Keeping Yourself Honest Abroad

October 12, 2010

in adapting, life changes

I’m just realizing it’s been a while since I wrote an insightful post. Which tells you I’ve probably been trying to avoid addressing what’s on my mind.

This post draws on something Steph from Twenty-Something Travel (now officially on her RTW trip, which is awesome) and Brooke from Brooke vs. the World wrote about a while back: traveling and living abroad, in and of themselves, will not make you happy.

I blogged a few months ago after my friends from the States left that I felt like I had done a complete 180 in some senses. I thought at the time that I was just a little stressed and that my mood would return to what it had been like when I’d gotten here. But months later, it still hasn’t, which is prompting me to explore options to figure out why that is the case. I remember thinking to myself when I moved here, If this doesn’t make you happy, you’re pretty screwed. And while I knew simply moving my life over to another country wouldn’t solve my problems, because along with all your regular clothes, you also pack your regular moods and ways of thinking and doubts and insecurities, I was hoping that it would be a little easier to be my best self.

The other side of this coin, though, is that maybe I am finally changing and realizing things about my self I’d been denying, and that can make a person stressed and feel strange. Real movement can be gut-wrenching, soul-stomping and heartbreaking. It is never easy. In her post, Steph from Twenty-Something said that while overseas travel might exacerbate your issues, it can also sometimes give you the tools to work on those things. Some of those tools may include finally being away from people who enabled some behavior or way of thinking and meeting ones that won’t put up with it. It can also be knowing you no longer have excuses or things to blame if life is not going as you want it to. It’s all on you, kid.

I’ve admitted some things to myself and to people I’m close to here that I never thought I’d say–things about the way I am, the way I think, what I need from life and people. If anything, I’m happy it’s all on the table, and if this journey was meant to help me be more honest with myself, even if it is scary and stress-inducing, then it’s good. And if it helps me realize more than ever what it does take to make me happy and keep myself in check, then I’m thankful.

5 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Brooke vs. the World

    Cheers for the shout, Lauren πŸ™‚ Yep, living abroad is pretty much like living anywhere. It's funny because I've been getting lots of messages from people back home that think my life is all magical and whatnot since I'm here in Australia… but the truth is – it is life. I pay rent and go grocery shopping just like everyone else.

    I would say it was the middle of last year that the magic of being somewhere new wore off, and I, too, had to overcome demons of my own. It wasn't easy…

    I think that by you putting your honest thoughts out there, it shows that you want to change and better your situation / mindset – and that is always the first step πŸ™‚

  2. Lauren Fritsky

    Thanks, Brooke πŸ™‚ You've definitely inspired me in several areas of your journey, especially in sharing the crazy or not-so-happy times.

    I know I've had legitimate things to stress about like figuring out how to stay longer, but it's made me a little too snappy and stressed for my liking. I think sometimes we think "it will all be better once XYZ situation is over," but by that point, you've worked yourself into such a tizzy that it's hard to spring back. I have faith I can take a step back and figure it out, though.

  3. Hannah

    I love this post Lauren. As someone who recently moved it definitely made me think about the journey I'm starting now.

    For me, this move was definitely a lot about managing my own expectations. I had the idea of moving to Australia since studying abroad and actively worked at making that idea come true for about about a year. It was something I became so passionate and dedicated about that I was terrifed that when I actually got here that reality wouldn't match up the dream I had been chasing (sounds cheesy but it's true).

    So far the new changes and big move are living up the hype. It's tough to tell what's up next, but I do rather enjoy the adventure. Cheers!

  4. Heather

    I always love the honest, introspective posts!! Thoughts have been building up in my mind too, but with blogging about the road trip, starting work, and having visitors, I haven't given myself time to really sort through it all. This post is extra motivation to take time to think about the thoughts playing ping pong in my mind.

    Let's get together again for noodles (and maybe Bondi on Sunday if the weather holds out), and I'm happy to listen any time πŸ™‚

  5. Jade

    I can totally relate to this post!! It's hard not to think that traveling and being surrounded by a new place won't take away some of your problems or make you happier… but yes, ultimately it becomes your life- the same life, like you pointed out, that you had before. I think the first step is just recognizing what you like and dislike about your life in the one location and try to do small changes that might be helped by being in a new location. (does that make sense?)
    Also, this is a refreshing voice- it seems to me that most bloggers are either "yay, yay, yay" all the time or "Boo, I hate this, I hate that" all the time. There aren't too many "real" I have good days, I have bad days voices and it's great to hear someone who can have them both! Thanks for sharing!


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