What was she thinking?: How I decided to live abroad.
From my previous blog, you know why I decided to take some time off to travel the world.
Are you interested in how I did it? Maybe you want to take your own trip, or perhaps you are just curious as to how crazy I was. Either way, I'm here to tell you.
After admitting to myself that I wanted to travel, I allowed myself to consider that it may actually be a possibility for me. Even if it was as difficult as everyone said it was going to be, I was going to give it the same tenacity I gave to everyone and everything else.
I gave myself a deadline. By the end of the first quarter of 2018, I needed to in somebody else's country.
I felt like I had unfinished business in Europe, so I started researching. I was applying like crazy.
I was making my mother a little anxious because I wasn't applying for jobs in America in the interim. It all made sense to me. I didn't want to get distracted. I didn't need to work at that time and I wanted to give my all to meet my deadline. My efforts paid off. I was all set to teach English in Italy with a prestigious educator.
I was so elated. I went with my gut and it was paying off. Oh, but that's the movie version. Is this a movie? I think not.
In emailing the employer in Italy, I noticed something a bit off with the email. So I got an e-telephone number and called the number associated on the employer's website. Guess what... I was almost scammed.
I was almost catfished for a job. Their end goals I don't know. Maybe it was financial. Maybe I was almost taken. I try not to dwell on what could have been. To be honest my ego was also bruised. I had already accepted the 'job' offer and told people I was leaving soon. I took my lumps and got back on the ex-pat grind. I had wasted time and my deadline was fast closing in and I had promised myself that I wasn't going to let myself down.
At this point, I let go of my preconceived notions of how this was going to go, and instead I looked for the best method to get me what I wanted. My internet searches went from 'jobs that give visas' to 'easy visas for Americans'.
Boy oh boy, what a difference that made. One of the top results was the working holiday visa. I hadn't heard of it at this point, but I was intrigued. After a few days of research, I applied for my visa. Doubt had crept in and I was nervous to apply, but I wouldn't let myself back down.
The visa was approved and I was heading to... New Zealand. New Zealand is not quite Europe, but it's definitely not America.
For my trip to New Zealand, I am using an approach that I call the ‘free bird’...because I’m ‘winging’ it. Get it? I know, I know. It’s ‘pun-ny’! A lot of people either think this decision is premature or I’m being very ‘adventurous’ (read 'crazy'). Although I agree that my decision to live in another hemisphere sight unseen is a bit unorthodox, I don’t consider it as adventurous as others make it out to be.
This entire journey is a calculated risk. I admit that I didn’t have a ‘plan’ per se, but I did have a ‘thorough outline’. I thought in depth about what it would take to complete this journey. I questioned myself. I questioned whether or not I had what it takes to make it across the world.
The old 'err of the side of caution' tendencies started to peek up.
I would concoct these ‘the sky is falling scenarios’ and either talk myself out of it or be so preoccupied with the 'what-if's that I missed the moment completely. Then one opportunity came along and I took the leap of faith and it changed my life.
Long Story short: That experience taught me that good outweighs the bad and no matter what the situation brings I can handle it.
A coping mechanism for anxiety or self-doubt is to write out the worst-case scenario. We often get so wrapped up in the emotions of fear that the problem seems to be larger and more complex than it really is.
What were my concerns about going so far abroad.
Will I get 'taken'?
Probably not. I would fly from American airports directly to New Zealand which is one of the safest countries on Earth.
What if I can't find a job?
Then I will fly back to America and get that job that my mother says I should get (aka exactly where you are right now).
You don't know anyone there...
Yes, but you've made friends in new places before. You can do it again.
Honestly, those were all of my fears. When I write them down it seems like a simple choice, easily dealt with. I can't explain how much nervousness and second-guessing was involved in the decision to go.
Ultimately the deciding factor was me. I had to let go of all my insecurities and rely on the fact that I have a strong survival instinct that wasn't going to let me down.
PS for reference I have included my outline lest you think I made this decision lightly.