Reflections on Life Abroad: Advice to my Younger Self
Living in the rice paddies of rural South Korea for a year, where my only distractions were social media and Marvel movie marathons (on the weekends), I had a lot of time for self-reflection and introspection, to say the least. Pondering the last decade, or so, of my life has been prevalent more than ever lately. Undoubtedly, because I just turned another year older. Another year older, another year wiser, right? So, what advice would my wiser, more mature self, give to my younger, inept self? Here goes…
Carpe the freakin’ Diem!
Make the first move. Jump out of a plane 12,000 feet in the sky (parachute attached of course). Eat chocolate cake for breakfast. That trip you’ve been wanting to take forever, but can never seem to get anybody to go with you? Take it…solo! Go skinny-dipping. Seize the day!
“Live without inhibitions, love without conditions, and just simply be free.” – Me
Just Do It!
The world’s greatest slogan says it best. Just Do It. Stop thinking so much and start doing. Overthinking will make you none the wiser. You’re just wasting time. If you try and fail, so be it. Try again…fail some more until you try and get it right.
Trust the process
Painful things are gonna happen. I mean, heartbreaking, debilitating, curl up in the fetal position and lie in bed for days on end, kind of painful things. It’s ok. Accept it for what it is and don’t get so caught up in trying to figure out how to feel or when you will feel differently. Trust the process, but don’t become limited by it.
Let yourself be happy
Stop worrying about is it the right thing. The wrong thing. How this person feels or that person feels. It’s about YOU! Let go. Live free. Be. Whatever that is. Whoever that is. However that is. Just be. Let yourself be happy; even if it’s only for a moment. Let it be for that moment. Own THAT moment. Own your happiness.
Stop letting your Plan B take precedence over your Plan A
You want to travel, and make money while doing so? That’s your plan A? Then focus your attention on making THAT happen. Nothing else should take precedence over Plan A. Stop wasting time and energy trying to find that cushy corporate job that provides “security”, when you know that’s not what you really want. Chasing the ever-elusive “American Dream” will only leave you with the regret of not having pursued your true passion sooner.
Pride cannot coexist with vulnerability
You can’t be both prideful and vulnerable. Something has to give. I’d suggest the former. It’s ok to not cloak yourself in full armor at all times, or build up impenetrable walls equipped with moats and the whole nine. Let love in. Accept help when help is needed. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness.
“Compromise is a skill, and like all skills it atrophies from lack of use.”
–Eric Weiner The Geography of Bliss: Search for Happiness
Comparison is the thief of joy
So stop it! Stop comparing where you are to where everyone else is. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing, at this very moment.
Be proud of yourself
Often times we are remiss in giving ourselves praise, because self-praise is no praise at all, right? Plus no one likes an egotistical prick. But every now and then it’s ok to toot your own horn, pat yourself on the back, give yourself a gold star, whatever it takes to acknowledge your dopeness. Learn to give yourself credit when credit is due. Stop downplaying your accomplishments as if they are nothing. They're something.
Start where you are
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe.
No matter what your circumstances are all you have to do is take the first step. You want to travel, but can’t jet set off to a foreign land? Fine. Have a staycation in your city. Take a road trip, or even a day trip. Hell, journey from your bedroom to your living room, build a fort out of pillow cushions and sheets and have the adventure of a lifetime. The journey is what you make it. This goes for anything you want to pursue. You don’t have to have the biggest/fattest bank account, the best equipment, or the most know-how. Take what you do have and make magic.
Ultimately, this single word is the summation of every single thing I should’ve could’ve would’ve told my younger self. The options of adjectives succeeding this simple two-letter word are boundless. Be happy. Be free. Be confident. Be present. Be magical. Be strong. Be tenacious. Be unapologetically you.
What advice would you give your younger self? Tell us in the comments below!
Colby is a go with the flow, photography loving, life enthusiast, with an insatiable heart for wandering. She had her first taste of international travel in 2006 and has been a glutton, indulging as much and as often as possible, ever since. She is a self-described wanderer who proclaims she is "just taking the scenic route", and she'll "get there eventually". Her blog, World of A Wanderer is aimed at encouraging, inspiring, and showing others how to step out of their comfort zone and see the wonder in wandering. Currently living in Madrid, Spain, she continues to check countries off her Wanderlist, one adventure at a time. Follow her on her journey on Instagram , Twitter, and Snapchat.