I was born in a small city, in a small country in the middle of Europe: Brussels, Belgium. To those who even know about this country and city (because many don’t), Brussels has always had the reputation of being a cute and charming city.
However, growing up there, I always felt uninspired and small.
There was just something about the way the city looked and people’s mentality that truly didn’t inspire anything in me other than following the usual path of: going to university, then getting a job, a mate, house and create a family. For many of my friends, that was enough.
But, the more I grew, the less appealing it all seemed.
My first visit to New York City at the age of 13, completely solidified the idea that I did not want to end up in Belgium for the rest of my life. There was so much more to explore and discover out there! New York had everything that I wanted: it was big, completely new, and people seemed so cool and open.
I felt like I could be anything there and it made me dream of a life in North America.
I know it is cliché, but a seed had been planted in my mind. I had to find a way to make it to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and experience a life without limits.
Fast forward many years later, and I finally did accomplish my dream of making it to the other side of the ocean.
Was it a cultural shock at first? Yes!
Was it scary to drop everything at 18 to live in a completely new and foreign country? Yes!
Did I know what to expect? Not at all. But it was exciting and I truly felt alive.
Now knowing what I do, people often ask if I would do it all over again. Yes, and I actually did many more times as Life kept on allowing new opportunities to do so.
Even in the midst of my initial rush of accomplishment, my first time living abroad was truly petrifying; facing the unknown, and leaving my mom and best friends behind. It was heartbreaking but I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to commit to a life without regrets.
I took a big leap of Faith and the net appeared.
Moving abroad made me who I am today, and gave me a passion for travel and a fearless approach to discovering new cultures, food and people.
It is such a rewarding experience that I wish everyone could experience at least once in their lifetime. And today, I’m gonna tell you why you should live abroad at least once in your life too.
Here are my top 5 reasons:
You Learn the True Meaning of Resilience
As I mentioned earlier, moving abroad can be scary at first. You basically have to start from scratch, and if you don’t know anyone in the new country, it will challenge and test your limits.
But the great thing about stepping outside of your comfort zone is that you learn how to be resilient.
The true meaning of resilience reveals itself in uncomfortable and difficult times. Once you discover your power to rise through life’s obstacles, you feel invincible. And I speak from experience when I say that’s the best feeling in the world.
You Learn to Trust the Process of Life
When you arrive in a new country, there is only so much that you can plan for and anticipate. Many things may not go your way, and many more may be completely out of your control.
But then, in the midst of it all, little miracles will start to happen.
I have learned this time and time again: when I trust and let go a little bit, everything usually falls into place perfectly, even more so than if I had planned it all. Sometimes, it is important to remember that you don’t have to always know it all and have it all figured out.
Keep a little space for magic and Trust in the process…
You Develop New Survival Skills
One of the funniest things about living abroad is that at first, given the novelty of it all, you inevitably develop new “survival” skills.
In order to make it in your new city, you will learn how to fetch for yourself, go beyond your comfort zone and survive in this new environment. It will challenge you in new ways and ultimately you will develop new skills that you can keep for Life.
This is what makes traveling and moving abroad so much more fun the next time around. Those same skills come right back up and allow you to navigate the unknown with more ease and confidence.
You Realize That You Can Make Friends Anywhere
This is a BIG one.
Many people don’t move abroad because of their friends and family. They’re convinced that they will never be able to make new friends or develop deep connections ever again.
Well, sorry to tell you but you are dead wrong.
You can make new friends everywhere and, better yet, you will develop new kinds of friendships! As you change, so will the type of people you choose to have in your tribe. If you put your mind to it, stay open and remain true to yourself, you will attract new friends anywhere in the world. Guaranteed!
You Discover A New Side of Yourself
This is probably my favorite part about living abroad. Though you think you’re about to discover a new culture, the number one discovery is: yourself.
Living abroad will show you a whole new side of yourself that you didn’t even know existed. You may discover that you are a lot stronger than you thought, a lot funnier, more open to taking risks, more independent, etc. It does wonder for your self-esteem.
Try it and you’ll see.
Moving abroad permanently might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but living abroad is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.
Try it out by taking a sabbatical or maybe even consider accepting that new job opportunity… even if it means leaving your comfort zone.
Even if you decide to return to your home country, in the end, you will have learned so much about yourself, humanity and the world we live in, that it can only be a positive experience to cherish for the rest of your life.
Trust me, you will not regret it.
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