I remember the exact moment I decided to go for it. The numbers on my alarm clock changed from 2:59 a.m. to 3 a.m., and I still couldn’t sleep. My mind had been churning for hours, trying to make sense of the knot in my stomach and what to do about it.
By all accounts, my life looked good on paper. I breathed clean air and drank clean water. I had a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I had a good job, financial security, and most importantly, my health, my family, and my friends. I lived in one of the best countries in the world, and I’d achieved everything I’d ever set my mind to: finishing high school, then college; establishing a career; and buying a car and then a condo, the early hallmarks of success in our materialistic society. Somewhere in there I’d even found time to travel around the world and explore places most people could never hope to go. But I wasn’t happy.
Why wasn’t I happy?
I didn’t know. All I knew was that somewhere along the way, I’d lost part of myself, the part that was excited to wake up in the morning and see what adventure was waiting for me that day. I realized I’d spent months waiting for a change to come, and the waiting was becoming unbearable. I was 25 years old. This was not acceptable. And I’d lost enough people in my lifetime to know: life is too short to wait.
So I took a good hard look at who I was and what I wanted. I applied for a new job. I didn’t get it. I submitted an application for a puppy. I got a mail undelivered message. I signed up for online dating and actually met someone. I got dumped for the ex. No matter what I did, it didn’t work out. Waves of self-doubt followed.
But then I remembered Reganne. Two years ago I watched one of my best friends pick up her entire life and move to the UK. She gave up her corporate job to become a housekeeper, and then she moved down under with her New Zealander fiance. At the time, I thought she was crazy. But since then, I’ve never seen her happier. It could be done.
With Reganne as my inspiration, I started wondering if maybe I could do it too. I knew most commonwealth countries had a work abroad program that made it easy to get a visa if you were under 30, and after a few hours surfing the internet, I realized international job opportunities were out there.
But what if I never came back?
I wanted to break out of my rut, but the thought of setting down roots in another country terrified me. I had emotional attachments at home that would not be easily broken. Was I really willing to risk taking the road less travelled?