Seven months ago I returned home to the States from what was the greatest experience of my life. I was in Europe for a little under a year last year. While there, I created some of the best memories I have to date. I learned a monumental amount about myself and was also pointed into a direction of lifelong travel and a career that excited me for the first time in my life. I made friends who became brothers and developed European crushes that remind me of sweet memories, still. Every moment of the experience was the best moment of my life. So, I’m moving to Europe. . . again.
Moving to Europe
Next month, I am going back. I’m returning to Europe for my second go-round and I couldn’t be more excited. I already have plans to meet up with friends whom I haven’t seen in almost a year. I have plane tickets booked to see places I’ve never been. And in my mind, the opportunities ahead of me are endless. And yet, I still have an underlying fear about it all.
I’m scared that my first time in Europe, perhaps the greatest nine months of my life, can’t be topped. I’m afraid that everything I do from now on will be compared to my first time abroad. When I see some of those friends that I called brothers a year ago, I fear that we won’t have the same connection and we will feel out of touch. Like lightning can only be trapped in a bottle once.
I have no reason to believe that the start of my lifelong journey as a traveler will be anything short of awe-inspiring. I have so many friends from around the world and so many new possibilities to look forward to – there’s no way that I will ever feel alone. At least, that is what I keep telling myself.
Honestly, I do believe in pre-trip jitters. The nerve that fills your mind before you set out on any life-altering expedition keeps you occupied throughout the day, every day; which is how it should be. Hell, if I’m not pursuing a career that keeps me alive – that keeps my brain turning every day waiting to learn and appreciate life – then what am I doing with my life?
It is hard not to believe that things will be different. I’ve been telling myself that for some time now. I don’t want to get hung on what used-to-be and miss out on what could-have-been. As I was doing travel research before my first time abroad, my mind was circling around what I read about experiencing culture shock and loneliness after the high of being in a new world wore off. I felt that I prepared myself for what was to come; I was prepared to feel alone. And I attribute that initial preparedness as a big reason why I never once felt a bit of culture shock or lonesomeness in the nine months that followed.
I hope my mind’s state is me doing that exact same thing with the second go-round. Hopefully, I’m just preparing myself not to compare every little thing about my second time living in Europe to the first time. Because if I do, there is no way my second experience living abroad will live up to expectations.
Get the mind right
What it comes down to is having an open mind. During my first time living abroad, I told myself that I was going to say “yes” to everything that came my way during my experience. I did that and I can vouch that it is truly the best way to make you open up to anything. Anything that might intimidate you or confuse you, you soon learn and create a memory from it. The main goal when living in a different culture is to let the journey guide you. Let it take you in the direction that it wants to go.
Am I intimidated? Yes. This week has been particularly intimidating. I sold all of my belongings here in the States and have fully committed to a life on the road. If my second experience isn’t as good as the first, it has me worried that I will feel lost in life. I think that is the main reason for this post.
However, in the end, I know that this nomadic lifestyle is the only thing that brings me alive and there is no reason I should be worried about what is to come. No matter what, I will always have a home to come back to here in the States. However, the better way to look at it is there are many homes to be gained all around the world. It is only the start of this career journey and there is no reason to have the pre-trip butterflies. This is the right move for me.
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