After one year of living and working abroad, I’ve finally made the decision to move home in September.
And, surprise, I’ll be staying home for (a lot) longer than 22 days. If you had told me one year ago that I would be excited to move back to California and start a career…well, I would’ve thought you were crazy.
When I made the decision to move to Thailand to teach English, I knew it was only the beginning.
While I told my family it was only for a few months, I knew in the back of my head that I wouldn’t be moving home any time soon. At the time, I had no desire to begin a career, “settle down”, or do any of the things that you’re typically supposed to do when you graduate college. I honestly thought it would be a few years before I was ready for any of that.
Which is why it came as a shock when I realized I wanted to move back to the city I grew up in. I found myself thinking more and more about what I wanted to do long term (scary word, I know). I noticed myself being excited when thinking about going home. And at some point over the last few months, I started thinking less about the next country I was going to visit and more about the next job I was going to apply to on LinkedIn (I’m still a little bit confused about this myself so try not to question it).
I can’t tell you exactly how or when this happened.
The best answer I can give you is that at some point over the last year, my priorities changed. I stopped wanting to live in hostels and started yearning to live in an actual house (okay so it’ll be my mom’s house, but it’s fine). Living out of a suitcase began to lose its charm. The thought of finding a job that challenges me and leaves me with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day excites me.
Over the past year, I have seen parts of the world that some people will never get the chance to see. I’ve visited 14 countries, stayed in countless hostels, and checked off more items on my bucket list than I thought possible. For a lot of people, one year of working and traveling abroad seems like no time at all. And for others, it seems like an eternity. For me, it’s been the perfect amount of time to discover (a small part of) the world and myself. It’s given me the confidence to know that I can accomplish just about anything. It’s helped me discover new passions and dreams and given me the confidence to chase them.
A few months ago, I wrote a guest post on a fellow blogger’s website.
In it, I talked a little bit about not being afraid to “settle down” or start a career. And rereading that post now, I realize that I was scared of those things. I felt like accepting a typical office job or moving home meant that I was giving up or that I was failing. To me, it felt like a complete betrayal of everything I’ve sought to accomplish over the last year. What I realize now, is that it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to want different things than you wanted six months ago or even six days ago. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve failed…it just makes you human.
While I can’t wait to start my life in California, that doesn’t mean my life abroad is over.
Travel always has been, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life. It’s something that has helped shape the person I am and has made me happier than just about anything else. So just because I’ve accepted a more typical corporate job in America, doesn’t mean that one day I won’t find myself volunteering in one of the two continents I have yet to visit. It doesn’t mean that a year down the road, I won’t be working remotely from an island in Greece. And it surely doesn’t mean that my eagerness to see the world has gone away.