June 20th, 2020
Fulfillment comes at a cost; good or bad, we’ll pay the price for every choice we make. A big turning point in my life was when I had to choose between home and stability or breaking away and risking the unknown. Life abroad has been an adventure, but not all days are good days.
I’ll never forget my first solo trip to New York City. I took the wrong train (or was it the subway?) three times and ended up miles away from where I was supposed to be. Eventually I found my way back to where I started, alone with a lot of luggage late at night. I ended up taking an overpriced taxi to my accommodation – utterly defeated.
The entire year I spent in Seattle I did not meet a single South African. No one there could speak my language or relate to my experience of culture shock.
Not long after moving to Seattle, one of my closest friends set a date for her wedding and asked me to be a brides maid. As an Aupair I didn’t earn enough money to book a 15 hour flight in the middle of my contract year, and I regret to this day that I could not attend. That wasn’t the only wedding I missed out on, along with birthdays, anniversaries, you name it.
In the last three years I only spent one Christmas at home with my family. I dealt with losing a grandmother and a dog without the comforting embrace of someone I’ve known all my life.
Last year, after having the best time with friends in Peru, I faced a 32 hour journey (three flights and nine hours at an airport) without company.
Earlier this year on a sunny Saturday in London I was making my commute from the airport to the city. I sat opposite a lady who seemed to have said goodbye to a loved one, sobbing shamelessly. The honest expression of a strangers pain had me catching my own tears in my scarf, for I was also nursing a broken heart. Crying with a stranger on a train in a foreign country is a different type of loneliness.
Physical factors like getting sick or constantly having to deal with jet lag doesn’t make the emotional struggle any easier. But ask me anytime if I am happy with the way I chose to live my life, the answer will always be YES.
As much as this journey can sometimes be a lonely one, every step of the way is liberating. Every road has its obstacles and we’ll always have to make sacrifices along the way, but in the end it’s the rewards that make it worth it.
Let me know what you had to give up to live the life you always dreamed of and if it was worth it in the end.
This is a follow-up on my previous post A travelers pursuit. In this ‘Traveler’ series (which happened unintentionally) I touch on what it means to be a traveler. The next post will be about the rewards of a life outside of ones comfort zone, which will be my first guest feature by Hello City Girl. 😀
Please let me know If you have any suggestions for more topics related to this subject or if you’d like to share your story on my blog. We may not be able to travel at the moment, but we can still connect and share experiences whilst looking forward to brighter days!