“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are build for.” (John A. Shedd)
I had no idea what was in store for me when I moved to Australia at the ripe old age of 18, and I was surprised with the adventure of a lifetime. Nothing can quite compare to the thrill of boarding an international flight as you begin a new venture into the unknown. Leaving the familiarity of home to live in a different country can be overwhelming as well as exciting, but the challenge of stepping out on your own two feet can teach you valuable lessons and change your life for the better. Here are a few of the lessons which I learned and you will too:
You will learn to adapt quickly to new situations
My life was literally turned upside down by moving to Australia. From the moment I stepped off the plane I was faced with unfamiliar surroundings and new situations. Even if you have a plan setting out, your experience of moving to another country will no doubt put you out of your comfort zone. When I had no choice but to adapt and overcome, I learned that I really can accomplish whatever I set my mind to, and make do in any situation I find myself in. You will be surprised at how quickly you learn to adapt to your new surroundings, and you will also end up with some great stories of the times things got turned upside down!
You can’t escape the adventure
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (J.R.R. Tolkein)
Every day brings a new adventure. I have enough trouble not getting lost in the city I grew up in, never mind in a new country! I learned that getting lost and just enjoying it is one of the best ways to go on an adventure. Simple things like grocery shopping or taking a bus will be totally different than doing those same things in your home country. I loved the experience of immersing myself in the culture of my new home and enjoying the new and unexpected.
You gain another place to call home
Over the past five years I have lived in four different countries, and I learned that living in a country is so different than just visiting for a short time. I grew to love deeply the beauty, culture, people, and daily experiences in each of the places I now call home. Right down to the simple things like chatting with the barista in your new favourite café or walking around your neighbourhood, you will eventually feel at home in your not-so-new-anymore surroundings.
You create lasting friendships with people from all over the world
Some of my closest friends live on the opposite side of the world. While you will definitely miss your friends back home, the experience of making new friends in a new place is great! No matter what the distance, you can build relationships that last a lifetime. Make friends with locals who can show you around your new home and help you to embrace the culture, as well as fellow travellers who can relate to your experience of living in a new place.
You learn to appreciate where you came from
As your love for your new home grows, so will your love for the things you left behind. Things you took for granted in the past might be the things you miss the most while you are away. From family and friendships to the perfect coffee and your Mom doing your laundry, you will see the place you came from with a whole new respect and appreciation.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” (Miriam Adney)
So take the step out into the unknown!
My life over the past five years has turned into an adventure better than I could have dreamed of. The first step of getting on that plane to Australia started me on a road of travel and new experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Don’t be afraid to start your adventure! You will grow in ways you never could have imagined.
If you want to begin an adventure, find out more about getting involved with NET Ministries Scotland. Download our Volunteering Scotland brochure now.