It might not seem like a big deal to you.. but it is a HUGE deal to me. And here's why.
What this means:
- I have $7,000 EXTRA for traveling and adventures!! This means months in Southeast Asia, moving to New Zealand, or backpacking through the rest of Europe. It means a trip to Africa, or Greece, or one of the hundreds of other places I want to go. It means moving to New York City, or Boston, or the beautiful state of Hawaii (let's be honest.. who really cares where when it's Hawaii). It means an around the world tour, volunteering abroad, and flights back home to see all of my loved ones. Or if I'm really, really smart about it, it means the time and money to swing all of it when added to the savings I have back home, combined with the money I'm making and spending very little of here.
- It means freedom. Freedom from a life consumed by an over-abundance of things, and things that tie me to my old life in Wisconsin.
- It means that I'm fully committed to this life of minimalism and that I can survive pretty functionally with very little. I love the idea of living out of one simple suitcase, because it shows me that THINGS have very little influence in my overall personal happiness. In fact, in my case, less things = less commitment. less commitment = more freedom. more freedom = one hell of a happy me.
- It means that money is and never will be the driving force of my life. It means that I've learned to place less value on owning things, and more value on learning about myself through traveling, forced independence, and cultural immersion.
- And finally, it means that I have officially let go of my life back home.
You see, keeping my car was my way of having something to hold onto. It was my safety net. It was one of my few reasons to return home. But now I've realized that I'm okay with letting that go, because I'm just not ready to or content with settling back into that kind of life again. Because that life, was not one that I loved.
Sure, I absolutely LOVE and miss my friends and family. But as we all continue to grow up and settle into our own lives, let's face it, we hardly see each other a whole lot anyway after investing much of our time in significant others, families and careers. In fact, I'd argue that I talk to most of you more now than I did when we lived in the same country. So until I find a person or a place worth settling down for, I don't see a reason to have to. And I can't let the beauty of not knowing my next move in this big, amazing world, be overshadowed by simply occasionally missing things and people from back home.
Because being here has solidified my need for constant change, my love for travel, and my desire to adventurously live out of my comfort zone. Even though it's only been 3 months since the big move, I can hardly remember a time when this wasn't my life. Every second of being here is a complete whirlwind. Every day is an adventure. And every day, I am happy. And I don't want that to change. Now or ever.
People ask me all the time if I'm homesick, and truthfully the answer is no. Not really at all actually. Sure I miss the people, the cheap beer, football and the occasional cheese curd, but other than that, no. As a girl who knows a thing or two about living in many different places, I don't feel as though I evolve much when I'm confined to living in one place my entire life. I don't grow as a person by living in comfort and by settling into a life of contentment. And I feel that life is all about evolving, learning, becoming the greatest version of yourself, and leaving a good and lasting impression on this planet. So for me, that meant leaving, even if it meant leaving people and a place that I still love so dearly.
And let's be real, as a summer-obsessed girl who would desperately bust out the flip flops on the first 50 degree day, I certainly don't miss the weather. I don't miss the cold, the snow, the lack of sunlight or the seasonal depression that hit me like a ton of bricks for a minimum of 6 out of 12 months of the year. I don't miss ice skating/walking/falling every time I stepped outside, scraping my windows at 6 am, or shoveling a foot of snow just to move my car. I just don't. Seasons are for some people, but they're clearly not for me.
See the problem?
I thrive in water and in sun. I love walking outside and seeing palm trees, open land, and the ocean nearly every day. I love that instead of waiting all year for summer, that I simply experience summer like weather, 90 (if not more) percent of the time.
And on top of that...
I love meeting so many amazing new people, that so easily fill the void that naturally comes with an across the world move. I love hearing about people's adventures, about where they come from, and being offered a place to stay in so many countries across the world. Because other travelers just get it. You have this undeniably unshakable bond, and almost always, an instant connection and countless things in common. You'll feel like the girls you met two months ago understand you better than most other people your age. You'll travel with people you've never met before, and take offers from strangers on the internet for a free place to stay. You have friends from everywhere, sometimes without even having actually met in person yet. And you'll realize that in so many weird ways, it's such a small world. Travelers- you know exactly what I mean here.
But truly... The best part of my new life is that every day feels like a friday, a birthday, or a holiday. Every day feels like a day to be celebrated, and that's how life really should be, in my opinion. I no longer count down the days til the next big event, I simply enjoy each day for what it has to offer, and hold on for dear life to every day for as long as I can. Because I know that at one point I have to face the day when this all has to end. Damn you one year working holiday VISA!
I never stopped, looked around, and truly relished in the beauty around me. I never made friendships so desperately (love you nanny meet up sites!!) or so effortlessly in my life. And I've never been so comfortable with having no clue what lies ahead of me in 8 not-so-far away months. And right now, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Because every moment here feels like a special one. And I'm not ready to give that up yet. Now or ever.
Here are some of the moments that I live for:
- The girls running into my arms each morning and giving me a big cuddle
- Sunrises.. and sunsets over the ocean
- Skinny dipping
- Hopping off of a plane into the unknown
- Watching "The Big Bang Theory" with the family
- Learning new Aussie phrases daily, and still trying to figure out why everything is called a damn biscuit in this country! cookies and crackers are not the same. help.
- Oceans and palm trees. mountains and snow. looking forward to a cozy night back home with a beer, by the fire in Wisconsin. Or all of the above.
- Days without technology
- Random meetings of people from all around the world
- Taking off my bra at the end of the day.. ladies, I know you understand!
- Road trips
- 5 mile daily walks. Taking in the sun, the fresh air, and dancing crazily in the streets ignoring the stares of the unsuspecting Aussies who are undoubtedly judging me. judging me bad.
- Dancing with strangers. or good looking boys. or both!
- Belting out songs with the girls on our daily commutes :) fake microphones and screechy voices included.
- ... and dance parties around the kitchen while coloring, or baking cupcakes, or both.
- Hearing "I love you" from my little ones while they smile at me and give me the biggest and most loving hugs I've ever received.
- Getting fan mail. your comments and constant emails make my day every time. thank you!!
- Skyping with my friends and family (with a beer is even better)
- And looking forward to the day when I get to reunite with some of my favorites from back home
- 3 weeks until an 18 day trip to New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne with my best friend!
- 4 months until a 2 week reunion in OZ with my parents and sister! both of my families in the same place at one time will be SO great.
- 8 months until a 3 week trip to Southeast Asia with my friend from La Crosse (to be extended to anyone else who wants to join a solo traveler afterwards :)).
- And a reunion with the rest of you when you decide to balls up and come and see me OR I decide to come home (both of which could be awhile).
You see.. some moments are big, and some are small. But each and every one plays a vital role in me living this wonderful life. The simplest of moments in fact, 90% of which are moments with my precious Aussie girls, are the ones that someday I'll miss the most. And everything else is just further proof that I made the greatest decision of my life in deciding to take the risk to be here.
I hope that life finds you happy, healthy and refreshed this holiday season. Make every moment with your loved ones count. I'll be missing you!