I’ve honestly thought about living abroad since I was 15. Anyone who’s ever had a Tumblr (millennials) will attest to how beautiful those traveling photos look. You can literally feel the Arizona sun on your back and feel the crowds of applause standing in the middle of the Coliseum.
You could say I caught travel wonder.
I know we all get a bit teary-eyed when we think we could spend next week at the Eiffel Tower instead of sitting at a desk or at our customer service job. But why don’t we just do it? What stops us from booking that flight, saving that money, telling others about our big dreams?
I believe the truth lies in our comfort. At least for me, it was. We would like to use that really cheap airline discount we get as a work perk or through a friend but what if our dog gets sick or our significant other gets tired of us taking off without them? I have these thoughts. I've had them for most of my life. What I've found is this only comes from a place of fear. I'm really worried that I'll move, figure out I hate it, run out of money, or I'll have to come right back. And those are really valid points, but so what? At least I'll have gone. At least I'll have had the chance to try. You can't fail if you try. The same as in fashion, sports, art; the same as in life.
I understand that we may not be in the right situation. Maybe you've got a newborn baby and it’s just not the right time. Or maybe you've just paid for a 4-year school and there’s no money left. I get it. I really do.
In my opinion, the pros will always outweigh the cons. Traveling alone or with friends is a wonderful way to challenge your mind, body, and soul. Living in a new place challenges you to adapt to customs, to learn new things such as a new language or currency, and get to know more than just things about your immediate surroundings. It helps you to really appreciate the privilege of where you grew up and the ability to travel.
So far, on my journey of moving provinces (which is not the same as moving abroad, but feels like it), I've had to learn French, look at the laws that will be changing, look at the cost of living, make new friends in a second language, explore the culture of the neighborhood I'm in, get a new job, and figure out how to move all my things in an affordable manner (without the help of parents or a moving service). All things I could have done otherwise, but moving out of my comfort zone has moved these things from optional to important. It's made me a lot more mature, that's for sure.
As I move from Toronto to Montreal this fall to learn French and study, these are my thoughts for my 18-year-old self who did not think she was able to do it.
More and more people make the big move to a new place to grow and capture more opportunity. The time is now and it’s never been more perfect. So the next time you see that dream flight you’ve been planning to take, I hope you take it. Life is too short to live stagnantly.
And after all those cliches, do you really want to wake up one day and realize that you never did the things you dreamt of when you were young because you were too scared? Or too lazy?
No, you're too cool for that. You're ready to take your next step into your goal life. I'm so proud of you, and you should be too.