I have been remiss by not posting in the last six months; I have been very busy and a lot has occurred in my life. Now I have the time to reflect; to draw conclusions and seek insights into the decisions I made.
The last post I did was in late August of 2019; it was at that time that I decided to pick up my life and move across the ocean. It all started when I quit my day job; I was going to Europe to learn and grow. From May to July of 2019, I had travelled, all alone through Europe. One night I was walking back to my apartment in Croatia; it was about 3am, completely dark, and I was walking through an alley to hidden stairs that would get me home quicker. I realized that I was not afraid; I was a woman, completely alone in the middle of the night, in a dark alleyway; and I had no fear. I remember reveling in the feeling. I knew that I would not have walked home alone, in the dark, when I lived in the United States.
I was flying home to California in early August when I made the decision to look into moving to Europe. I had several reasons – to live in a place where I felt safe to walk at night; to get away from an area that had become prone to wildfires; and to find inspiration for my writing. But to where? I pulled up websites on great places to retire; I searched for apartments in several countries. I got out a pendulum and used it to narrow my search; I settled on Great Brittan as my favored country. England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales; which was to be my final destination? The pendulum picked England, and I got busy finding an apartment. I ruled out big cities; I am not a person who wants to live in a busy place. I decided the Cotswolds area was ideal; I picked a mid-sized town and secured a flat. This all happened in August 2019. By the 25th of August, I had my stuff boxed up and sent to the dock to be shipped to England.
For the next two months I worked diligently to put into place everything I needed to make a new life overseas. I opened a new bank account in the US; with a bank also located in England, so money could easily be moved. I notified creditors, changed my address, and closed many accounts. I gave away furniture and other things that would be difficult to move. In mid-October, I picked up my suitcase and left my California home. That suitcase was stolen just before I got on my plane; adding a wee bit of discomfort to the move. I had two weeks worth of winter clothes in that suitcase in preparation for a cold winter; now I had only a handful of things in my carryon. These items, along with a few sweaters I bought once I arrived, would have to serve me until my shipment of clothing and household items arrived.
I arrived in lovely Cheltenham in October, with a handful of clothes and big dreams. I have been steadily building a new life in this new environment. I made friends through Meetup.com. I have joined a fitness club and have a regular coffee shop that I visit. I have also had plenty of time to write a novel; a conscious fairy tale written to teach kids important life lessons while keeping them entertained.
In reflection, would I do it again? Absolutely! There have been challenges; a stolen suitcase; no heat in my apartment when I arrived; a significant delay in the shipment of my stuff. There were times when I cried because I had no one to talk to, because my family was so far away. But there have been wonderful benefits – learning a new culture; seeking new connections, being surrounded by the stunning Regency buildings and the beautiful meadows of the Cotswold’s. But the best thing of all was that I finished my book and am actively seeking a literary agent to represent me.
I remember a teacher named Preston Smiles talking about the 1%; this is the group of people that will move through adversity to seek their fairy tale castle. He described that we all start on the couch. Our piece of comfort; our known territory. We sit on the couch and build a dream castle; maybe it is a business or hobby or travel, something that we really wish we could do. We sit on the couch and dream; the couch is so comfortable, so known. Few will arise from their comfort zone and venture out to reach their dream. They will meet with adversity as they journey towards their goal. Some will give up, the adversity is too uncomfortable, they scurry back to their couch. Others will push on, until their limits are reached and they give up, returning to their couch. It is but a few who persevere to finally reach their castle.
I have stretched my boundaries. I did not bow to fear of the unknown. I have jumped off a cliff, living without a job for nearly one year while I reach for my dream. I want to be one of the 1%; and I know that you can, too!
Adversity is an opportunity to become more resourceful. Challenges stretch our equilibrium and cause us to grow. Darkness is to be embraced, opening it to the light. You can do it! Believe in yourself; believe in your dreams!