Are you someone who wants to make a change in life? Do you feel like your life needs a different direction or transformation to give it more meaning? Have you been wanting to leave home but are too scared to actually do it?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, whether you want to take a small leap or a big one, here’s my story…
As a stereotypical American, right out of High School I went onto College, which is what you are taught to believe is the right course of action if you want to get a good paying job. In some cases, true, but in others not so much.
I am a small town girl from Buffalo New York. I graduated from a 4-year college with a Bachelor’s degree. Although what I went to school for was interesting, it wasn’t exactly the career I saw myself doing for the rest of my life but of course I didn’t realize this until after receiving my diploma and racking up insane amounts of debt.
I mean, come on at the age of 18 how are you actually supposed to know what you want to do with the rest of your life?
There are lucky few in this world that do but that wasn’t me.
I wanted more out of life and felt like something was missing, that I hadn’t “found myself” yet, cliché, I know but at 23 I left a bit lost.
I didn’t want to live in the little Buffalo bubble where I did the same thing every day and where I lived my life on repeat.
After a year out of college living the work cycle, I had enough. It’s not that I wasn’t happy, I just wanted more. One of my greatest friends was living this amazing life in San Diego at the time and one day while on the phone with her discussing my “life problems” she said “Meag, come live with me in San Diego! It would be so fun”.
After hanging up I sat in my garage petting my cats thinking “is that something I could actually make happen?” Well, I did.
Three months later I packed up my life, put it into my leased Nissan Rogue and drove across the country to California.
If you knew me then, you would have been shocked that I would ever leave Buffalo but I was at a point in my life where I thought, why the hell not!?
I had nothing holding me to Buffalo, why shouldn’t I go experience something different?
I didn’t have a boyfriend, no great paying job and I wasn’t experiencing a sense of fulfillment in my life, so I went to California in hopes that it would show me what I wanted out of life and give me an experience unlike any other.
Boy was I right!
California, home of the palm trees, the beaches and the endless warm breeze that blows though your constant sandy hair.
Home to some of the nicest people I have ever met, expats from all over the world and people from every background imaginable.
I experienced a whole new realm outside of my Buffalo bubble and one filled with friends who were completely different from the ones I had lived my entire life with at home.
I won’t keep rambling on about California, (I’ll save that for later) but I will say it ended up being the stepping stone that I needed to embark on the most epic adventure of my life.
Now that I had been able to experience this new life in San Diego, I still wasn’t experiencing the fulfillment I was looking for. I was a gymnastics coach at the time, but the excessive hours were overwhelming me and I never had weekends off.
But i was broke. I felt as though I did not have enough money to make a move. So again, I felt stuck.
I lived in paradise but financially could not afford it and wasn’t passionate about what I was getting out of life.
I decided to venture on a 2-week cross country trip on my way to California from upstate New York. This is when I caught the “travel bug” and started to develop a desire to want to see more of the world.
Through out my time in California I could not stop thinking about that trip. For weeks I researched ways I could make money and travel. Well spontaneity came through once again and I signed up for an online class to get my Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification.
Fast forward 4 months…
I was boarding my plane to the other side of the world on a one-way ticket to teach English in Thailand.
Now I know as you read this you probably have a lot of questions. Hopefully these are some I can answer for you…
Although my family was shocked, they began to adjust and supported me through it. It was easier for some then others but I had a friend that came along with me on my journey, which of course made them feel more at ease.
I will say, without the help of my family and their love as well as support I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post in a café in Vietnam right now.
When I stepped off the plane I was scared shitless, I had never been outside of the country besides as a little kid. It was this bitter sweet feeling though, all the nerves but at the same time I felt this sense of liberation.
Not only was I thousands of miles away from home but I was in a “third world country”. I knew nothing about Thailand. I was lucky I had my friend with me who had been before, she was able to show me the ropes and continue to make me feel comfortable in my new home.
Each day became easier and eventually I was waking up on an island in paradise every single day.
I won’t lie to you, I have been broke since the day I left home.
It’s not all butterflies and rainbows financially, especially for me because when I left, I was determined to live life to its fullest and experience every epic adventure I could.
I am actually still living life like that. Well, with that comes money. So, neatness to say I haven’t really saved much.
That doesn’t have to be you though. You can live abroad and save money depending on where you choose to go and how you choose to live your life.
Someone once told me “living poor can be some of the best days of your life”. I am living proof of that.
It hasn’t been easy and although I may not have thousands of dollars in the bank, my time spent abroad has been nothing short of incredible and worth every penny spent. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same.
In the beginning there was a million questions going through my mind, especially the “was this the right move to make Meagan?!”
In my heart I knew it was something I wanted to do and if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it at all.
So how did I make it work?
I just did. I didn’t give up and I continued to tell myself that this life is what I wanted and everything I had done thus far was exactly why I had left America in the first place.
I was happy, I am happy!
The best advice I can give you is that you can always go home.
Nothing is permanent but if you never take the leap of faith to leave then you will play the “what if” game in your head for the rest of your life.
At least if you try and it doesn’t work out or isn’t what you expected, you can ALWAYS go home.