5 Things That Will Happen When You Decide to Move Abroad {or at least Take an Extended Stay}

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Moving to a Spanish-speaking country is something that's been on my mind and in my heart for a very long time. Like, at least 18 good years. It's only very recently, the past few months really-- like 3, maybe 4-- that I decided that now might be a good time to make that move.

Nothing happened that forced me to this conclusion. No real life-changing, earth-shattering revelation propelling me into the unknown. Just a quiet little voice that said, 'you know, wouldn't it be nice if...' and just like that, the seed that I planted and only checked in on periodically to see if it was still there (and it always was) started to sprout. Finally.

There was no real struggle over the decision. I just opened my laptop and started researching which area(s) might provide me with the type of experiences that I wanted to have. I only identified a couple of parameters to help me narrow down my decision: I wanted good weather. No, scratch that. I wanted hot weather with maximum potential for melanin activation. And I knew I wanted to be near the ocean, and I absolutely had to have wifi. That's it. Hot, near the ocean, and wifi. This led me right to the Caribbean coast. Two places stood out on the map-- one being Puerto Morelo-- a small, sleepy, non-touristy beach town, and Playa del Carmen-- a faster-paced, more populated city that's big on wellness and-- near the beach.

Right now my plan is to divide my time between the two and see what feels the best and most right for me. And this is basically how the entire planning phase unfolded. I only did things like book my flight, make accommodations, reach out to connections, connect with groups on FB, look up transportation options, etc., etc. whenever I felt moved to. Again, nothing was forced or difficult. Like, at all. The last step for me was breaking the news to my poor, panic-y, worry weary mother. More on that in a future vlog.

So, with that said, let me give you what you came for: The 5 things that will happen when you decide to move abroad. Well, at least from my perspective:

1. You will be so excited. I mean, like surprise birthday party, a kid on Christmas, and 4th of July fireworks excited. Personally, I felt hot with anticipation because I only told a select few people. So all this time I felt like I had this big, juicy secret that I was holding onto-- like I'd just secretly eloped and the only other person in the world who know was my new, secret husband. I mostly kept this to myself because I wanted to iron out the details, but more than that, I wanted to protect my beautiful, budding seedling from any potential naysayers trampling all over my baby. This is important, so listen close. I've always been one to kinda do my own thing and not worry too much about the opinions from the peanut gallery. However, because these days I'm much more aware of how the transfer of energy works, I didn't want a bunch of random-a** Negative Nelsons and Nancys mucking up the energy field. So, I basically told next to no one. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Once you tell people, brace yourself for a thousand and one questions. Like, "Why are you doing this?" Isn't ___ dangerous." "Who are you going with?" "Do you know anyone there?" "Where are you going to live?" Why are you doing this, again?" 

While I think it's perfectly natural for people to be curious-- especially your loved ones. They love you, obvi. and want you to be safe. So, of course they're going to have questions. This is where having your plan comes in handy. It's super easy to control the narrative if you already have the answers. You're grown and you don't really have to answer to anyone, if you don't want to. But, if you're going to share your plan in the building stages, be prepared for questions, but also for #3. 

3. More than questions, what you really need to be prepared for is some people's, well-meaning, well-intentioned, but at the same time, disapproving eye-rolling and inability to relate to why you'd want to do something so "extreme," or whatever. Use your imagination to fill in the blank as to what your moms, pops, bestfriend, auntie, or whoever would say. I'm only alerting you to this possibility because for some of you this can be very discouraging. Even for the strongest-willed among us, it can stir in you a number of adverse feelings-- like someone taking a jab at your ability to make your own decisions. Or having some one cringe at your lofty dream-- something which absolutely makes you tingle with excitement every time you think about it. This can be annoying, and maybe even a little hurtful (especially if everyone you tell has a similar reaction). Don't let it. Your dreams are valid. And the people who love you (they really do) will just have to deal.

4. Your decision will definitely have an impact on your love and dating life. For better or worse, it's kind of a crap shoot. Let me share something uber-personal here: I met a guy who I really liked. He was handsome, kind, and so very easy to be around, that is until we abruptly stopped talking. So imagine my initial confusion (because things seemed to be going fairly well), anger (because, damn-- if I'd have known it was going to turn out like this, I'd have jetted weeks ago), then , finally, acceptance that this was not at all how I envisioned this thing going passed-- I thought to myself, you know this is something that was completely preventable on my behalf. You see, I was so excited about the prospect of getting to know someone new, that I changed the course of my trip. I was supposed to have already been out December 31st. I pushed my plans back 3 whole weeks because I wanted to spend more time getting to know this new person. Mistake. But nothing really is a mistake though, is it?

No, it's not. It was a lesson for me about allowing myself to become distracted and veering away from the path that I'd already determined before we even met. I had second thoughts about my travel plans and moved based on that rather than following my first instinct, which was to just go, and allow things to happen as they would have in my absence. As a result, those last 3 weeks up until it was time to go not only went by painfully slow-- not because of him, but because I was already supposed to be out of the line of fire in some ensuing drama that unfolded while I was biding my time, impatiently waiting for takeoff. To add further insult, it got cold and rainy af-- and that definitely pissed me off, because anyone who knows me, knows that I am allergic to the cold. Which is one of the reasons I'd chosen this specific season to move. To get some sun and to give winter my a** to kiss. But the point is, like I said before, dating while traveling is a crap shoot. I guess it doesn't hurt to try, but don't be too attached to any specific outcome. That's what I'm learning.  

5. There's this quote (and if you follow me on the 'Gram, you know how I love a good quote) that goes: "You know the future is really happening when you start feeling scared." And oh my God, do I feel terrified. But like, in a good way. I get chills every time I think about all of the newness that's about to go down. All I daydream about are tacos, margaritas, the sun, sand and the ocean. I literally cannot think about much else. So what my Spanish is sh*t. I'm a fast learner and I've taken Spanish classes since I was in the 7th grade. I don't really know-know anyone there except for the woman whose place I'm renting. That's okay too-- we've been in contact for months now, and all that means is that I'm about to meet so many new and fascinating people. All I know is there is an adventure on the horizon, and I'm ecstatic and terrified at the same damn time. This is okay, and natural-- I think. Whenever you're getting ready to make a significant change in life, you'll probably feel a little scared too. I won't say don't be-- what I will say is be to brave. I've found that most times fears are completely unfounded. But you'll never know that until you move past them. The brave push past fears to get sh*t done. And that's what I know it takes if you want to be a doer of things.

So, that's all for now, folks. If you liked this post, check out the vlog: Desire Mapping: Finding Freedom in Travel and Setting Intentions. Hit me up in the comments or on social if you have something to add to this list. See you in the sunshine!