All day I’ve been debating with myself about whether or not to write this post. I have all the feels but none of the words, which makes writing a concise blog update a little tricky to say the least. On top of that, even the feels don’t know what they’re up to. So for those of you looking for definitive lessons on my two years abroad… I hope there will be something in here for you. I’m going to try the best I can.
Let me just say this: these past 24 months have been both the best and most difficult of my life.
Travelling alone is a very unique and self affirming experience, one that also comes with a lot of pitfalls. There’s the stress of having to make all the decisions on your own, taking responsibility for anything that goes wrong, and the fear of situations where being a solo traveler may put you at more of a risk. But the biggest of all is the loneliness. Now most of the time I’ve been filling my days with all the things. I’ve lived and worked with other travelers, I’ve jumped on planes/trains/buses to explore whatever’s grabbed my attention, I’ve attended university, and I’ve consumed books and films and series.
But for all the highs, the in-between times can get pretty low. Those are the times when you think about everything you left behind, and you begin to wonder “Was it worth it?”. The friends you’ve grown distant from, the familiar comforts of home, everyone moves on with their lives and you’re just there, hopping from one place to the next. It can all feel very isolating.
So why do I do it then? Why not be happy with what I’ve achieved and go home?
Because I’ve come to realize that this is the life I want. And I know it’s not the same for everyone, but out here in the world I feel like I can finally breathe. I feel freer and happier than I ever did before, and my life holds so many possibilities now. I can speak French, I can socialize without feeling sick with anxiety, I can discuss real global issues with real thoughts and ideas. I have real thoughts and ideas! And for everything I miss out on back home, I know there are a hundred opportunities waiting for me to discover.
So yes, there are times when I wish I hadn’t left, when I think about the job and the life and the people I had on my little island in the south pacific, and want everything to go back to the way it was. But then I remember what drove me to leave in the first place and I know that this was the right choice. It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it’s my right choice. There are definitely days when I forget, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
I left my old life behind exactly two years ago today. I have feelings about that. But I’m doing alright.