So many spend their days wishing they had the opportunity to start a new life, somewhere new. While doing so can be extremely liberating and rewarding, it calls for just as much sacrifice.
I think people have this idea that giving up your life in search for another one is something you only have to do once, but that is not the case at all. One of the most difficult aspects to grasp is that it requires constant surrender – it must be practiced every day. You don’t just give it up once and reap the benefits – that would be far too easy, and let’s face it, life isn’t easy.
So, to mark 5 months since I moved away from Australia to the land of pasta, pizza and wine, here are 5 things I continually have to surrender in order to continue my new life in Italy
Probably the most difficult aspect to continually surrender. I post regularly about how I don’t live by the expectations of others, which is true – but that doesn’t mean those expectations don’t exist. I feel the pressure to have a certain kind of life and be a certain type of person, just as much as you do. The difference though? I know that ignoring these expectations provides me with the ability to choose the life I actually want instead of settling for someone else’s version.
2. Routine, Habit & Behaviour
Living your entire life a certain way and having to completely give that up when you move to another country with a completely different culture is harder than you could imagine. Our routines, habits and behaviours become imbedded in us the more they are practiced in our lives. The concept of never repeating any one of those automatic responses requires a great deal of discipline and self control. Essentially, it is unlearning what you’ve learned. Yes, it is as complicated as it sounds.
Initially, the thought of living without as many luxuries was very challenging for me, and anyone who knew me personally can also testify to this. I now have a small bag of makeup as opposed to my entire 10 drawer desk set up that I used to have; I’ve got 1 suitcase containing clothes to get me through every season instead of a whole wardrobe; I only buy what I need and save the rest for travelling, rather than engaging in unnecessary consumerism. The list is endless, and I hope to share more on this topic as I get asked about it a lot. The point is though, I’ve realised how little I actually need and how my life can still be fulfilling without the luxuries.
4. Family & Friends
This has been the most emotionally challenging aspect of moving so far away. I will be honest with you, it puts a strain on most relationships. You realise that 90% of the relationships you have are maintained only because you see them regularly. The remaining 10% maintain contact but it’s difficult not being able to see them for so long. It’s hard not being able to be in the presence of the people that care for you during moments of doubt.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is hard to accept. I’ve missed countless birthday celebrations, engagements, pregnancies, births, holidays etc. It’s really difficult knowing that you can’t be with the people in your life to help them celebrate their victories in life.
The above is really just the tip of the iceberg – the list of sacrifices is endless. But for every sacrifice comes a lesson, moment, or feeling that can never be replicated in an environment like the one you’ve always known. That is what travelling is about. It is about sacrificing for the sake of something rare.