Expat. Phenomenon or state of mind?

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Martina, Michele, and Tommaso, as well as DJ, Stefania and Emanuele. They just are a few of many Italians who have decided to leave the country where they were born, their homes, their daily lives and the familiar faces around them, for a potentially indeterminate amount of time. Technology is their best friend for working, living and sharing their new lives without having to truly leave everything behind. How is it possible in a society that raises flags, hymns and walls that scores of people keep deciding to move to another meridian? To start a family in another hemisphere? Not for reasons of war and famine (thankfully), but conscious choices, more or less reasonable- with a small dose of the ever important instinct- shared with their comrades, and the fervid need to live well, to build new families and networks and to not settle. It is about refusing to recognize geographic boundaries delineated by the map, dominated by the willingness and ability to adapt. Some make the move in order to achieve a quality of life better than that which they found in Italy, as their great-grandparents had done. Others do so for the insistent curiosity in their character and the ancestral need for discovery, evolution and change. Others still, inspired by the lives of others, one day realise the life they themselves have always wanted to live. Thus the path from destiny to phenomenon to state of mind is actually quite brief and maybe today could be one of the keys to tearing down physical barriers and imaginary boundaries.

TOMMASO – RECORD PRODUCER

Briefly, who are you?
I grew up in Lerici, the Gulf of Poets, in La Spezia. It is an amazing place that now I see in all its beauty when- all too rarely- I come back, but which I left at one point in order to pursue music. Music that brought me first to Milan, then to a thousand other places, and now to London.

Where do you live now?
I live in London, but, honestly, at I am at home everywhere, or out of place anywhere, depending on the day. Let’s just say if I can learn something or discover something, I am happy.

What does it mean to be far away from home?
Today it is much simpler than ten years ago. I’m used to it a bit because the world is much more connected. Living in London is a little too chaotic every now and then but still very exciting.

“Expat” has a connotation of belonging and nationality…
I started to feel an immigrant after the outcome of the Brexit, and now we’ll have to see how it goes.

The most interesting aspect of the country where you live?
Being in contact with cultures of all kinds that are VERY, very, VERY different. Learning from everything, you are forced to be much more tolerant and understanding.

How long do you plan to stay?
A variable duration between three months and three decades. We’ll see where life will lead me.

STEFANIA – TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE BLOGGER

Briefly, who are you?
I’m a full-time travel & lifestyle blogger at EverySteph.com. I am from Bologna, Italy, but last year my boyfriend at the time found a new job in Barcelona and asked me if I wanted to go with him. I am very lucky to have a job that allows me to live anywhere I want in the world as long as I have Wi-Fi so I jumped at the opportunity about 1 year and 3 months ago.

Where do you live now?
I am currently working on a cool blogging project in Bucharest, Romania (which is a great city, by the way) but I’m happy to go back to Barcelona next week and hopefully enjoy the warm weather and the beach!

What does it mean to be far away from home?
I have been traveling and living abroad in a few different places for years now, so I’m used to living somewhere that feels like home but not completely, if you know what I mean. No matter how many years you live somewhere, how well you know the language, there are always some cultural differences that you’ll be reminded of from time to time. I do get frustrated at times in Spain and wish for a moment that I was back in Italy, but sometimes I feel extremely lucky to be experiencing life in a foreign culture. It opens your mind, it exposes you to new experiences and people, it enriches you in a way that only someone who has lived abroad can understand.

“Expat” has a connotation of belonging and nationality…
I am objectively an expat and I have no problem to referring to myself as such, but there are some negative connotations to the term, so I try to be more than just an expat. The expat community sometimes end up being very self-centered and self-righteous, so I try and make the effort to integrate in the place I am as much as possible. I try to meet locals, not just other expats, and to go to places that aren’t mostly made for expats.

The most interesting aspect of the country where you live?
The fact that nobody cares about what the other people do and wear, so you can really be yourself.

How long do you plan to stay?
I’m planning to stay just for a few more months, then I’ll probably move to Thailand for the winter.

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