Nowadays, traveling is the shit! Everyone wants to travel, have new experiences, extend their horizons, and make their own path in life. Although in theory, this all sounds kind of perfect, it’s also why people are spending insane amounts of money on webinars on how to make money while traveling, being your own boss and so forth and so on. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that and I believe that working on personal development is one of the best things you can do for yourself. What I’d like to share in this article is how I’ve managed to travel to over 30 countries and live in 4 of them by finding my own path and hopefully inspire some of you to go and find your own too.
Ever since I was a little, I knew that traveling is something I want in my life, but I never thought I would be this nomad type of person who would rather define themselves as a Global Citizen instead of a Slovenian. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my country as much as the next person but I don’t wish to limit my life experiences based on the 20.000 square meters of land that gave me a passport and the right to call home.
So here’s a bit of a background on how I started my journey. I never missed a school trip or excursion we had in primary or high school and I soon as I got to university I knew I wanted to take advantage of the maximum time the Erasmus+ program has to offer. So in my final year of university I went on a yearlong exchange program to Amsterdam where I studied international development, read about gender issues, established a real life social entrepreneurship, and had some of the best time in my life. Amsterdam was, therefore, the birthplace of this insatiable traveler (I realised it when I started saving money by not eating meat so I could travel more) and knowledge that I will forever be caught in between, belonging everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Ok so you might be thinking that taking advantage of the scholarship program your school has to offer is nothing new or outside of the box, so allow me to tell you about my next steps. Because my two Greek flat mates in Amsterdam became my closest allies – one became a wonderful friend and the other my charming new boyfriend, I decided to move to Greece for almost 2 months. In this time I not only traveled around the country but also started learning Greek, learning how to cook Greek food, met incredibly warm people and as easy as that I fell in love with the Greek culture.
After Greece, I started looking for internships and job opportunities abroad, mostly in Berlin but faith had another idea and soon I got offered an opportunity to teach English in a Chinese kindergarten. Within two weeks of getting the internship, I was on a flight heading to the Guangdong province (note that I didn’t speak a word of Mandarin or Cantonese). After my internship, this skinny little blond girl (not how I perceive myself but how others usually perceive me) went backpacking by herself all through China for 3 weeks using only public trains (with an exception of one plane ride), still without actually being able to read Mandarin. This was and still remains one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life and I’ll link an article on it soon.
As I returned to Ljubljana, I also decided to return to school and I went back to my university to complete a Master’s degree. By now you can probably imagine what my next step was – as soon as I finished my exams I got an internship in Berlin (which has always been a dream city for me to live in) and moved to Neukölln, the Brooklyn of Berlin.
What I’m trying to indicate with this story is that you don’t have to always wait for someone, your friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or a family member to go out, travel, and have the experiences you’ve been dreaming of. Find your own path but be conscious that living abroad isn’t for everyone. Living abroad also means missing the people who are the closest to you, missing out on experiences that you could have had at home, and sometimes even losing a potential long term partner because you have trouble settling down somewhere, anywhere.
On the other hand know that nothing is permanent and you always have the option to change your mind, travel more, or return to your roots. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but also don’t procrastinate. Find your dream, your path and go for it. I found mine in traveling and as I’m finishing this article, I’m halfway done packing my suitcase to leave once again. This time it’s going to be Barcelona and I couldn’t be more excited!