In the days and months leading up to my departure I’ve gone through a variety of emotions. Something I think is very common among first time jet setters. Technically I’ve left the country before, and sadly in my few months of time away combined throughout my life I’ve seen more of the world than 95% of Americans probably ever will. But this is different, this is life changing, this isn’t just a few weeks, this is a YEAR! I mean assuming I make it that long and don’t get kicked out or deported first (both not necessarily out of the question). But as I approach the final few months before my departure I’d like to share a few emotions and thoughts I’ve had that I’m sure go through everyone’s head before engaging on any long term long distance journey. Not only to let you know that you are not alone, but that these emotions and minor panic attacks are completely normal and all a part of the process.
#1: AM I FUCKING CRAZY? HOW DID I EVEN GET TO THIS POINT?
I still have a brief moment every day where I think this exact thought. Does what I’m doing even make sense? How did I go from drunkenly Googling trips to being locked in to a one-way plane ticket? What I’ve learned since my first initial hesitation a few months back is the best way to combat this is force yourself to be locked in. Anyone can talk about doing something but once you’ve made a financial commitment, not only does it become “real” but it also forces you to evaluate exactly what you need to do next to prepare yourself.
The next thing that has done wonders for me in terms of calming any doubts I may have, may seem simple, to some even conceded but its worked wonders for my confidence. Simply talk about it! Tell people what you’re planning, not that you’re “thinking” about doing it, show them your itinerary, tell them all the places you plan to visit, and share your excitement with them. This isn’t meant to throw it in others faces that you are “better” than them for taking a leap of faith, for me, it’s really come down to personal accountability. I’ve told SO MANY PEOPLE… I literally HAVE TO GO! At this point there is no backing out, because if I did not only would I be a disappointment to myself but I will have also let down everyone else I’ve made a part of my journey.
The other thing I’ve found when discussing with people is that it helps to quell your fears because everyone “has a friend” that did something like what your doing. I have a ten-foot list of people I’m supposed to meet when I get to Australia, simply by talking to people about my wanting to go. “You’re moving there? That’s awesome I’ve got five friends who moved over there to surf and never came back! I’ll give you their info you have to see them!”
This has happened to me countless times at this point, and while only a few of these potential leads have actually panned out so far, its refreshing to know that one, I’m not the only person stupid enough to do this, and two, I may meet some friendly faces right away.
#2: WHAT DO I DO WHEN I ACTUALLY GET THERE?
I guess I can’t really answer this one for sure since I haven’t actually left yet. But I did find a program that helped calm my nerves a little. I’ve enlisted the services of Greenheart Travel, an awesome travel assistance company that helps people find work overseas to help fund their wanderlust. While this isn’t exactly in tune with the whole idea of moving to take a leap of faith, it did offer me quite a bit of relief. While I’m going overseas to have an adventure and learn more about myself I’m also a very pragmatic person and sometimes I have trouble getting out of my comfort zone. Working with a program directive helped offer me some guidance and a sort of crutch for traveling abroad and not being sure what exactly to do when I get there. Though I have enlisted their help and paid for their services I am in no way bound to them, they simply offer a helping hand should I need one.
I can’t speak for other places around the world but for Australia specifically I do know you don’t need any kind of program to help you over there. You can show up and apply for a work/travel visa when you get there, and if that’s more your style to literally “wing” it to the ultimate degree then I say go for it. However if you’re more like me and know you want a huge change but don’t know if you have to wherewithal to do it on your own, I would highly suggest doing some Google research and looking for a work/travel assistance program to whatever part of the world you wish to see.
As far as what to do for pleasure when I get there? That to me seems to be the easy part. Multiple friends and acquaintances have told me that the best thing to do is find a local watering hole, and simply start talking. It’s a pretty weird feeling to think that all of a sudden you are the cool, interesting foreigner, and I don’t think it will hit me till it happens the first time. But having gone to college and frequented bars as I have, we’ve all seen the English, Australian, whoever he is that seemingly has women flock to him as soon as he opens his mouth… THAT’S YOU NOW! And if there was ever a time to simply be yourself and experience life to the fullest where better than a place where the women love Americans because we still have a sense of chivalry (apparently Aussie men are Assholes; more on this theory when I see for myself). My goal is to be the “yes man”. Let my cool accent lead me where it may and say yes to any adventures that may arise simply because I talk, “like a Yankee”.
These are just a few of the first questions I will address. As it says in my bio this is more of a free-form blog, really an open door into my mind, which means truthfully, totally chaotic and all over the place. Please keep up with me on my travels and adventures and I hope it can help serve as a tool to inspire a journey of your own!