Life was pretty amazing. I was the first female member of management in my male dominated workplace. I was super busy and had a lot of support from other girls who now had hope for something more for their own futures. I wasn’t making loads of money, but I was spending a lot of disposable income on cute things for myself and my apartment. I had never been more satisfied at work and at home. So, of course, I gave it all up.
I think when I finally made the choice to move to Colombia, I only had 2 people at most who supported the decision without a single doubt that I could make it work. I can remember one person clearly and I’m padding it with one more in case there was someone else that I forgot about…. Honestly there probably wasn’t another one. I mean, some people said, “Oh wow that’s great!” and then asked fearsome questions with a scrunchy face. So yeah, one person.
The truth is that I wasn’t certain about it either, but I knew that whatever happened I would find a way. I remember being scared about a lot of other things in life along the way as well, so why would this be any different? I was scared to buy my apartment, I was scared to buy a car (every single time), I was scared to start new romantic relationships, scared to take on new roles at work etc. If I had let fear rule in any of those decisions I would have less financial, emotional and intellectual equity than I do now. I mean, it was crazy. Family members and friends presented arguments to me either directly or by sprinkling in negative comments randomly throughout regular conversations. Third world country came up a lot.
I felt in my heart that these people wanted me to live the way that they did. The way that they thought was right. I sincerely felt and still do, that there isn’t only one way to live life. And if you find you are doing something that you don’t like and that you don’t have to do it out of necessity, then stop doing it. Again, I was happy and am not talking about my job specifically but rather the whole system around the job.
Now that I’m 2 years out from that decision, I am so happy I went forward with my own choices. I feel so incredibly thankful that I can live outside of these little insignificant luxuries that people so desperately cling to. I feel stronger about my own decision-making process as well.
So, what was hard specifically?
This one seems easy, right? Well no. It’s one thing to go on a vacation and see new places and things, but when you uproot yourself and move to an entirely different continent, you start to notice it after about 2 months. I spent 20 years finding my favorite places to be, like live music venues, restaurants and cafes. Even the grocery store in my new home confused me. It took me almost a year to walk into one and feel like I had a game plan before going in. There were so many products that I had never seen before and a lot of products, well, missing!
On top of working to make our new house feel like a home, I had to work even harder to find new places of refuge and escape. These are so incredibly important and honestly, I never gave it much thought until now. I did some research online and found a woman who had just realized she had many issues with finding comfort zones and rooting herself in her community. Her Father brought the family around the world with him on religious missions when she was a child. Sounds amazing right? Well, sort of. Having familiar places to go to is really important and if you move away from them you have to start all over again.
Every recipe I had learned over my entire life went to trash. It was horrible. I learned new recipes from the region and am a better cook because of it, but I still can’t get the baking part right. Just awful. My soup game is untouchable now though.
I’m that “I only worked for one company my entire working career” kind of person, an indoor cat I once heard someone say, so I have known nothing else but to work 40 hours a week and punch in to the same place every day for almost 20 years. I think everyone automatically assumes that leaving that behind would be a good feeling. Again, no. I think my main issue with this was the behavior I had developed at my job was still with me even though I had left. I wanted to move fast and efficient and accomplish a mountain of work in a short amount of time. This specifically took almost until now to notice and doesn’t go well with the more relaxed workload and culture that I am living in now. It actually is starting to look a little crazy to me to be honest….
I’m putting this in here over language because anyone can learn a new language if they put the time in. But the idioms are super hard, and I don’t think I will ever understand some of them. When I ask for explanations, I find myself pausing and quietly saying, “Oh, wow.”
“You are my orange half.”
I won’t get too deep into this one but stepping away from a full-time job gives you a lot of time to think. If you were putting off anything emotionally, mentally or spiritually, expect it to come to the surface, expect it to be difficult, and absolutely expect yourself to be stronger after dealing with all that extra baggage. I can confirm that the load is lighter and I feel amazing.
Even with all of these struggles, I have overcome most of them and am making progress in completing the big move and building my new life. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing right now.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or share a similar experience in the comments below. Thanks for reading!