Before I ever decided to move abroad, I had many friends in my life who were world travelers and lived abroad at different points in their lives and many still do. I always looked at them with such envy for their strength and bravery to just walk into a new life. I never thought of myself as someone with that kind of courage.
The act of travel changes us. It expands our minds to new cultures, new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking. And sometimes if we are really lucky, it exposes our true passion in life, raw and unfiltered, staring you in the face. That is one way I could describe my first trip to Italy. Once I saw what I saw and experienced that first taste, I couldn’t look back. I couldn’t escape my desire to spend more time around this place, so here I am.
It sounds so simple but its really not. It never is. I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life to do this. Yes there are challenges here – a lot! Yes I deeply miss my family, friends and animals – a lot! Life is not always perfect, anywhere! But I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. I am so different and inspired everyday. That’s always the case in life. No matter where you are or what you do, sometimes you go through shitty experiences and sometimes you have the most amazing life-changing, thought-provoking experiences. It’s always like that. Just like your mom’s chicken noodle soup will always taste like home no matter where you are. Take comfort in it all because all of these experiences make us uniquely us.
Now I get it, traveling is like falling in love. Once you are bitten by the bug, you cannot escape it. It becomes part of you. It changes your mindset, always for the better I do believe and always leaving you craving more. You can’t go back to the comfortable life you once knew before or even who you were. You can’t settle for a normal, mundane existence because you know firsthand of a bigger and better one out there. You don’t know exactly how to keep this new hungry bug fed and happy but you just know that you will figure it out.
If you are anything like me, you learn that sometimes you have to let go of some of your heavily engrained personality defects like being a control freak and perfectionist haha why yes, I am a dark tortured artist at heart, its in our nature! 😉
One day you wake up and you realize you are now part of this secret club of expats all over the world. There are people all over just like me, who leaped (more like face planted in my case) out of their comfort zone and into a foreign country with different languages, styles, processes, everything. They understand the roller coaster of emotion that comes with living abroad. They understand the frustrations of dealing with immigration offices, people who don’t speak English and because you don’t speak their language well enough to understand what the fuck they are trying to tell you; you’re the asshole, and all the shit you just don’t understand because it simply doesn’t make any sense. So why do we deal with all of this? Because its a freakin amazing experience!! And how do I deal with this? I personally usually try to cure it with some humor because what other option is there really? It’s that or tears so I usually shoot for humor. I often joke about Italy being the loveliest third world country I’ve ever been to or about how Steve Jobs unfortunately did not rub off on this place because nothing is intuitive. It still makes me chuckle as I write this, because its all kinda true! Basically, the internet, phone and all customer service in general is pretty much shit here. I even have met some Italians that agree about all of this stuff and yet they love their country, as do I!!
I have lived long enough to experience a successful career, be a homeowner with all of the responsibilities that come with it and continued to make more money every year consecutively for the last 10 years or so. I was by no means rich but I was comfortable to do what I wanted and I did it all on my own. I basically walked away from all of that comfort to live abroad. What I have learned from it all is that yes money is important in life but experiences are priceless. I wholeheartedly believe that if you are doing what you love and are truly where you want to be, you will grow exponentially as a person and the money will come. I’m not sure exactly where I’m going but I know I am on the right path. Although there are many things in a foreign country that make you feel uncomfortable at times, knowing there are so many people out there that are in the same boat as you and “get it” helps, knowing that I inspire people that I look up to helps, and knowing the love and support I receive from all over the world makes me smile. 🙂