“I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.” – J.R. Martinez
Since I can remember life has always been about moving on and leaving your comfort zone. When you’re a child you leave elementary school and move on to middle school. From middle school you move on to high school and from high school most move on to college. It’s a never ending cycle and although so terrifying in the beginning, ends up being a great experience where you learn more about yourself and grow. The common denominators in all of these situations is fear. Fear can work against you OR fear can benefit you. I’m a very spiritual person and believe that God and the universe will ALWAYS take care of you. If you really take a moment to think about fear, you realize that there really is nothing to fear. You can think about all the things that may go wrong and all of the things that could go amazingly right.
When some of my friends learned that I would be moving to Madrid, Spain for eight months I received a few different reactions. While most were not surprised and supportive because I’ve always said that living in Europe for at least a year has always been my dream, others were taken back wondering why I would leave a place so familiar for a place where I know absolutely no one. I started getting questions such as, “Aren’t you scared?”, “Why would you want to live in a totally different country with different customs?”, “How will you survive?”
I can honestly say that none of those things even crossed my mind when I made the decision to move. The only things considered were that at the time I did not have a job that I enjoyed and that I wasn’t engaged or in a committed relationship. I never once thought about the fact that I knew nobody living in Madrid, that the culture and customs would be completely different from what I’m used to or how I would survive. Like I stated previously, I believe that everything works itself out. I’m the type of person who lives for adventure and spontaneity. I love immersing myself in cultures that are different from my Jamaican upbringing, experiencing how other people in the world live and just letting life happen. I’m pretty sure my relaxed attitude and free-spirited nature absolutely annoyed my mother at times, but I can truthfully say I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be open to experiencing culture and exposed to lifestyle so different from your own.
I’m so excited to be moving to Madrid and to be living the expat life. It will definitely be a journey of self-discovery and growth. I’ll learn more about what I’m capable of, what I truly desire for my life and recognize my own strength. I hope that if any of you have an opportunity to live abroad in a country much different from your own that you jump at the chance and don’t look back!