If you have read my most recent blog posts, you may know that I celebrated 1-year since I moved to Bulgaria a little over a week ago. Even though I like to stay busy and have a lot of stuff on my mind at all times, it is hard not to reflect on the time that has passed. With that, there comes a reflection about the things that I have learned while living abroad all on my own. Here are a few!
1. Life is risky, so why not take risks
Do you ever have an urge to drop everything and buy a one-way ticket somewhere? That is what I felt and exactly what I did. It was a HUGE risk making this decision, but having it be a spur of the moment thing really helped me do it. I feel like everyone should experience living abroad, on their own, at some point in their life and in some form. Whether it is studying abroad for a semester (or longer) or taking a shot at a year in a foreign country. You learn a lot, experience new things, and it is simply different. Life is all about taking risks and you miss out on every shot that you don’t take – as cliché as that might sound, it’s true. Trust me, I know from experience.
2. I’m stronger than I thought
I never really realized how strong I actually was until I moved to Bulgaria on my own. It is one of the most important things that I have learned while living abroad and it is one that will stick with me. Who would have thought that I would have been able to cope so well? It shows and proves that I am independent, for sure.
3. It is a constant effort to stay connected
Moving away from everyone – friends, family, etc. – is difficult in itself, but staying connected with these people is challenging. Some people, I would see on a daily – if not regular – basis while others I would see once in a while and now that I am not in the country, communication isn’t as regular. Personally, I am an introvert so talking all the time isn’t really my thing. However, I make it a priority to always keep those close to me in the loop of what is going on. Generally, I talk with my family on a daily basis (at least one family member) and I make sure that my friends hear from me as often as possible. Everyone has busy lives so it is difficult to find time that works for all – especially with the 7-hour time difference, but we make ends meet.
4. Not everyone is accepting, but it shouldn’t bother you
When I first made the decision to move to Bulgaria, not everyone was fond of it. In fact, I still come across many people who ask me why I did it and say it was not a smart decision when it’s not true. When you have an open mindset, you can do anything. Why wouldn’t I want to embrace the Bulgarian culture? Especially, given the fact that I am Bulgarian – despite being born in America. Another one of the important things that I have learned while living abroad is that everyone wants what they don’t have. People around the world dream about life in America, I dream about living abroad. That’s just how it is. It shouldn’t matter what others think, it’s about what you want.
5. Every single country has pluses and minuses
Nothing in this world is perfect. Every country has good things and bad things about it. Until you go there, live there for a while (and not just for vacation), then, you will see more about that country than you thought. From job availability to pay rates, politics, opportunity, and more.
6. Living abroad is not always an adventure and so thrilling
When many people think about living abroad, they imagine non-stop adventure, IG-worthy images, and more. Let’s take a step back to reality, shall we? I live in Europe, yes – it may not be Spain, Italy, or some other “well-known” country, but it is still beautiful – however, I do have a normal life. I go to work every day for 8-hours, I have a regular routine, I cook for myself, and more. I don’t always have the opportunity to go an adventure and do exciting stuff non-stop. On the other hand, I do take almost every chance I get! It is definitely thrilling that I am living in Europe and have easier access to traveling on a budget! Especially when comparing prices to those from America.
7. I can always go back
All in all, being a dual-citizen (American and Bulgarian) means that I can ALWAYS go back and forth. If I am sick of living abroad or simply want to end my journey, all I have to do is get on a flight.
These are just 7 of the many things I have learned while living abroad and there are many more from where that came from. Have you lived abroad before? What are some things you learned? Did this inspire you to travel abroad on your own? Let me know!