Arrived at my Google mailbox today
My adventure of living abroad so far has been exciting, fun and incredible. It’s been full of countless ups and downs and enough memories to last a lifetime. But along the way I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn more about myself and so much more about the world that I live in (after all that was some of the motivation behind me taking on these adventures). I feel that I have learned countless life lessons that I will hold with me forever. Sometimes you have to take the leap and push yourself far outside of your comfort zone, and there in that space is where you learn the most.
1. The world is such a MASSIVE place.
I always knew the world was a large place… I mean duh, you look at a map of the world and you can see how really huge it is. But once I started traveling and learning about new places and new cultures did it fully hit me how massive this world is. How full it is, full of distinct people, cultures, everything. Different is what makes things interesting, and what allows us to learn and widen our perspective. I guess that’s why they say travel is the best educator. Then I realized that I wanted to see it all and do it all… and that it might not be possible. But I want to explore as much of this world as possible, learn as much as possible. There are so many incredible places to explore, cultures to learn about, and people to meet.
2. You are not defined by your past… you have the ability to create your own future.
While I strongly believe that it is important to always remember your past, and learn from your mistakes… these mistakes don’t define you. You do not have to think of things in terms of what you were, or to feel that you’re held back by who you were… it’s okay to look forward and do what you can to become the person you want to be. I was once this shy, introverted person… and I was not happy like that. Moving abroad allowed me to redefine myself in a way, I didn’t have to be this shy, quite girl that I was… I could be this fun, extroverted person that I always wanted to be.
3. You are stronger than you think.
I have been put in situations that I never thought I would be able to handle, but actually going through them I realized… I was a whole lot stronger than I thought. We tend to underestimate ourselves sometimes, and sometimes it takes going through the difficult stuff to really grasp the difference. When we challenge ourselves to leave our comfort zones and to throw out the safety nets, we are able to more easily recognize the vulnerability that exists within ourselves. It can be scary at first, terrifying even… but it’s possible.
4. You should never, ever feel stuck or trapped anywhere.
Nothing is permanent. NOTHING. If you have a plan, or told someone that plan…that in no way means you are in any way obligated to follow through in that. If something is not for you, or you are not happy.. it’s ok to admit it. Don’t feel that you are admitting defeat by changing your plans. We are not trees, we are not fixed to one spot, we are made to move around (if we so choose).
5. Not knowing, or having uncertainty is OKAY.. you don’t need to always know everything.
I always thought I needed a plan. That I needed to know exactly where I was going and what I was doing… but these past few years, I haven’t really known.. I’ve kind of just been going with the flow…and everything has worked out just fine.. actually better than fine. I’ve had general ideas, outlines of what I’ve wanted to be doing, but I left the rest open…and somehow the rest has fallen into place perfectly. (and with less stress!)
6. There will be difficult moments, you will doubt yourself, question everything but you will get through it, and it will get easier.
There were so many moments where I was ready to give up, buy a plane ticket and move home. I thought, no way .. this isn’t for me I can’t do it…. but I gave it some more time… and it was okay again, I was happy. (October 24 2014). Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. I had to learn that when things get a little bit tough that does not mean that it’s time to throw in the towel and go home, sometimes you need to push back.
7. The importance of perspective.
Perspective is important. Sometimes problems are not nearly as big as they seem or feel. Sometimes things really are not as bad as they seem. I’ve learned how to take that perspective, to stop, take a breath, and think about what’s happening. Is it really worth being upset over? Nine times out of ten the answer is no. I’ve learned it’s pointless to complain or get upset about things that you can’t control.
8. Sometimes the only company you need is your own.
There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. It is important to learn to be alone and not feel lonely. While it’s ok to be lonely, there is a difference between the two. Learning to love myself, and enjoy my own company… well that took some time, but now that I do.. I FRICKEN LOVE MYSELF.
9. Change is good.
The decision to change your life is hard. Moving can be stressful, let alone moving abroad, to a country you don’t know, to live with people who talk a different language than you, who live their lives differently. But it is so worth it! Moving abroad not only expands your horizons, let’s you learn another language, gets you together with new people. It creates a new you. Making this change was hard, but it was good. Sometimes it is good to change things in your life, to help you change who you are as a person, to help you grow as a person.
10. Anything and everything is possible if you choose to go for it
All my life something like living abroad always seemed amazing, but most of all it really felt like a dream, something that was entirely out of my reach. It never felt like something that I would be able to make a reality, but here I am living abroad and this is my reality. It has lead me to realize that sometimes you just have to take that leap and try and reach your goals, don’t let anyone or anything make you feel like you can’t accomplish something. You need to just go for it and stop waiting, start doing.
But to be honest, living abroad has taught me more in the past 2 and a half years than I’ve learned in my entire life. Living both in Spain & Colombia have taught me many little things, but also some pretty big ones too….
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