One of the biggest challenges in preparing to breakaway is hearing others opinions of what you should do. When I decided it was time to breakaway I had just graduated from university and I had been discussing traveling abroad for a while. Luckily I was at the right point in my life where I had no real responsibility yet, other then some college loans I was able to pay off. My biggest challenge in this adventure though was convincing my parents to let me do it. It took a lot of effort to persuade them that this was the right time in my life for me to go and live my dreams and finally after weeks of hostile chats and some disappoints they finally relented.
After they were onboard the rest of my plans were smooth sailing. I knew that I was to move to Amsterdam so I tirelessly researched living and working there. Luckily since I am a Dual Citizen of Italy and the United States I did not need to apply for a working visa for Europe. Packing my belongings to go aboard was a marathon, not a sprint. I had to box up everything I would be leaving in the United States and move it into storage. Packing what I would be bringing with me was also quite difficult, not knowing what I should bring or leave here. I mean how are you mean to know how the weather will be the entire length of your trip or what other trips you may take while your away? I didn’t want to have to buy something while I was away that I knew I had at home, I’m cheap I know this.
The other biggest challenge is deciding how long you’ll actually be gone for, do you want to leave forever or just for a couple years until you find yourself? At first I decided I was only going to gone a year but that year turned into an indefinite period. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, at times it can be difficult especially around the holidays but I have a new family of amazing friends to keep me company. Leaving home is one of the biggest decisions you can make but once you make the choice the rest falls into place.
It only takes one moment or one experience for you to decided to turn your life around. For me that experience was actually the three months I spent living in Greece.
Don’t get me wrong my life was pretty good to begin with, I was born a Dual Citizen of the United States and Italy, my parents chose to raise me and my sister in the U.S. but we still enjoyed frequent trips to Europe to visit family. I mean it’s pretty fantastic to be able to say that while my friends spent their summers at day camps or in Florida I was off enjoying the sunny Mediterranean. Still something was missing, I had traveled to Italy countless times but I had never fully felt like I had traveled so in my junior year at university I made a decision that effectively changed the rest of life (dramatic I know, but true).
Since I was young I had been in love with ancient Greek and Roman mythology and I always knew I one day would want to visit Greece. So that was it, Greece was the perfect place to make my escape to. I set about applying to countless jobs, my parents were supportive but hesitant in my plan. The constant ït’s okay if you need to come home early” made me feel like they didn’t believe that I could make it happen for myself, but I did and boy was it the best decision of my life.
That trip was my turning point, I met so many people who were not only my age, 21 at the time, but younger who had been traveling for years. They all had amazing stories of venturing to Thailand, India, Spain really everywhere and anywhere you could imagine. I knew that when I returned to university that fall my life would be forever different, I had caught the bug and I was completely and overwhelmingly infected. Much to my parents dismay I made the choice to take a year off after finishing my degree. Two months after my graduation I was off, I spent three months living in Rome and then moved to Amsterdam, where I have been happily situated for over a year (so much for only taking a year off).
The decision to move abroad is similar to bungee jumping or skydiving, you know want to do it because of the thrill and the rush of adrenaline that await you but there are so many things that could wrong people often never take the jump.