Pondering moving abroad? and/or travelling the world?… take the leap and do it!
Ladies, let me start by reminding you that it's ok to not have a ring on your finger - of any kind! or be a mum by the age of 25. That is such an outdated and warped expectation which I doubt I'd be incorrect in assuming is one which most of us are guilty of holding at some point or other when we were younger. We all go through it, we all plan our futures in this militant and unhealthy fashion. By 20 I'll be here, by 25 I'll be here, by 30 I'll be here. We set cut off dates for ourselves! I know I'm guilty of it. Now don't get me wrong here, there's not a thing wrong with having a plan, a sketch if you like... and being ambitious. But it's all about balance! It needs to be ok if it doesn't work out exactly as we planned, we need to allow for some flexibility! otherwise we risk facing major disappointment when/if those ever looming cut off dates aren't met. I recently turned 26, and I'm heading a lot faster than I'd like directly towards 27. When I was 15, 16, 17, 18, even up until the age of 19 I always thought without any doubt that by the time I was 25 I'd be engaged, if not already married with a baby on the way. I expected to be done having babies by 30 - well and truly settled down in the big house with the big backyard and the two loveable dogs that me and my perfect husband would own, happy in our perfect marriage, being perfect parents for our perfect children - 2, maybe even 3 of them, a healthy mix of boys and girls (of course) Ah how naive I was! the comparison between what I thought I'd be doing at this age and what I'm actually doing is laughable really. But for me, that's just fine. I'm laughing joyously that it turned out the complete opposite to what I had idealised for such a big chunk of my teen years because it's exactly what I wanted all along, I just didn't realise it then!
Before I turned 21 I had 'that' life directly in my sights, it was right there on a silver platter for me ready and waiting whenever I wanted it. I had the long term boyfriend and we were crazy about each other. I knew 110% that he wanted all those things with me, the mortgage, the marriage, the babies... all those things that I thought I wanted too. I was headed down the correct path which would lead to me reaching those expectations that I'd set for my 25 year old self.
But when I was 21 I made a choice, one that I'm SOOO glad I made. Somehow, for some reason, and all of a sudden I just knew that if I continued down the path that I was on I would one day find myself very unhappy and filled with regret. I don't know how I knew, I just did. It could almost be described as an epiphany of some sort! My gut instinct was screaming at me to get off the path that I was on and onto a different one. So I listened to my (very reliable as it turns out) gut and made the decision to put a career and family/domestic life on hold while i went out to explore the world. I left my boyfriend, as difficult as it was and I threw myself into saving and planning.
18 months later when I was 22, I quit my job and I left. I took the leap and I said goodbye to the land down under, leaving the only home I'd ever known and all of my loved ones behind me. I didn't look back. I was off to see what I could find! I'd read about and heard stories of the beauty of Paris, the rich history of Rome, the crazy nightlife in Ibiza, the fastpace of London, the glistening beaches in the Algarve, euros, moussaka, and the most stunning sunsets in Greece, the rusticness, rolling hills and to die for wine in southern/rural Italy, tasty pork knuckle and delicious beer in Germany, the elusive and magical northern lights dancing in the night sky of the Scandis. I wanted to experience all of it! I was craving something different, something exciting, something new. Fast forward 4 years and I'm still living abroad, in London. Working, and travelling every chance that I get - I've visited 23 different countries in the last 4 years... all of those things and places that I mentioned above, I've seen and experienced myself - along with many more! I literally couldn't be happier.
Some of the places that I mentioned above! Paris. Santorini (Greece). Rome. The Algarve. Ibiza. Germany (Oktoberfest). Northern lights.
I realise now that I always wanted to experience this kind of life, this crazy, unpredictable, busy, terrifying, random, fantastic life. I'm so thankful to my 21 year old self for realising it too - and for being brave enough to give it a shot. She was brave enough to step outside of the safe, comfortable, predictable little bubble of a life that she knew so well and leap into the unknown. It was frightening! I had no idea what was going to happen next... but this incredible, vibrant, exciting life lay just on the other side of fear. I could see it, and I wanted it. It would have been so easy to give up and return home, and I'll confess that I very nearly did. The opportunity to retreat back to my safety net came up just weeks after I'd arrived. But it was what somebody else wanted, and I refused to get swept up in the tide of somebody else's dream, only to watch mine get washed away. I refused to leave. I faced the fear that I felt about the unknown and about going it alone head on - I just got on with it! and eventually i conquered it. I'm admittedly incredibly proud of myself. Here I am, still reaping the rewards of being brave enough and strong enough to stick it out. Once you get through the tough part, the amazing part is right there waiting for you on the other side. And I can confirm that it is in fact amazing!!! so much more amazing than i expected it to be. It's a special kind of amazing if you really open yourself up to it and fully embrace where ever it is in the world that you end up. No complaining about the climate, the people, the food, the culture. To fully experience, benefit from, and enjoy a place you need to embrace all of it! not only the great parts, but all the not so great parts too. It rains a lot in London, but I love it! I love it because I love this big beautiful city and the rain is a part of it's character 🙂 I've fallen head over heels for this place and it's because I opened myself up to it completely.
Now I know that not everyone is the same, everyone wants and enjoys doing different things. So I am fully aware that some of us are more than content to be comfortably settled down in our 20's - I'm not out to offend anyone! a lot of people I know back home have done exactly that and they're completely happy - they don't feel like anything is missing because what they have is exactly what they truly wanted (truly being key there) and so they feel whole. But I'm reaching out to the people who have the urge, that niggling little feeling but who are too afraid to make it happen and take that final step. So they squash the niggle, they ignore it and pretend like they're completely happy when under the surface they feel like something is missing. Your dreams will remain nothing more than dreams unless you're brave enough to turn them into reality! If you're anything like me, this kind of life and travelling the world is a big part of what will one day make up your whole, without it you'll have a big gap that will leave you forever feeling like something's missing. And I'm telling you, this will be it. This will be what's missing. Experiences.. adventure.. seeing all the different and incredible parts of the world.. the new and unknown. That will be what's missing one day when you have everything else. You'll have the house, the dogs, the hubby, the kids, the job, but you'll have missed taking full advantage of your youth. I'm so thankful to my 21 year old self for realising that. How she knew remains a mystery...it's beyond my brains capacity!
A few more of the many unbelievable places I've been lucky enough to visit so far, and others that I'll be jetting off to this year! ❤️ Venice. Florence. Lake bled. Dubrovnik. Tuscany (Chianti). Piltvice lakes. Budva. Mostar. La spezia.
Picturing myself settled down with a kid right now makes me shudder... I know that I still want those things, and it will happen one day. But I'm so glad that it's not where I am right now. I'm just not ready yet! Although i have been lucky enough to meet someone quite incredible on my journey, someone who is potentially the love of my life, someone who I can actually see those things with in the future... we're very happy together. But settling down is still nowhere in sight! I (him too) have got too much to see and do first - stuff that you can't do with kids in tow and stuff that you can't do without youth as your ally either! For those of you who might be reading this thinking 'that's exactly what I want to do' ... bloody go for it! Even if it's just for 6 months, with or without someone. It's scary at first, especially if you're going it alone, but in my opinion the scarier and more challenging that it is, the bigger the rewards will be! Don't ignore the niggle! because if you do, one day down the line it may become one of your biggest regrets. Here's why I made the choice to do it, and I hope it encourages you to do it too.
I did it so that my youth wouldn't slip by without me having experienced it to the full... without having milked my 20's for all they're worth because once they're gone, they're gone! There's no rewind button and I think a lot of us fail to appreciate that fact until it's too late. I did it so that I could see, experience and learn about the whole world, not just one part of it. I did it so that I would be forced to face challenges and adversities on my own that would teach me how to be smarter and stronger when managing tough situations. I did it so that I would learn and grow, so that I would begin to see everything and everyone through new eyes, different eyes to the ones I'd always seen through before - and I do. I'm more grateful, more understanding, more empathetic, more calm, more wise, more helpful, more ambitious, more mature, more generous, and much stronger. You're only young once! and having regrets scares the shit out of me. So I'm doing all that i can to make sure that in 20 years time I won't be sitting there thinking "Shit. I wish I'd done that" instead I'll be thinking "my 20's were fucking amazing, I wouldn't change a thing!"
If you're considering it, stop considering it and just do it! Take the leap. Trust me, it's more than worth it 😉
Over & out x