If living in another country was easy, everyone would do it, right? Not hardly. Less than half of the U.S. population holds a passport, and I’m here trying to change that – one inspiring blog post at a time.
| Be a Yes Person |
When the clock stuck midnight on January 1, 2013, I deemed it the Year of Yes. Not a week later I debuted on primetime television and was shown gallivanting through California, Montana, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Three months later, I moved across the country from DC to LA. That wasn’t good enough for me, so I took it a step further and moved continents. Saying yes to an international move was the best decision I’ve ever made, but it didn’t stop there. To immerse yourself in a culture, you must say yes to many things you might want to say no to. That includes girl dates, boy dates, friends of friends dates. Get out and meet people. Saying no hinders the whole experience. Okay, let’s practice. “Should you move abroad?” “YES.”
| Less is More |
Even though I tried very hard, I couldn’t fit my whole life into 2 suitcases to bring with me overseas. But I learned that that’s okay. I don’t have some luxuries at my fingertips like I once had in the States, but you learn to either get by or take a select few with you…like I did with my Keurig coffee maker. No K-Cups left behind.
| Learning a New Language Isn’t Easy |
You think your high school Spanish knowledge will get you by in Argentina? Jajajaja (that’s how the Argentine’s laugh.) I was hit with a fat reality check upon landing at the airport in Buenos Aires. Between the different dialects and the extreme speed at which the locals communicate, I was reverted down to beginner real quick. It takes time and effort to get better, as well as embarrassing yourself a lot.
| The Movies Got It Wrong |
From idolizing the Olsen twins as they were frolicking around Paris and soaking up the sun in the Bahamas, my generation was raised on glamorized half-truths and idealized adventures. Word to the wise: Not all travel is daisies and rainbows. It’s not effortless or easy. The movies just leave out the hard times. No matter how many trips I take to Rome, I’ve never been invited to sing on stage at the Colosseum like Lizzie McGuire. Ugh.
| Get a Boyfriend or Roommate or Both |
Loneliness can come creeping in upon your move to another country. I was the lucky one and moved 3 months after my boyfriend, who’d already made an apartment (somewhat) a home. Of course it needed a woman’s touch, but I came in with a great place to live, an insider’s help on what to do, and the best thing ever – a roomie/best friend/boyfriend. He’s made my time so incredibly happy down south in Argentina. It’s also the fastest way to cut your rent in half!
| It’s Okay to Talk Shit About Your Adopted Country |
It’s only natural to get mad, sad, or frustrated with your new home. Think of it like a relationship. A range of emotions will most likely accompany you during the move, and you’ll have to learn how to deal with them in stride. It’s a whole new world out there and normalcy may seem far, far away. Learn to appreciate where you are in your journey, even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season has a purpose. Knowing this makes life a little bit easier.
As for me, I have a love-hate relationship with Argentina. The steaks are a meat lovers dream come true and the Malbecs will make you a wine snob in no time. The city itself exudes Latin American charm and European flare from the sultry tango to the beautiful architecture. The location allows me to easily travel to many other cities around South America since Buenos Aires is such a big hub. But say you’re at work one day and the internet goes out. The electrician will get there when he gets there. Say you’re pressed for time and need a quick meal. That doesn’t really exist here. You need some kind of electronic? You either won’t be able to find it or it’ll be double the price. Argentina’s economic state is shit, too, if you haven’t read the news lately. I realized I can’t compare the third world to the first world, and I’ve enjoyed my time much more!
| Travel Changes You |
Stepping out of your comfort zone is beyond beneficial. I’ve learned more trying to navigate new cultures than trying to navigate Southside High School. Traveling expands your thinking, contacts, memories, and livelihood. If people didn’t allow the grass to grow under their feet and got out more, the world just might be a better place. It’s a great way to avoid misunderstandings, war and suffering. It’s simply a matter of not having a preconceived idea of what something or someone is, but rather going to see what something or someone is. If you don’t have a passport, get one. There are lessons that you can’t get out of a book, waiting for you on the other end of that flight. Travel will change you, for better or for worse. For me it was luckily for the better.
Have you ever lived abroad? Tell me what you learned below!