Nostalgia Past

Is Nostalgia Holding You Back from Succeeding Abroad?

Can you feel nostalgic and still survive abroad? Here are some expat tips to help you embrace change and lead a more successful life abroad.


My husband often revisits the happy moments we lived in Miami. A place where the sun is always shining. Where outdoor sports are played all year round. He thinks back on the friendly faces, our weekend BBQ’s and long walks on the beach.

He is the type of person who looks back on those years as “the good old days”.

Whereas, I can reminisce and think fondly of those five wonderful years we spent in Miami, but also remember us both making a conscious decision to leave, because it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And so I see it as a closed chapter in our lives.

His nostalgia is a yearning that keeps him living in the past.

Instead, I crave new adventures!

Does this mean he is not happy in Munich? Not necessarily! 

He loves strolling through our historical old town and hiking in the nearby alps.

Can he be happier? I think he can be, if he just let go of this sentimentality for all things past.

Excessive Nostalgia is Unhealthy

The Good & The Bad of Nostalgia

Nostalgia is not all bad! The Scientific American actually says that nostalgia can improve your mood and possibly your mental health. It can also provide a feeling of vitality, when you need a confidence boost.

The problem is when we idealize the object of our nostalgia, it can prevent us from living a more present and fulfilling life.

Overcoming Excessive Nostalgia

It takes time to adapt to change. Don’t let nostalgia take away the power to set new goals for yourself. Meeting new challenges head on will give you a boost in self-confidence. You’ll realize you are capable of more than you ever imagined.

And there will come a time when my husband will look back on our years in Munich as “the good old days”. 

Featured Photo Credit: Ian Dooley on Unsplash

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  1. Yes – I think that nostalgia can often lead to idealising. It is very easy for your present self to remember the past differently to what it actually was (I fall prey to this a lot – thinking that because a time was in the past that it must have been all great). I think it’s especially difficult when you’re an expat and you’re thinking about your home (that is far away and somewhere you may not have been for a while). Equally, I think it’s easy to shadow that nostalgia onto your future – like I’m planning on leaving Munich and going home to Australia, and I’m already thinking about how great everything will be, based on my nostalgia about what it was like when I left. Does that make sense?

    1. It makes total sense Simone. Nostalgia can fog up some memories from prior days. I love this quote from George Ball… “Nostalgia is a seductive liar.” That says it all haha!
      Nevertheless, I’m sure your return back home will be amazing! All the best

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