I took the leap two years ago. I decided I needed a different kind of scenery. My white college apartment walls were getting too bland for the dreamer that was living inside of me. I needed an adventure to challenge me and help find myself. In April, I applied for an internship in New Zealand, and to my surprise I actually got it. A month-and-a-half later, I was trading the Carolina heat for a wintery Dunedin; a charming town on the south island of New Zealand. I was only there for a little over three months, but those three months taught me more than I would ever get in my four years of undergraduate education. Out of all of my lessons, these are the ones that stood out to me the most.
1. You are 100% responsible for yourself.
When you move to a new place, you only have yourself to rely on. When your plane touches down in that country, you most likely know no one. In an instant, you learn what you are truly capable of, but don be scared, Everyone will go through this moment when they take the leap. It is almost as if it is a rite of passage for anyone who decides to leave on a whim.
2. Don’t wait for anyone else.
Yes, it may seem perfect to move somewhere with your significant other, or a best friend, but don’t put your happiness on the back burner for someone else. Before you know it, leaving in a month can quickly turn into leaving in two years when you are waiting for that perfect moment that is the best for both of you. Trust yourself, and trust me when I say you will meet amazing ( and super cute ) people when you get to your destination… Oh! And did I mention accents? Yeah those are pretty amazing too.
3. You’re running out of time.
You might tell yourself that you have time, but in reality you don’t. Life is a fragile thing, and you never know what is going to happen next. Not only Is your life not cookie cutter, but the world isn’t either. Everyday historic cities, monuments and traditions are slowly leaving this earth. See them before they are gone. See them so you can tell you kids and grandkids about them. Traveling not only shows you amazing things, but it turns you into a storyteller for future generations, and the world needs more storytellers.
4. You will meet interesting people.
When you travel alone and stay at a hostel, more than likely you will run into other solo travelers. These people will most likely be the most fascinating people you will ever meet. They will inspire you to do new things and to continue to travel this world. You never know what you could do next. Maybe someone will give you the idea to be a nanny in Paris, be a volunteer surf instructor in India or maybe teach English to children who really want to learn, but don’t have the resources to.
5. Your life will sort itself out.
A lot of times people don’t leave because they feel as if they have things to deal with at home. Trust me when I say it will work itself out. Not everyone will understand why you left, but when you return they will fully grasp every reason why you exited out the doorway. While you are away, you will figure out who your real friends are. The ones who care will keep in contact as much as possible, and they will understand when you are caught up in the wanderlust of life and might not have Wi-Fi for a few days. When you return home the ones who love you and care about you will be right there to hear about all your adventures and wish they tagged along.
In the end, you can’t have someone tell you what the world is like and what it’s all about, you must do it all on your own. It is ok to be alone and enjoy new things with just yourself. New Zealand showed me that. I met great people, learned about a new culture, made amazing friends and best of all I started to find myself. You only need to remember that the world will support you and your endeavors. You must be fearless, you must be brave and showing that you have a little rebellion can be a good thing. Take the leap and always adventure.