• Tania Capel

9 life-changing lessons after living in 9 countries

My journey has been a long and ever changing one, below is a trip through the countries I have been very fortunate to experience life in

Living in these many diverse countries has really changed my outlook on life. Let us get right in.

  • Happiness is not a destination

Many of us look at the new destination as a place of happiness but I learned while working on the paradise island of Zanzibar that is, happiness is something that comes within. You can have a magical sunset infront of you and still feel sad and lonely. I learned from then on that happiness cannot be travelled to, earned, worn or consumed. This is in fact the best way to be sad.

When going abroad, find your reasons but do not travel under the assumption that it will be your key to happiness.

  • Cultural Appreciation

I travelled all these countries out of pure admiration for new cultures, this world is so diverse and no one is better than the other. We have a lot to learn from one another. This is what makes me feel alive to be very honest. I honour different cultures as I have learned a whole lot.

I spent 6 months working at the front desk of a Boutique Hotel in Thailand, before starting I took a class on learning about their culture. It was one of the most exciting periods in my life and I still dream to go back.

Reminder: there is thin line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.

  • The African Narrative that the World has

The amount of times I was asked, but "erm, you are not black?", or "I would love to see the safari's in Kenya". Especially after living in 5 African countries, I feel especially proud of my heritage being Kenyan-born and half-Madagascan. To be asked such simple minded questions on numerous occasions showed me just what people see in a continent that has 54 countries!

I took it upon myself to change that narrative, which I am still working day in day out on.

  • Empathy

Everyone has their struggles. You get to learn that this world is really huge, so many people are trying to get by. No one is better than the other and kindness can go a very long way.

  • Abandoning Fear

I mentioned that I moved to 9 countries, but in reality, I have moved to 13 cities and still counting. All of which have been experiences that have changed me in one or the other, for the better. At this point, the fear of moving or the unknown doesn't affect me as much as it used to. Just knowing that there is always a way froward, I trust in that thought so much. If one destination doesnt work, that's ok, it is life. Figure out your next move.

  • Settling Down

This word! So I realized that settling down is also something you feel internally, I have been trying for the last 3 destinations to "settle down", but it does not seem to happen. Therefore I am trying to shift this mindset to something that I feel within, I am settled within myself, asking myself"

Am I happy with who I am? with what I have done? and what I have achieved?

  • Using Social Media to stay connected

So ofcourse living in so many countries, you gain a lot of friends and connections. Thank gooness for social networks i.e Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. For that I am able to remain in touch with my friends and keep updated on one anothers lives. As you can tell, I truly do enjoy Social Media and if I have friends that are not active, then it comes down to the occasional and scheduled whatsapp calls and Skype Videos.

  • Language Learning is Hard

This is a lesson recently learned in Germany. I have to be very honest, I was somewhat naive about my move here and believed it would be a breeze, but was I not hit with the language barrier!

It is taking me years to learn. To add to the language learning, my partner is Dutch-Morrocan, interacting with my extended family is also a challenge. So kudos to those who can speak mutliple languages!

  • Take a chance! Be more scared of never knowing!

I strongly believe in this, I have had oppurtunities handed to me, and if in my rational mind it makes sense, I would always take the chance rather than living without knowing how it would have turned out.


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