I am a Pilgrim: And I Stay Put

There is much debate about the difference of an expat and an immigrant. Is using one better than the other, is one more accurate, am I using the wrong one all the time?

Now I am going to get all college term paper on you and give you some definitions from Merriam-Webster:

expatriate

transitive verb
1. banish, exile
2.  to withdraw (oneself) from residence in or allegiance to one’s native country

intransitive verb
: to leave one’s native country to live elsewhere; also : to renounce allegiance to one’s native country

immigrant

a person who comes to a country to live there

With those definitions in mind it seems that I can use either one accurately. But I often feel out of place using expat due to blogging which is just silly right?

One of the reasons I feel out of place in the expat blogging niche is that we do not travel. If the blogging world is to be believed all of us who have left our home country are gallivanting about to new places all the time and are travel experts.

Know what though, I am not a travel expert. I have been lucky enough to see many European countries but that was before I even met Mr. H and moved to Sweden, so sure Bailie circa 2008 knew a thing or two about travel but I am sure there is more up to date info out there.

Since I permanently moved to Sweden in June of 2011 this is where we have traveled:

Belgium – for our 1 yr wedding anniversary

England – for a friends wedding

California – to see family

Not all that exciting is it! And I am totally happy and fine with it because I did not move to Sweden to see every tourist destination within a 3 hr plane ride radius. I came to Sweden to set up life with my husband and take the occasional vacation as any other Swede would do living in Sweden.

And that is why I think that dictionary definitions aside and current cultural definitions at play I am firmly in the immigrant camp. When my grandparents emigrated from Germany I am not sure what they planned to see in the US but as far as I know in addition to California where they live they saw Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah which are all a easy drive from California.

So am I jealous once in awhile when I see people going to super awesome places, of course I am but I am also happy that they were able to go somewhere and have a wonderful time and hopefully it was a great experience but that their everyday life is wonderful as well.

So like many pilgrims, expats, and immigrants before me I am simply living a normal life in a new place.

Do not worry though if we get the chance to go somewhere awesome I will let you know!

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5 comments

  1. I’m an expat but not a traveller. I’ve seen a few countries, but only really because we live in them. Before I moved to Libya I’d never been further than a trip to Cyprus on a family holiday. I don’t ever see myself as being one of those people who travels. I live abroad (and intend to move home one day which is why I use the expat title, I suppose) but I am not a traveller.

  2. I only started using the word “expat” to describe myself this year because of the blogs! I really am not sure how to differentiate between the two terms. I also dunno what the expat blogging niche is about. I mean I travel, but not extensively. Perhaps once or twice a year.

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