A few days ago I left with my boyfriend to travel around the world for two years. That’s right, TWO years. I know what you’re thinking, ‘this chick is crazy!’ But really, the decision to leave everyone and everything I love to see the world is just like any big life decision, like moving to a new city, starting college or moving in with your significant other. You have to shift some weight around and you’re definitely going to be uncomfortable but I promise you, it’s so worth it! So whether you’re conquering the world, a new city or a new bed (wink, wink), here are a few helpful tips so that you aren’t a hot mess:
1) Pack light. For my journey, I can have no more than 40 pounds on my back. Some of you may be thinking that’s a lot but imagine packing your house, or even your room into a backpack, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra space. When you make a big life change, take that opportunity to shed some dead weight and go into your new situation with a cleaned out closet and cleaned out perspective – you will feel refreshed having less stuff to organize in your new dorm room/apartment/closet at your boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, etc. Shed your preconceived notions while you’re at it. Sure it’s a scary decision, but it’s supposed to be! Enjoy the ride J Plus, no one wants to be that girl who brings her entire stuffed animal collection to the boyfriend’s house.
2) Keep your cool. Yes you’re about to leave your nice plush comfort zone and yes that’s where all your O.C. DVDs/Beanie Babies/Britney Spears CDs live, and yes it’s a big world out there, but keep your cool. You’ve totally got this. Just remember that you are a big, strong, sassy gal (or guy, I see you) and that you own this city/job/degree/boy/girl. YOU are the master of your own destiny and you’re the bomb dot com. No need to meltdown because the cooler you are the more you notice about the world around you and the quicker you fall in love with your new digs.
3) Be flexible. Murphy’s Law is something that I believe in. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But fate is also something that I believe in. Every single thing that happens is meant to happen, and puts us on the right track toward happiness and following our dreams. My boyfriend and I had a bit of a snafu with the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago when trying to get our visas so that we couldn’t get them right away, which allowed us to take a step back and reevaluate the course of our journey and we decided in the long run, it was a blessing that our visas didn’t pull through right away because we would rather skip Brazil so that we could work and live in Patagonia and Ecuador for a couple months. When you walk into a new situation, you never know how it’s going to turn out, that’s what makes it exciting! But part of being successful in a new situation is being able to adapt and roll with the punches. Things may not go as you planned, they may even totally suck, but that is okay! As long as you are willing to be flexible you can handle anything.
4) Laugh at yourself. Like I said in #3, things are going to go wrong, or at least be a little unexpected, so just take it with a grain of salt and be able to laugh at yourself. In these next two years of travel we are going to miss so many trains, get caught in the rain, be lost in translation, lose things, find things, and have some of the best times of our lives. Laughing at ourselves and the silly situations we get ourselves into and realizing that really, it’s not the end of the world, make every situation brighter. Not to mention you’re so much more beautiful when you laugh – stop it, you are!
5) Jump in. Now that you have all of the tools you need to succeed, just go do it. Don’t put off finding out how the buses work or where your classes are, or how to make your boyfriend’s dog heel. Be proactive and go enjoy your new experience! Take it all in and remember to feel it all. Be fearless and don’t be afraid of falling, because all you have to do is get right back up.
You can read more from Veronica Norton on her blog.