I have some big news!
Starting July 28, I am moving abroad for almost five months to travel and focus on my blog. Want the details? Here are some answers to questions you might have:
What exactly am I doing?
Well, I’ve signed up for Remote Year, which is a program that allows people to travel while still working for four or twelve months. Each month you stay in a new city around the world. The program provides you with housing, a 24/7 workspace, and transportation between countries. I am joining the four-month Remote Year Shoshin program from August to November.
I will spend the first five weeks living in Valencia, Spain, where I plan to fully embrace a culture that supports siestas and tapas, visit Portugal, and explore this beautiful country that I haven’t seen in a decade.
In September, I’ll live in Sofia, Bulgaria. I am very excited to live in a city I know almost nothing about, meet new people, and visit a few Eastern European countries.
In October, I’m stepping way out of my comfort zone to live in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m trying not to worry about the water shortage and dealing with the side effects of typhoid and malaria vaccines. But I think it will all be worth it to spend some real time in Africa, go on safari, and maybe make the trip over to Madagascar.
My last city on the trip is Prague, Czech Republic. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Prague, so I am thrilled to spend some real time in this beautiful city of architecture and culture. It’s the perfect end to the program.
Finally, I plan to spend a couple weeks before Christmas exploring Europe on my own. My main plan is to hop over to Germany to visit some Christmas markets and check out any countries and cities I don’t have a chance to see during my four months on Remote Year.
Though I will be traveling, networking, and trying new experiences in each country, I am also taking this time to really build my blog. Anxious Abroad will be my full-time job on this adventure. I’m hoping to create more valuable content, expand my social media channels, update the website, and do anything else I can to make this something that really helps people struggling with mental illness.
How am I doing this?
I got permission to take long-term, unpaid leave from my full-time job as a communications consultant. So, to answer the real question: no, I will not be getting paid during my trip. In fact, I am paying to go on this trip. But I’ve lived with my parents for the last five years and am a natural saver. I’ve paid off all my student loans and feel financially able to do this. I couldn’t imagine spending money on anything better than a new adventure that takes me around the world and forces me to step out of my comfort zone.
There are other logistical things to sort out of course. I’ve had some long talks with my boyfriend about doing the long-distance thing again just a few months after we moved in together. I have to get all my medications in order before my health insurance stops. I’ve had to accept that I will miss a few friends’ weddings and other holidays with the family. Plus, I still have no real idea how to pack for something like this. But, I am, and will continue, figuring those things out along the way.
Why am I doing this?
There are days that I ask myself this question. Why am I leaving my comfortable life with a good job, a new apartment with my amazing boyfriend, and supportive friends nearby to be lonely and anxious in a new place with a bunch of strangers?
The answer I keep coming back to is this: because I need to. I’ve always dreamed of living in a different country. It’s been one of my goals since I was a preteen. I know that if I don’t follow this dream now, I will regret it and resent others my whole life.
I know from the outside that it looks like I’m doing this at the worst time. Why didn’t I do this when my boyfriend lived four hours away and I lived with my parents rent-free? When I worked at a job I didn’t really love and wasn’t sure what my plan was? Honestly—because I wasn’t ready. I am really content with my life right now, but under that contentedness, I am itching for an adventure.
This is the first time in my life that I feel like I have a real purpose to pursue. I can go to work and feel good about the work I’m doing, but when I check my email and see that someone liked one of my new blog posts, I get a rush of joy, and I know that this is something I need to do. I want to dedicate all my time to Anxious Abroad so I can help anyone out there experiencing the symptoms of anxiety or depression without knowing what is happening to them or how to cope with it.
How can you support me?
I know most people reading this won’t really ask this question, but if you do want to support me during this journey, I have some ideas. (And no, I’m not asking for money!)
First, follow my blog (click the “follow” button below) so you can live vicariously through me and get some great travel tips. You can also follow my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more frequent updates on the trip.
Second, I’ve received some great advice on things to do and places to see and food to eat, and if I’m being honest, it’s really stressing me out. The idea of planning almost five months of activity gives me serious anxiety, but I really do appreciate the advice. If you have anything to add about the countries I listed above, send me an email or write it in the comments below. I know that once I’m there, I will be grateful for all the options.
Finally, please pray for me, people. I know there will be days when I will be living my best life, eating great food at a beautiful cafés and writing about ways to manage depression. But I’m also 100 percent sure there will also be days when I’m sobbing on my bed in a foreign country and questioning all my life decisions. So send me some good thoughts. I will take all the positive energy you’re willing to share!