Uncovering Ibasho as An Expat

Karly Christ shares that for expats, it is more challenging to establish ibasho (authentic relationships) because they have to familiarize themselves with a new environment. That is why it is vital to have hobbies or activities that can help cultivate ibasho in their new country.

Pursuing hobbies help people establish ibasho.

Nick: So let's talk about her needs and how they fit into ibasho creation. I'll just briefly mention the needs now; so there's life satisfaction, change and growth, a bright future, resonance, freedom, self-actualization, meaning and value, and then a sense of purpose. 

So for you guys, how do these needs fit into ibasho creation?

Karly: I think within the context of being an expat. For an expat, we arrive in our new countries without our ibasho, like we were talking about before. And we still may have the love and the support from our families and our old friends back home.

So we may have a strong sense of the ibasho back home, but it isn't the same as having an ibasho where you are, and having it near you in your daily life. 

I think that for people who already have a strong ibasho in their lives, pursuing Kamiya's needs of ikigai will come more naturally and can flow from sort of the support and the grounding, and the confidence that comes from having their ibasho.

So really, having ibasho gives us support and confidence and motivation to pursue those needs. It's where we can feel that we ourselves were understood, were cared for -- that gives us confidence. 

So I think as an expat, finding our ibasho in our new places, and this is true expat or not, but can be can be easily found in activities and in hobbies. And if you're an expat, and you have a job in your new country, you could maybe find your ibasho at work. But not necessarily, maybe you don't value your work. 

So it's a little bit more streamlined to go for the activities and the hobbies that you like doing. Those are things that you put value in, otherwise you wouldn't do them. They're things that you love.

And so pursuing our hobbies and activities will help us to create our ibasho while fulfilling the eight needs of ikigai

I think that for expats, it's a little bit harder for us because we start from not having ibasho and pursuing those needs. Whereas perhaps if you're in your hometown, where you have your family, you have your friends, you have your ibasho, it is easier to get the motivation.

And maybe there's your childhood friend, that you go for a run with every Monday, or maybe there's a yoga class that you've been going to forever and you know the community that's there already. 

So pursuing those activities that give you a sense of ikigai can come more easily knowing that you have a place of belonging to begin with. And so for an expat, we need to take those steps to engage in those activities without having that sense of support and grounding, which can be kind of intimidating. You have to do it in a new place and a new culture and a new language. 

And that can be hard but we have to do it, and as we take those steps, we will find our ibasho because we are engaging in things that we give value to that are shared experiences with others, that they also value.

And so we have echoed values. And hopefully the more we engage in those types of things as expats, we will start to create ibasho. And we'll fulfil some of those needs of ikigai through that process. 

And it can be really challenging, you have to pick yourself up, you have to be proactive, you have to put forth a lot of effort, which we have to do to pursue ikigai anyway.

But in the expat context, again, we have to do it from a place where we have those language barriers, where we have those cultural barriers, where things can be intimidating sometimes. And it isn't always comfortable. And in fact, it very often is not.