Could I live there? Have you ever asked yourself this question while traveling or perusing through travel magazines? Or maybe you are as addicted to International House Hunters as I am? I seem to ask myself this question everywhere I go, even if it is down the street let alone in another country. I look at my husband and say, “could we live here?” It’s a constant discussion that we have, even after ditching our home and our belongings for a one-way ticket more than 5 years ago.
In 2013, we got tired of asking this question and actually decided to give it a try. Life had taken a turn. We got thrown some curve balls that helped make the decision easier. The stock market, a chronic illness, and our daughters now had lives of their own.
We’ve tried this before, so there were a lot of naysayers. In 2003, when I sold my first business, we decided to give this living abroad thing a try. We failed, well, it was me really. Technology at that time was not nearly what it is today, and I found it a struggle to stay in touch with our then college age daughters. I just couldn't stand the guilt. I got all caught up in my head and ended up throwing in the towel and heading back to the states. But now it's different. Things have changed, I have changed.
This time was different. There were choices we needed to make. Sure, our circumstances have changed this time around. We were older, the kids are out on their own. My husband decided to retire. I had just been diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease which seemed to be taking my life away day by day.
The end seemed ominous. I realized there were some things I had to learn. I knew there was more to me, but I was scared. I had to learn to fight back but to something that I could not see. I had to become more afraid of living than I was of dying. Dying seemed easy, all I had to do was sit back and let the disease take its course. I was afraid of what my quality of life would be, so I had to speak up and keep searching, to keep asking, to seek help, to get back in the game of life. It was frightening and liberating all at the same time.
So my husband and I made a conscious decision to choose life, we just didn’t know where that life would be. We first had to begin the journey by downsizing…everything. Furniture, dishes, pots and pans, artwork, linens. This stuff seemed to be weighing us down. So, thanks to Craigslist, Goodwill and some very happy friends and family, we parted with all of our belongings. We each packed 50 pounds worth of clothes and shoes into a suitcase and off we went. Now that I look back on it, I wouldn’t have even taken the 50 pound suitcase if I knew then, what I know now.
For those of you looking to clear the clutter, it was the best thing we ever did. Not that I am advocating that you ditch everything, but what I know for sure, is that there are things in your closet, your drawers, your pantry, basement or garage that you have not touched in years. It’s time…let that shit go.
We traveled around for the first year and half. Being all starry eyed about what the world had in store for us. We then decided to take the plunge and sign a lease. That was frightening. The guilt came flooding back in. My life was beautiful again but was I worthy? What a head game. It took a lot of getting of used to. We moved to foreign country where I do not speak the language, I don’t know the metric system, I have never taken public transportation before, I never know what I am eating, where I am going, I struggle with telling international time but I am totally in love with my life.
And even though we have just purchased a flat, the question always continues…”could we live here”? The lessons I have learned are priceless, the people I have met are invaluable. The traditions and cultures that we have had the opportunity to experience have been profound.
We learned that living with less is actually living with more. That experiences are more important and the things we own. That it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, the language you speak, the food you eat, the God you worship; what matters is that sharing of one’s life experiences can foster friendships deeper than any ocean.
Where do you dream of living? What are the things that are important to you in your surroundings? Have you ever asked yourself, “could I live here?”
Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment below and let's start a conversation. Starting somewhere is the biggest step of all.
Cheers to a fabulous life!
P.S. Don't forget, sharing is caring!