How does it feel the night before you fly half way across the world to live in a country you know almost nothing about? I mean literally nothing. No grasp of the language. No concept of the price of life. No idea of what acceptable manners and social customs are. No ability to ask for directions or help. No clue as to the way to dress in order to fit in. Heck, you don’t even know how to order a coffee!

I’ll tell you how it feels. Its unbelievably intimidating, yet unbelievably invigorating and exciting. You lie in bed that night and stare at the ceiling thinking to yourself “What have I gotten myself into?” Contemplating what supernatural force came over you and made you sign up to leave behind family, friends, and everything that is familiar to strike out, on your own, and live in a foreign country. You wonder how you can possibly navigate the airports of other countries well enough to fly over 4,000 miles and if you will even be able to figure out where you’re supposed to go once your there. You question “Can I really live in another country for almost half a year? Can I handle this?”

Yet, the excitement of the possibilities and adventures this undertaking offers far outweigh the fears. You follow every thought of doubt with ideas of what doors will be opened for you by crossing the threshold into the unknown. Travel to places you’ve only ever heard of. Seeing artwork you’ve studied and committed to memory. Sampling and learning to cook legendary cuisine. Drinking coffee or wine while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea or the Alps. To fully assimilate into a universally envied culture.

This is all closely followed by the realization that it can all only happen during this short window of time during your life. This is the only chance you have to go and live on your own in a completely different world. That this is the chance of a lifetime and no matter what your doubts, fears, or even idealizations are you have to do it; now. You then get up slightly before your alarm, take a shower, get dressed, and head out the door to set out on the adventure which has haunted you all night.

 

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