A year ago I decided to leave everything I knew well, behind; my family, my friends, my country and my comfort zone. I left to live and work in a country on the other side of the world. While the road has not been easy I have no regrets and I would recommend this experience for anyone. Here are my top five reasons why I believe everybody should at least once in their life, pick up and leave a life they know well, and start over again.
- Create yourself. You can become who ever you want to be and what ever you want to be. Life is not about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself. When you leave to another city or country where you know nobody and are completely unfamiliar with the culture and surroundings, suddenly you feel free. Nobody knows who you are. Nobody knows where you have been. Therefore no one has any expectations. Suddenly the world is an abundance of opportunity to re-create yourself. My life was perfectly mapped out and my future looked bright. The problem was, I became bored with the lifestyle I had created and the imminent future as a working class 9-5 professional. I decided I wanted adventure. Moving to another country made me feel that I didn’t have to follow the typical road map of my life that everyone expected me to follow. Go to school, get a good job, get a house, get married and have kids. I decided that was not for me, yet. I left to another country on a working holiday visa. Suddenly I was free to create new beginnings. I had the courage to explore new careers, hobbies and a lifestyle I didn’t otherwise have courage or motivation to create in a place I was most comfortable.Photo courtesy of www.honeybearlane.com
- Career exploration. Why not explore job experiences you have not yet tried? Time away from your comfort zone can be down time to re-think exactly what you want from life and what it is that excites you the most. Travel will force you to be creative and adventurous with the job opportunities that come your way. Admit it: the 9 to 5 daily grind experience from your job has become dull. Be adventurous; try bartending, sales, marketing, teach english, work at a ski resort or work at a theme park as a mascot dressed as a penguin! Experiences lead to different people and opportunities. Exploring a new career for yourself is also in a sense, creating a new identity for yourself. Maybe you don’t want to be a white-collar professional? Maybe you want to explore your creativity and develop your own business online? Now is the time to try. The time is now. Go with an open mind and seek adventure. You may find the job of your dreams on the way. Photo courtesy of www.creative-trader.com
- Meet new people. Seek to learn more from different people, locals or tourists, young people, old people and people from all different backgrounds. Leaving you comfort zone forces you to converse with people you would not necessarily. Being in the same environment most your life means that you are often surrounded by the same network of people all the time. Often we get comfortable and we rarely seek the companion of someone different, which can limit our personal growth. Why? You would be surprised by what you can learn from a stranger not your age, background or field of work. Naturally we seek the companionship of people we know well and people of similar age and experience. However it is relationships with people, whose life that is so different from our own lives, that we learn from the most. Leave your comfort zone, go to a different country and explore a place where culture and diversity is evident.Photo by @avemariabell
- Travel opportunities. While in Australia I traveled to Southeast Asian destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the Philippines. Now that I am on this side of the world I see the opportunity to visit South America; Jamaica, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. By having the courage to abandon everything you know for the opportunity to live in another part of the world, will also open up opportunities for yourself to travel frequently to places you otherwise would not go. Australia is geographically very far away from North America and to travel to and from Europe or America can become very expensive. If I had not come to Canada I would not have had the opportunity to travel frequently to and from the USA. Photo by @avemariabell
- Personal growth and independence. – Ultimately leaving your comfort zone in pursuit of travel, identity, work or study experience abroad, whatever it might be; it will always teach you life long lessons. The experiences you create because they are so unfamiliar, so out of your comfort zone, will leave a lasting impression. It will teach you to think on your toes, depend on yourself and achieve things you did not know possible. Being in a country where I knew virtually nobody forced me to start over again and I learned to build connections. To find a job, find a place to live and to simply ask for directions in a city I did not know, made me adaptable and open-minded. The art of becoming self-reliant is the most important life lesson you could ever learn and the only way to do that is eliminate familiarity. You change for the better. Put your game face on. Face your fears. Move to the other side of the world. I dare you.