Since I was 19, I have lived in Spain, Russia, Mexico and Colombia – and it has been an incredible few years! I really believe that given the opportunity, before you “settle-down”, you should push the boundaries of your comfort zone and go and live abroad – even if just for a few months or a year. It is a truly character-building experience that will challenge your prejudices and everything you think you know about the world. For anybody considering living abroad, I hope to address your fears, comfort your doubts and inspire you to take the plunge. I promise you will not regret it!
I had my first taste of living abroad during my third-year of university when I headed to Barcelona, Spain. I had an internship lined up with a real estate agency; I was so sure that this experience would make me worldy and sophisticated and help me make all those scary, real-world decisions about my adult future.
My mum always talks about my first day at nursery when I strided off without even so much as a “goodbye”. I had never been homesick. I still remember the day I left. It was 19th July 2012, London City Airport, and as I walked through security, I was trying to fight back the tears which threatened to shatter the image of a fiercely independent, strong-headed girl that everybody knew me to be. I was terrified. Renting a house with your mates at university is one thing, but a new country, zero friends… the unknown. In that moment, my confidence waned and I seriously doubted my ability to survive.
Now, four-and-a-half years on, I’m 25, and I can say I did survive. After successfully completing my Year Abroad in Spain and Russia with a few minor hiccups and graduating university, I lived in Mexico for a year, and I’m currently writing from Colombia. In no way am I worldly or sophisticated, and, of course, I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life, but I’ve got the whole moving-abroad thing down.
So this isn’t just another travel blog about the gazillion countries I’ve visited; it’s about living. It’s about making a life for yourself in another country, learning a language and culture. It’s about moving halfway across the world; how simultaneously terrifying and amazing it is, and why you should do it because it will change your life forever. And not in that “Perah-dahling” kind of way, but in a truly eye-opening, humbling, prejudice-breaking, socio-anthropologically fascinating kind of way. Of course it’s impossible to go and live everywhere, but I would encourage you to try it at least once, challenge yourself and you might be surprised!