The little things add up, and the big things, well, after awhile they stop being so big, and in the long run that’s so much worrisome than the pressures of any day to day issue. Expat life can be disconnecting, and while you’ve hopefully made a fulfilling life for yourself wherever you’re at, it’s all too easy for home to drift farther and farther away, year after year.
You’ll miss out on birthdays and traditions, you won’t be around when relationships change to either celebrate, or help forget, and holidays that are foreign to where you are will become more and more mirage-like as the years pass. Exorbitant flight costs and days worth of cross continental travel, on top of the work schedule that had brought you abroad in the first place, make it unfeasible to go back for anything but the biggest and most important events. It’s all too easy to become isolated from not only the people you love, but the culture that made you you, and managing to stay connected will require more upkeep that you could’ve realized. Every now and then, you’re going to need to recharge.
Splurge on the plane ticket home for a week, make a major holiday special again by going somewhere unique for it, order gifts via the internet on important days, and put Skype to full use during your daily life. Backpacking through Asia during a summer or winter break is pretty tight, but eventually you’re going to need to pass it up for a solid 3-4 weeks home with your friends and family, and that’s natural. You can live it up and make Facebook jealous next time. Jacked up travel costs, pay cuts, using personal time… Trust me that none of those will mean a single thing to you when you’re there at your childhood friend’s wedding, celebrating with the people that matter on the most important day of their life. Do what you need to do for you and yours; living abroad is an amazing experience but should never be at the expense of your domestic life.