Living abroad is of a course a dream for many, but depending on how big your dream is and how far away it takes you from your home, it could also bring with it the need to make immense sacrifices of things that are important to your well-being. You will now be living far from the place in which you had such wonderful moments with the people that you love so much.
Therefore, it is important to know that living outside of the country in which you were born and raised requires a lot of strength. Being away from your family and friends for such a long time can be a daily struggle of both physical and emotional survival.
However, you can overcome these challenges a little every day by adapting yourself to cultural differences. You should also emotionally resist the moments of loneliness and longing that this new universe will impose upon you when you are thinking about your home country and its established cultural habits.
Therefore, it is not sufficient just to say, “I want to do this!” You really have to be ready for more changes than you can ever imagine, and you have to be prepared to make very difficult choices. So if you are the kind of person who loves to feel safe and only steps forward after calculating all of the possible risks, then please don’t give up your life and move abroad! This is not a life for you.
I chose to be far from my family and friends because I have big dreams, and my ambitions could not be satisfied within the beautiful and safe world that my family had provided for me in that small and secure environment in which I grew up. I knew that my life there couldn’t possibly fill my heart. Therefore, I made the choice to leave, and I have spent a large part of my life traveling and working abroad. I have been to 12 countries so far, and I have to admit that it has not always been so easy. However, there are not enough words to describe how much positive emotion I have experienced and the unbelievable beauty of the things that I have seen over the years.
I have not achieved all of my goals yet; I may or I may not, but I know that it is up to me. Life is made in the moments; one day everything is good, but on another day, everything can be so hard. “Experiences” are what life is about. You need goals to keep yourself going, and difficult moments to learn more about yourself. Trying to improve yourself by making mistakes and having “unforgettable” experiences can make life worse at the moment, but much better with time.
If you were to ask me, “Ana, is there anything that you regret?” I would respond by saying, “Never!” I am 35 years old, and I have been to 12 countries; I have a thousand memories of a life lived with great passion, full of beautiful emotions. If anything, I only want to have many more years of the same sort of experiences!
Ana Paula Mendes