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South African traveller weighs in on the pros and cons of moving abroad

Many are lured overseas with the prospects of a better life but is life on the other side of South Africa really greener?

South African digital marketing maverick, entrepreneur and content creator Mark Sham recently took to X (formerly Twitter) to discuss the pros and cons of moving abroad for South Africans.

“For anyone thinking about leaving South Africa permanently, I’d like to attempt to share a balanced perspective on this topic as a well-seasoned traveller and someone that has lived away from home… There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs,” said Sham.

The seasoned traveller also goes on to highlight that, on paper, there are many things wrong with South Africa, and he doesn’t fault those who decide to leave.

However, the issue is most people think the act of leaving is the solution, when really, all they’re doing is trading one set of pros and cons for another.

“Sometimes people are so focused on what they don’t like about about their home country while simultaneously taking the amazing aspects for granted. You only really understand the intrinsic value of these overlooked qualities when you’re on the other side of the world for a while.

“The problem is, once you’re in a new country, and once the rose tinted glasses come off, there will be many other things you don’t like on that side of the world, too,” said Sham.

Sham also goes on to highlight the cons of leaving country and he encourages people to leave if they really want to.

“We live in a global world, and it’s not true that just because you’re born somewhere, it means you have to stay there forever. The only advice I ever add is just make sure you have many good reasons to arrive in a new place.

“Running away from something will make moving even harder than it already is,” he explained.

His post received traction on X, with many South Africans commenting on the post.

X user @FPL Bok commented: “100%. I was in London for 5 years and then decided to come back to South Africa and live in the Western Cape. My quality of life and happiness has increased exponentially. Grass is definitely not greener on the other side.”

To which Sham responded: “Look, I’m totally biased but it’s so hard to beat Cape Town 🤣 I’ve recently setup a base that side after many years of threatening to do so. I lived in London for two years and I loved all the experiences on my doorstep.

“I also loved the ease of travel. But Cape Town 😍.”

@Nazrene Mannie commented: “This spoke to me! Having spent 4 years in Geneva, I can appreciate all that it offered and loved the experience.

“But we paid (through the teeth) for the efficiency and bureaucracy that made everything work. We came back to SA for family reasons & know it was the right choice.”

Sham replied: “And so your reply resonates with me. I currently live between SA and Zurich. I love Switzerland for a million reasons but there are some very real trade-offs that side too.

“This is why I like to move between the two. But boy oh boy, those two places are different 🤣.”

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