This is the post I am hosting. Enjoy.
I moved abroad for a lot of reasons, but many of them can be summed up
thusly: I wanted to break the cycle.
I wanted to leave a career I no longer enjoyed, I wanted to change
stagnant relationships with friends, I wanted to be visually and
emotionally inspired, I wanted to stay up late and laugh and be
present, instead of in pajamas by 6, TV on, bed by 10. I was tired of
feeling tired, I was tired of being in a rut so deep I could no longer
I got those things, and I am infinitely grateful. But I’ve been here
five months now, and a new rut is beginning.
My father was in the military when I was growing up, and we moved
every few years, all over the globe. I wouldn’t trade that life for
anything, but now that I’ve been on my own for nearly a decade, I’m
realizing that it affected me in some pretty particular ways – most
notably, right now, a need for adventure and constant change.
It seems I operate best under new circumstances. I’m used to being the
new kid, befriending people quickly, figuring out the system, the
movers and shakers, the unwritten rules. You could say I operate best
But how new is new? Five months in a very foreign country, literally
halfway across the world from home, and I already have started staying
in more, turning down trips out of town with friends, meeting fewer
people, spending nights at home in my hotel room. And with that comes
beating myself up about it, picturing going home and regretting my
lack of energy, my lack of trying.
Is it fair to the people I love to constantly change my circumstances,
my location, my phone number, my time zone? I’m not sure where my
instinct really lies: is it in being an adventurer, in trying new
things, in seeing new places and meeting new people; or is it in being
a homebody, cooking for myself, reading, getting lots of sleep.
I know that the answer is that it’s a little bit of both.
Tonight, I went with a new friend to a new part of town and watched a
parade, with groups of schoolchildren dancing and representing
different parts of their country. We stuck around for several hours,
taking photos, meandering, and at one point, we went into a fabric
store. My friend chatted up the proprietor and wound up getting a tip
for an excellent nearby vegetarian restaurant – “the ambiance is
terrible, but the food is out of this world” – with directions
hand-written on the back of an envelope. I saw the world through his
eyes for a minute, where everyone has something to offer if you only
dare to ask.
I felt like that for a while here. I felt engaged, interesting,
unafraid. I know I can feel that again, here or anywhere. The
challenge is in doing it, in that coming from inside me, instead of
from my circumstances.