Your 10 Step Program For Moving Abroad... Or Not.Kristy Carlson
“I’ve been talking to God a lot longer than you have and He told me you shouldn’t move to Africa.”
This is just one of many pieces of advice I was given by well meaning family members before my husband and I made the move from the USA to Africa.
Today I pulled out my first grey hair and last week one of my best friends dressed up in a banana suit and went out in public in DAYLIGHT greeting the world. These two things might not seem like they have anything in common, but they have gotten me thinking about what it really means to be truly “awake” for this one life we have to live, no matter where we are living it. I have gratitude like a heart wide open for this place I started to call “home” over 12 years ago. Some things in life just FIT (right?) and for me, Africa is one of them. I get a lot of emails from people wanting to make similar moves and wondering how we made the “leap” to move to Africa.
I am not the type of girl who follows or creates anything resembling a “ten step program to moving abroad.” What I do know is this…
If you want to go you CAN…
(unless for some reason you are medically unable or the government won’t let you leave the country…)
Ten reasons why you think you CAN’T probably just popped into your head. Grandma, Mom, Job, Money…. I know. I get it. There is so much in life we can’t know. We can’t know how the risks we choose to take will benefit or cripple us… but we CAN move towards our dreams anyway. We do have to be willing to shift in the direction of risk and sort of get a little comfortable with fear. I hate that part. Like, really hate it… but part of my deep down mantra includes the beliefs that “money follows contribution” and “scary things are worth it.” Those core beliefs push me out of my comfort zone whenever I need an extra shove… which is always.
If you are anything like me you will never be “ready” to go. I had to get really comfortable with the idea that I was not ready or prepared, but I was GOING ANYWAY. Prepared, in my mind, was the mom who had shoes and diapers for her kids for the next 2 years packed and an alphabetized medical kit that sat alongside a copy of the book Where There Are No Doctors.
Change scares the crap out of me. Every. Single. Time. I am not a brave soul… 99% of the time I approach change with my boxing gloves on, ready to knock it out before I let it in. I cried myself to sleep over and over again when it was time to move. I think there is something in us all that loves the comfort of a place we know, but I believe we give up so much opportunity and discovery if we stay comfortable. I’m not talking just about risks as big as moving half way around the world. Maybe the change you are longing for is a shift in perspective, in life, in the space you occupy. I will NEVER be best friends with the act of change, but I do know that I NEED it in my life… even though it’s scary.
Even the little changes count for something big. This year I got so tired of making school run after school run after school run (What an exciting African adventure, huh?) that I changed the route I took to school so that I could appreciate my days more. I felt alive because I wasn’t on autopilot! Shifts, big and small, remind our brains and souls and feet that we are IN THIS thing called life. We are the ones making the choices here. We are the ones in the driver’s seat.
So… where are we off to next?