Geopats are people who are deeply culturally curious, feel connected with more than one culture and usually choose to live in a few of them. Or are they? I am a serial expat and have been searching for a term to describe people like me who share these characteristics.
Why not just use the term “expat?” Because we are usually not people who are sent overseas to work for a couple of years but instead people who move to a place to learn more about it and find work in order to stay there. Choice, yes geographic choice, is a large part of this population.
When I created the term geopat a couple of years ago in one of my podcasts, then called Over There and now called Geopats, I did so not as a way to judge business expats, immigrants, migrants or any other population that would fall under another living outside of a passport country term. I coined this term in order to try and understand my own geographically varied adult life and to identify more people with similar experiences so I could see what creative projects they were putting online, which was the focus of the podcast then. It has since changed, but that is for another article.
I have lived overseas more on than off since 2003, mostly in Asia, intentionally in different countries. While meeting expats over this time period I noticed that our “why” of moving outside our passport country fell into very different buckets: forced to move, asked to move and decided to move. I am not using the term “home country” here intentionally. For many of us our passport country does not feel like a home or feels like one but not the only one of our homes. Home really is a slippery term for geopats because it is not singular, nationalistic or genetic.
So, let’s recap the characteristics that may make up geopats so far in this article:
- a deep cultural curiosity
- a choice to move to the different country/culture
- usually but not always a desire to move to more than one country outside their passport country
Thank you to everyone who has been asking me about this term on social media recently. Your curiosity gave me the inspiration to ponder it some more.
What do you think? Are you an expat? Do you life/hate the term expat? Why?