Reflections from the Road


Reflections from my One Year Away from Home

Twelve months away from home and twelve months almost completely on my own have changed my perspective on life. I think that I've changed as a person, that I've come into my own. And as I'm preparing to leave the land that changed my life, I can't stop reflecting on all the changes that I've made, on all the experiences that I've had, and where my future will take me. 

I'm an independent woman. I never thought that this would be me. I always saw myself as dependent on my family, dependent on my friends or boyfriends to help me make it through life. Now I'm happier with independence. While I get nervous asking questions and handling things on my own for the first time, I prefer doing it myself. I've come to learn that my happiness doesn't depend on other people, it depends on me being happy with myself and with my life. And with that mentality, I've become increasingly independent.

I could travel or live abroad long term. I used to think that I would never leave home. My family was my safety blanket and I wasn't going to leave that bubble that I knew. I mean I didn't even go away to college, so this year was the first time that I was actually away from my family. And it was fine. Sure I missed them along the way, but I was ok. And now I know that the fear of leaving home doesn't have to hold me back anymore because I know that I can do it.

Nothing should hold me back. I'm really goo at coming up with excuses. Really good. And I'm known for being a quitter. I'm almost proud that I quit track three times. But that wasn't my dream. Now I know that ways can be found to live out my dream. I didn't think this year would possible, but look at me now, I can't imagine my life in any other way. There will always be challenges, but a smooth sea doesn't make a good sailor. I know that nothing should hold me back from my dreams because I know that I can push through and find a way.

Happiness is always finding a good sausage
Nuremberg, Germany
When I get an idea I become obsessive. That's how this idea started. Yeah the truth is that I watched a movie about Italy and became obsessed. I had to move there. Well turns out that Italy wasn't for me. But at least I will always have France. Now my new obsession is moving back to Europe when I'm done, but I'm keeping where a secret since it's the beginning stages of the plan. But let's just say I'm quite obsessed with Germany and Scandinavia right now. And I'm starting to think that sometimes making decisions based on the one idea that I become fixated on isn't so bad for me. I mean it's worked out so far, right?

I'll be ok if someone doesn't like me. I used to be so nervous about making wrong impressions, now I'm relaxed. If I make friends, cool, if I don't, I'll be ok without them. Sure I'll still be nervous when meeting certain people, like future employers or in laws if I ever date anyone. But that's a bridge to cross when I get there. I've realized that I'm content with myself and don't need others to make me happy. Though I enjoy their company, at the end of the day it comes down to if I'm happy with myself. So now I don't worry about embarrassing myself anymore or making bad impressions. Chances are I'll never see some of these people again.

I still get anxious. Anxiety is something that you learn to live with, not to cure. So instead of getting frustrated that I have so many things that trigger my anxiety, I accept that I will always get anxious and I've stopped worrying about when it will happen. Instead I know what calms me down and just how far I can push myself. And I guess it's worked since people meet me today and would never guess that I have anxiety whereas it was much more believable a few years ago.

I could die happy now. Ok I know this sounds morbid, but the fear of dying has really stopped me from living my life. It's something that scares me and continues to take my breath away, and not in a good way. But now that I've traveled and seen a small portion of the world, I'm ok. I've lived. I can die happy. And I think letting go of that fear has made me more adventurous. Sure I'll go the top of the building, why not go into this country alone that I know nothing about. Now I'm still not about to go bungee jumping, but at least I'm living a little more.

Making a dream come true!
Vienna Austria
I can kind of adult now. Yes I'm using adult as an adjective and a verb because I'm starting to think that it's more of an action, something that you do, rather than a state of being. This is my first year of living on my own and I had the bright idea to do it in another country. I pay my bills on time and have managed to get health care and social security with the advice of people along the way. Ok so maybe I still don't know how to pay my taxes but I'm sure I can learn how to do it. So I guess finally at 24 I'm starting to adult. And that's weird still.

I know how to live away from my family. I never thought that I could be away from my family. I thought that I would spend the rest of my life in California within driving distance of my family. Now I'm looking at moving back to Europe after another year, possibly for two years this time. And now I'm not opposed to living abroad long term as long as I make enough money to afford to visit my family at least once a year. I know that I can do this thanks to FaceTime and my family's support.

I'm not that important. Ok so that sounds really bad but it's actually liberating. Through my travels I've learned that I'm just a speck on the world. The world doesn't revolve around me. So why worry about what everyone else thinks? Why worry about being perfect? Instead I'll worry about being me. And that's much more satisfying.

Spot the person who never experienced cold
Berlin, Germany
While there are a lot of injustices, but there is also a lot of kindness in this world. Right now out world seems to be crumbling with all the terror attacks and the lack of human rights. Add global warming to the mix and things don't look to reassuring. But through my travels I've witnessed the kindness of people, like how many are willing to help out a complete stranger, or how many don't mind sharing a conversation while waiting for the train about life. And I think it's the little things, the little acts of kindness that are keeping this world a good place. I've seen far more good while traveling than bad. And that's really reassuring.

Travel is not an escape. It a way for this world to not escape me. I know many think that I should be working, that I'm avoiding reality, but the truth is that I am living. I'm not running from growing up, I'm running from not living my life, from not living out my dreams. And why not do it while in my twenties when I have the time and lack of responsibilities. So no I'm not scared of reality, I'm not trying to mooch off my family, I'm not avoiding growing up. I'm making sure that I make the most out of my life in the way that makes me happiest. 

You Might Also Like