Thanks to my experience, I now share with you the most effective tips on how to learn a new language as an expat. In less than 4 months, the exact way I did it.

Expat life: 6 useful tips on how to learn a new language Read More »

long haul flight with toddlers

How to survive a long-haul flight with toddlers

What’s worse than a long-haul flight? A long-haul flight with toddlers! Especially If you are the parent who’s supposed to take care of them. Because let’s face it, long-haul flights are tiring and difficult for us grownups. Let alone a toddler or kid who has an established routine, based on fixed hours to eat and sleep. But I’m not trying to discourage you. Traveling with our kids is a beautiful experience to share the knowledge of our world and create new memories. But how can you improve it? Continue your reading to know all the secrets to a perfect flight.

How to survive a long-haul flight with toddlers Read More »

creating a maluwana in french guiana

Experiencing traditions : Creation of a Maluwana

Today’s article isn’t my usual travel blog post. Creating a Maluwana is an experience of ancient traditions. We can travel around the world and count countries, but in the end, what I love the most about travel is learning and understanding other cultures. For this reason, I really hope you’ll enjoy the read and please let me know in the comments if you would like to read more posts like this.

Disclosure: anitabeyondthesea.com is reader-supported. When you make a reservation through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. That will help me keep the blog up and running. Thank you!

In This Article

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The History of Maluwana

Coming from the traditions of the Indigenous Wayana, the Maluwana, in English that can be translated as roof circle, is a circular section of wood. It’s situated under the roof, in the central pole of Tukusipan which is a community hut.

The symbolism behind its decoration represented originally the mythical monsters that the Wayana people killed during their genesis, the crested caterpillars. Gradually the animals of the forest were added as elements of the decoration.

painting the maluwana

The legend says that a man who was hunting got lost in the forest. After wandering for a while, he heard music coming from deeper into the forest. The notes led him to a village inhabited by spirits. Those spirits taught him the art of Maluwana and how to build the Tukusipan so that he could share his knowledge with his village and protect his people from evil spirits.

Although we don’t know the exact moment Wayana started crafting Maluwanas, the historians affirm that their genesis goes back to when the Amerindians started working with metal tools such as chisels, etc… That was around the 19th century. Also, the first testimonies date back to that period.

At first, artisans used natural pigments to craft their works. But gradually, in the mid-20th century, industrial painting became more popular. Today smaller versions of the Maluwana have become very popular as decoration objects.

The workshop: create your Maluwana

Ti’Wan Couchili is the first Teko woman sculptor working on wood. Her workshop will teach you the ancient techniques of crafting Malwana, and you will get to leave with your amazing creation!

Let’s see step by step the creation of Maluwana.

What you will need: ruler, cutter (or a chisel may be best), compass, pencil, and rubber.

maluwana first drawing before painting

Starting from the circular section

The wood section comes from Kapok trees. Once the whole piece is cut, they paint it with a black protective layer, and its borders are covered with clay. From that step on the creation of the Maluwana is fully in your hands.

First, you start by creating the external patterns. Those decorations are often triangular shapes that recall a boa constrictor’s tail. Once you draw them with your pencil, Ti’Wan will guide you to choose the animals.

spreading the natural pigments on the maluwana circle

Choosing the animals for your Maluwana

When it comes to choosing the animals, you have only an “obligation”, to draw the two giant crested caterpillars that protect from evil spirits. The choice of the other animals and the number you want to represent is very personal.

I chose the river spirit, the jaguar, a turtle, the toucan, and an anteater.

Once you chose your animals you can start to draw them. Ti’Wan created carton-shaped figurines that will help draw the borders. Then you will create smaller sections inside your animals so that you can paint them in different colors.

The last step before coloring is carving, with the cutter or chisel, you must carve all the lines. As a result, the colors that are liquid won’t pour onto other sections. This is probably the most tiring part of the workshop and be prepared, your hands will be in pain after carving all the lines!

Coloring your work of art

Now you are ready for the next and final step: the coloring. What I love the most about this workshop is being able to paint by using the ancient technique.

Ti’Wan prepares many different jars containing all the colors that she obtains by picking the natural pigments from the riverside or the forest. Once they are diluted with some water, you can use them like watercolors in the different sections of the Maluwana.

If you are a perfectionist this part may be veeery long, as it happened to me.

In conclusion

The workshop duration is two full days.

For the price (200€) you will get to create a customized Maluwana and launch is included also, Ti’Wan is an excellent cook. Note that the price for an original creation of the same size and made with natural pigments starts from 250-280€.

Unfortunately, the workshop has not reopened since 2020. In case you are interested in buying an original Maluwana, you can visit the GADEPAM, French Guiana’s crafters shop in Cayenne.

Do you want to know more about French Guiana? Find more inspiration on the Amazonian adventures-related posts.

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creating a maluwana ciel de case in french guiana

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