At some point or another, we have all thought about quitting everything and starting a new life elsewhere. At the very least, we have considered going somewhere for an extended period of time to get away from our current realities. Some of us have done it and some of us have not had the capability to do it, but we may always wonder what if we had. There are reasonable dependencies that will not allow for extended travel as we get older; health, kids, mortgage, bills, family, school, work, etc. How many of these could have been diverted at a younger age in order to move away for a brief period in order to embrace new experiences and immerse ourselves in a vast world we will only ever majorly get to experience virtually? What would we learn? Who would we meet? How much would really change about us, our loved ones, or what we leave behind?
Here are a few lessons I have learned from living abroad for a year:
1. When you have a relationship, it's not about you:
Whether it be a friendship, family, or s/o, the bond is developed by putting yourself aside. This can be hard to accomplish because there are expectations, conditionality's, lifestyle differences and personal goals in relationships. If you are going to have any kind of a strong relationship, put yourself aside, as long as you both do that, it will flourish.
2. Meeting people is easy for anyone:
Almost everyone wants to be met by others. The trick is to just be friendly but not overbearing. Ask questions but don't get too personal at first. Don't talk about yourself unless you're asked a question. You will meet some people who only love to talk without listening, but you won't have to deal with that convo for very long if they never ask you any questions. Keep meeting people until you find the right people for dialogue.
3. Don't be afraid of what you don't understand:
Embrace it. Be inquisitive. Inquire information. Ask questions. Try to learn more about said culture, topic, or event. This is how you become a world citizen.
4. When you make a choice, that is your path. Why regret?:
It's funny we can regret decisions made but what if we did the opposite? We could regret that too. Don't regret a decision. It's something you wanted at one time. You have no idea if the outcome of the opposite decision would have been satisfying. Live your life with no ragrets.
5. Even a 5 can pull a 10:
I've witness some amazing things in the past year, but one of the more amazing things was when my average friend pulled a very attractive foreign woman. How? Maybe it was the accent, or his deodorant. None of us really know. But maybe it was something else, maybe some things just aren't normal or meant to be explained with rational thought. Maybe it goes to show that normal can be destroyed by one weird night in small Italian towns. Not everything needs a reason, some things just happen.
6. Millions of problems in the world... You cannot solve them all:
Accept it. You cannot control the world's problems. What you can control is your outlook and your impact on them. Fix yourself and you fix a problem in the world. Michael Jackson telling us that if we want to make the world a better place, we need to look in the mirror, was the most everlasting message we could hear. Focus your efforts inward. Imagine the impact.
7. What you are searching for is internal:
You can go all around the world searching for something you can't describe. If you can't describe it, how can you expect to find it? We tend to believe that if we just keep looking for this mystical meaning, it will appear. The trick is defining meaning. What gives YOU meaning? That's what you are looking for. That answer is internal. The tool to discovering meaning is introspection. Reflect.
8. Comfort is the enemy of growth:
This has been a self evident lesson throughout the history of humankind. First explorers would have never discovered new lands without embracing that curiosity and fear of the unknown. First inventors would have never created anything useful without attempting something they did not fully understand. If anyone expects to grow, they must live comfortably outside of their comfort zones by embracing that which scares them.
9. If you want great, sacrifice good:
The good of the moment is so very tempting and easy to absorb and take in. The problem is that if you accept good of the moment, you will sacrifice the great of appreciation. In this instant gratification life we live, it is easy to be taken away by moments or opportunities that are just good. The more we accept the good moment, the less likely we are to appreciate the great ones. Sacrifice the good for great.
10. Chapters in life consist of transcending mindsets:
The discovery of neuroplasticity tells us that learning continues until death or disability. By knowing this, we can accept things we cannot change and move past them towards a mindset that continues to propel us forward. When you move past stale and old mindsets that set you back, you transcend into a new way of looking at life, leaving an old chapter behind, learning from it, and moving ever consciously into a new chapter. Don't get stuck on an old chapter, continue reading your journey forward.
These are just a few short lessons I have learned and considered on this adventure of travel and exploration. This adventure is one chapter in a long and rewarding book. The beauty in reading books, is not the beginning or the end, but it is the journey along the way. The journey of the book is where the appreciation, the lessons, the adventure, and the greatness of the story will always remain. Continue to fill your journey with adventure! What content have you filled your book with? What content will you choose to fill it with from here on out?