“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” ~Denis Waitley
I remember dreaming for years about living abroad. First it was Italy so that I could discover my roots. Then it was Fiji because it seemed like the furthest place from Los Angeles (which I actually did, but only for two months during the summer of 2003).
After Fiji, there was an eight-year gap that was full of college and Corporate America. My daily routine involved waking up early, working all day, and studying all night. As I’m writing this I can picture myself a year and a half ago, sitting in my office and gazing out of the 20th floor wondering what it would be like to live in another country.
Then one day I chose to stop dreaming. Instead, I chose to start planning.
I was fed up with my inability to take action and go for what I wanted. I gave myself eight months to save enough money, plan where I would go, and tie up any loose ends.
My goal was to live abroad for a year.
I worked two jobs, sometimes three, so I could save enough money for the school loans and credit card bills I would still have to pay while I was gone. I had no social life, but I knew that I was working toward a life-changing experience.
I wanted to get over the fluency hump in Spanish, so I looked into countries in Latin America. I also wanted to give back, so I looked into volunteer opportunities.
In September of 2011 I quit my job and moved to Costa Rica.
I volunteered for two months teaching English at a local school in a poor neighborhood. It was rewarding beyond belief. Then I spent a month getting TEFL certified so I could continue my travels and make money teaching English along the way.
Suddenly, panic struck. In December I thought the money was going to run out and I would have to go home.
As fate would have it, two weeks before I was due to leave, a friend told me about a job opening at a local company she had just started working at. She knew my background was in marketing and social media, and they just happened to have a Social Media Manager opening. I interviewed and got the job!
Then, as fate would have it (again), the Director of Communications quit the day I started. After the initial shock, I decided that my journey didn’t end there and applied for her position.
That same week I became the new Director of Communications for a multi-million dollar company in Costa Rica. What?!
It hasn’t all been great. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Through those mistakes, though, I’ve come up with these 7 life lessons that you can use whether you’re living abroad, wanting to live abroad, or just wanting a new adventure.
Just pick up and move if you want to move. Just put your resume out there and start interviewing if you want to find another job. If you want to write a book, just do it already!
Will it be easy? Maybe, maybe not. Will it be rewarding? Absolutely.
Do what it takes to prepare. The point is to actually take action rather than just planning it in your mind for months or years and constantly making excuses as to why you “can’t” do it.