I can still remember the feeling of uncertainty when and nervousness on that first plane ride moving to China. I had left everything back home that I had worked hard for as well as my family and friends to make a life change for myself. It was a big risk that really did turn into a big reward. It doesn't make life perfect or easy all the time but making a change myself and really doing it sure does feel good.
Now that I am back home (in the US) for a short time I have had a lot of free time to really reflect on all my travels and time abroad. I can think of so many things I am grateful for but these are my top five best things about moving abroad.
1.Opens your eyes and mind
I am pretty sure I have mentioned this in most of my posts This truly is something special and really not something you can grasp until you have traveled and immersed yourself in a culture very different than your own. It makes you become more compassionate and understanding of others. You can truly realize that though we may seem so far opposite, that people really are the same all over the world and there is so much more you can relate to. It also helps you to appreciate what you have and be that much more grateful for where you come from.
2. Lifelong friendships
I can’t express enough how much the people I have met along the way mean to me. When you are thrown into a unique situation where you must adapt yourself you really become close to those around you. They are your family, support system and the bond you create is very special. I am very lucky to have lifelong friendships with people I met while working in China as well as people who we came in contact with during our travels. It is truly special to know people from all around the world from all different walks of life.
This is an obvious choice but the ability to travel to different countries while living in a country abroad is so exciting. It of course is less expensive to travel in Asia while living in Asia and so many amazing places to choose from. I had the opportunity to visit 5 other countries during my time there as well as several places throughout China.
4. Gain courage and confidence
I have always been somewhat of an introvert and quiet person and a part of me still is. However, this has helped me grow so much in getting out of my comfort zone, trying new things and opening up to people. I am not afraid anymore to travel alone and be alone. One of the main things that friends and family tell me is that they think I am so brave for what I have chosen to do. Maybe they are right but I have felt nervous many times its more about having to push past that to accomplish what you want.
5. Let go of material things
I have not once regretted selling my car, home and most of my possessions before moving. I still buy more clothes than I need on occasion but it really has made me rethink what is important in life and belongings are not my first choice. It is also limited what you can take with you, so it forces you to be more conservative in your possessions. I choose to spend my money on my experiences over things, which gives me much more happiness in return than any cute outfit will.
My next adventure will be teaching in Singapore. I can’t wait to live, work and explore this beautifully clean and exquisitely designed city. I hope to encourage others to take risks in their own lives whether it be moving aboard or anything else. It may not come out exactly how you planned but the important part is to try.
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”