Behind the Curtains of Relocation

By Gabriela O’Malley

Global relocations or simply relocating from one state to another can be an amazing experience - but it can also be scary, lonely, overwhelming and... complicated.

Regardless if this is your first move or your tenth, what’s involved in disrupting your personal space, social network, professional path, traditions and lifestyle, is both exciting and uncomfortable. Relocating is a big deal. In a very unforeseen and particular way, teaches us who we are and what we’re made of. Unapologetic in exposing our fragility and vulnerability, it also offers endless opportunities for us to step into our courageous self and taste resiliency.

It might perhaps start with being curious, open, adventurous and taking risks; but that seats on the surface. What you can’t see, is the world beneath you’re about to discover about yourself, relationships, friendships, diversity and culture. All that connects us as humans, and all that makes us unique.

In merging thru it all, we are transformed by all that we are experiencing in our new world. We are impacted not only by those experiences we are experimenting and absorbing, but also by their values and treasures. We choose to make ours what we love the most, and take it with us to our next new world.

In this process, we also change and are never the same again. We are transformed now. We are a blend of different worlds and a new vision of life for ourselves is born.


It is perhaps this new version of ourselves, that fusion of different cultures and experiences that syncs us with people who have been transformed in a similar way. It has always been fascinating to me, the easiness of building friendships when living abroad. The unspoken connection I’ve felt with those who have spent years watching what happens behind the curtains of change and transitions. It’s also fascinating how my relationships and friendships with those who were also expats or simply the new ones in town (again), until this day, have stand incredibly strong.

Could it be perhaps because the depth of this transformation goes further than we can see?.


Last month, I spent an hour and a half on the phone with a dear friend of mine I haven’t seen in five years. We met when we both lived in Singapore, years later we bumped again in Northern California. She was among my best friends then, and she still is now.

I learned that, five years of not seeing each other had not shaken nor broken the bond that connected us many years ago in Asia. I feel the same with many other dear friends that are now spread all over the world. I know how close we are in our hearts. They teach me how some friendships are unbreakable.

The best part of blending into different worlds is how the whole experience transforms us forever.

Behind the curtains are a full set of events that will be amazing, scary, lonely, overwhelming and... complicated. You won’t know then as you will in the future, how much the experience will influence your perception, preferences, taste and way of life. How is the perfect life platform for skills building - to solve problems, to adapt, to push forward, to remain open, to become unattached to material things, and so many many more. One day, you’ll look back and breath it all in, and know how you’re not the same and you’ll never be. You’ll feel closer to the world. Because you’ll understand yourself and the world better.

What comes next? For some, a necessity - an addiction as some say. A life on the move is the only life they want to have. After two years in the same place, they’d start searching and planning their next destination. I’ve met a few people that fit in this category, not many, but the ones I know are genuinely happy and love to have a simple life.

Before I met them, I’d always claim to have a minimalist lifestyle. Wrong, they do.

For others, in sharing their experiences, they become a voice of hope, experience, warnings, and advocacy.

To me, is about rescuing the valuable lessons I’ve received throughout all those years surfing the waves of change and transition. Learn to use them wisely in my own life, and share them so that they can serve others. To never be forgotten - all of them, sweet and bitter. They are all my treasure.

This treasure of lessons continues to teach me that coming out from a crossroad, equals transformation. You come out with something new. A revelation, an action plan, a new beginning.

#resiliency, #transformation, #livesabroad

Gabriela O'Malley