Not in a million years did this girl think she’d live in America for one year. Not without her parents. Or cat.
To be honest, I never truly understood the fascination with travelling. Booking a one-way ticket to a foreign destination and not knowing what to expect sounded terrifying, not exciting.
Not to mention you were giving up everything in your real life for a temporary fixation.
It was at aged 20, in the middle of my second year at University, when a flyer caught my eye. Study abroad for one year, it proclaimed. It was fate.
At that point, my life pretty much sucked; I dreaded my shifts as a part-time assistant at Tesco and University was boring. Plus, my friendship group had broken up over a stupid argument.
Life was starting to kick in. I needed to figure out what my heart wanted and learn to take risks to survive adulthood.
Here’s how my year abroad changed my aspirations.
Choosing To Live Abroad
As someone who previously needed structure – even if that included agonising tasks – it wasn’t easy to convince my subconscious to give up everything I was doing for a temporary exploit in Plattsburgh (upstate New York).
An inspiring seminar about my year ahead and trolling the internet for images of my elected accommodation, location and bulletins had me bursting with excitement. This was too good of an opportunity to let pass by.
New York was always the holy grail. It’s where stars are born and dreams are found.
What Living Abroad Taught Me About Me
I was the complete opposite of a vagabond, 12 months prior. We are surrounded by such negativity and people sympathising with their regretful choices. My mind was always focused on succeeding and living a happy life, yet none of my day was being filled with what made me happy.
University was a bore and I knew I didn’t want to be a poet, novelist or newspaper journalist. Nor, did I envision my life full-time at Tesco. There was no inspiration surrounding me and my aura was quickly shattering.
Living abroad taught me that you have to step out of your comfort zone to achieve great things. More specifically, you have to live your life and try things!
If you don’t, you’ll be stuck doing the same things for the rest of your life – and probably the things you hate!
A famous quote says, ‘if you do not like your life, change it. You are not a tree’, yet why do so many people continue to be unhappy?
People feel that they’re accomplishing their destinies by looking forward to the weekend and dreading Mondays because it signifies their ability to get on with things.
But is what we were really born for? To get through the day and look forward to lying on the bed for a measly six hours sleep? That might be what some are content with, but it’s certainly not how I envision my life.
Sitting on the famous steps in Times Square, browsing through Macy’s and taking snaps of the infamous Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building brought all of the mythical edifices you see on films to life.
It erupted my world as I knew it and blew my mind that if I could be in this very place I’d only imagined about, then I can do anything.
Suddenly seeing the impossible before my very eyes gave me perspective on my life. I made the choice to live abroad for a year, so I could easily make another positive choice regarding my career.
Here was the shy girl from a boring town grabbing life and shaking it up. And enjoying it. I’d never felt so alive. Happy. Excited about my future. When you’re a student, everything gets too much. There’s constant pressure about what you’re going to do with your life. Hell, I didn’t even know where my favourite hair bobble was, let alone what career to choose.
The vibe in New York was so beguiling and addictive that I intend on doing whatever possible with my remaining life to recreate that feeling. No more unhappiness with a job. No more worrying about money. But to be energised and receptive to whatever life throws at me. If I’m not happy with what lands in my lap, I can change it and take another route.
The world is full of places and choices, so you should ever feel stuck.
Travelling is my drug. There’s nothing else in the world that compares to discovering a new city and falling in love with the world. We mindlessly toss so many negative vibes out into our universe, that it’s liberating to catch some positive rays in our beautiful world.
Set out positive vibes and you’ll receive them.
Want some advice about studying abroad? Feel free to message me!