It blows my mind that I am even writing this right now.
Within the next two weeks of January 2019, I am going to be packing up my bags, clearing out my belongings, and moving, yet again, to a different country.
I’m moving to Costa Rica.
For those of you who know me and know anything about me, shouldn’t be too surprised by this. I have lived abroad lots of times in various countries (3 different countries, to be exact) since I was 17 years old.
I love to travel — specifically extended travel — where I stay in a country for extended periods of time (at least four weeks) in order to develop routines, friends, and habits in those cultures.
It is an incredibly transformative experience, one that teaches you more about yourself, other people, making connections, and finding your place in the world.
I highly recommend it to anyone who feels the desire deep inside of them, to make the voyage. It’s worth it. I promise.
But this will be different.
This time, I will not be purchasing a return ticket.
Every time I’ve lived abroad before, there has always been a return date. A point in time that I must return to my home country, the United States, due to responsibility. Whether it was attending college, finishing my degree, or to pursue a masters, I always had an endpoint to the abroad experience.
This year, I will be attempting to make my life abroad more permanent.
Something happened this year…
I was attending my master’s classes at a university for international studies, stuck in a program that wasn’t right for me.
Going to class, not engaged, taking notes on topics that — although interesting — held no importance in my life, or what I was looking to do with my life.
I felt out of place and frustrated. Like I was just going through the motions of my own life.
What was I putting all this work into?
To get a 9-5 job in an office where I get 15 days of vacation a year?
Is this what all of this work was going towards?
I couldn’t believe it.
All my life I’ve been so excited to grow up.
Is this what I’ve been waiting for? Is this was all of this work was for?
I refused to believe that this was all that there was to my life.
I knew that I needed a change. A dramatic shift, to put my life back in alignment with what my personal goals are.
I knew that what I was working towards was the dream of someone else. The path I was on wasn’t the one my heart wanted me to be on, but instead was a compilation of advice, ideas, and recommendations from people who I admired and respected. All good recommendations that would have to lead me to a solid, predictable, and financially secure life.
I feel embarrassed in my privilege to say, that this was not what I wanted.
So I decided to make a change.
It wasn’t just one big change, it was a series of small changes.
I knew grad school wasn’t right for me, so I took a leave of absence.
I knew Costa Rica was where I wanted to be, so I found a program that met all my needs, found a job placement for me, working in a sector that I greatly enjoy, doing work that will add to my resume.
It took a lot of research, and a lot of small steps and a lot of money saved. It wasn’t easy, and the opportunity didn’t just fall out of the sky; it was something I had to apply to, work for, and compete with other applicants for.
It wasn’t easy.
But I didn’t want something easy.
I wanted something that would force me to learn, grow, and use my talents.
I have a knack for languages and communication. I speak three languages and am proficient in several more.
I wanted to be able to use my language skills on a daily basis, to sharpen and hone my talents.
I wanted to tackle complex, systematic problems in other countries. To use my brain to work on something in the real and physical world, not just theories to hypothetical problems.
I knew that in order to do these things, I needed to be in a different country, working with people to solve problems like pollution, poverty, and women’s abuse.
So that’s what I’ll be pursuing.
I hope to record and share this journey with all of you. To remind you and me, that I all is possible if we let go of the fear to pursue it.
Thanks for reading.