Two months ago I couldn’t even find Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a map, and now here I am, packing up my entire life and getting ready to move 8,000 miles away to a place that could not be more foreign to me. Crazier still is that I am leaving a lifestyle that I have completely fallen in love with, a city that is widely considered to be one of the best places in the world to live, and a town where I live an outrageously comfortable life less than a mile away from the beach. I can understand the typical reaction (shock and doubt) when I tell people what I’m doing, but after living abroad in France for a semester in college and moving from Colorado to California a few years ago, I am familiar with just how much the unfamiliar pushes you to not only grow as a person, but also to have a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of life. Moving somewhere new and exposing myself to a different spectrum of people, attitudes, and values not only makes me see the world more clearly, but also myself more clearly- because experiencing life as an “outsider” puts a magnifying glass on everything I have become “used to”. Besides, the moment you stop living life outside your comfort zone is the moment you stop growing. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable per say, but stagnancy and complacency are everyone’s worst enemy. This is why I can’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for a cool company in a foreign country, no matter how happy I am in California.
So what do I want out of this experience? Some people go on sabbaticals or move to a foreign country because they feel unfulfilled in their current situation and are thirsty for some sort of spiritual awakening or journey to self-discovery (Eat, Pray, Love types). I am content with my life, and am not naive enough to expect this to be an uber life-changing experience where I’m going to come back a whole different person with some crazy new perspective of the world. I know these kinds of transformations are much more subtle than that. I also know that once I’m settled, my life in Malaysia will probably be pretty similar to the life I have here in Solana Beach, because I will still be the same person, just on a different continent. Through moving and traveling, I have learned that you cannot predict what you will end up learning, so I am going into this experience with zero expectations. I am ultimately just thankful that this opportunity came out of nowhere and that all the pieces fell into place so that Michael and I can do this together. It’s is the perfect chance to grow in my career and see places in the world that I could never have reached with my two weeks of corporate America vacation.
California has truly become my home, but I know it will be still be here when I’m ready to come back. In the mean time, I’m excited for the freedom that comes with moving somewhere new, even if it means being thrown out of my comfort zone and having to wing it for a little while. I recently read that some people possess a gene that makes them more drawn to trying new things and traveling to new places, the “wanderlust gene“, if you will. So maybe it’s just in my DNA to constantly be on the lookout for the next adventure, but my life mantra is: always be open to new experiences, never stop learning, and never get too comfortable.
Hasta, California. I’ll be dreaming about you.