I made the decision to move to Peru on a visit to Machu Picchu. Five months later, I was on a plane back to South America.
We probably all know someone who quit a job and moved to another country. This person could be an adventurous cousin who didn’t let the fact that he’s white stop him from growing dreadlocks. It could be that one woman from accounting who went on vacation to Costa Rica and just decided to stay. And really, who could blame her?
I’m here to tell you all of that is bullshit.
As I’m writing this, boxes are strewn across my once orderly apartment. Friends I may never see again are coming by to say farewell as I try to pawn my stuff off on them. This is a weird question, but do you want to come over and take all my spices and seasonings? It’s not like I’m going to take them with me.
In less than a month, I will slip my arms through a backpack, grab the handle to my mom’s oversized suitcase she found at a garage sale and take a one-way flight to South America.
I quit my job to move to Peru, and I’m terrified.
I didn’t march into my boss’s office and quit with my head held high. I cried my second-to-last day at work and tried desperately to compose myself enough to read the news on air.
Don’t be afraid. This is what you wanted. That’s what I tell myself when my stomach turns to knots because I start thinking about everything that could go wrong and what I’m leaving behind.
Yes, this is what I wanted. I’ve always wanted to be an international correspondent. So when I got the offer to write news in Peru, I decided to take it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not apprehensive.
Moving to Peru means I don’t know when I’ll see my family or friends again. It means I left a job and a promotion I worked really hard for. It means I’ll probably have to dip into savings. It means I’ll be speaking a language that I’m not fluent in. It means I’ll be alone.
When my thoughts turn to doubts, I remind myself of what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
I don’t feel adventurous or brave. But I know I will see things that will startle me. I know I will meet new people with a different point of view. And ultimately, I know this move is a step towards living a life that I am proud of.
Being scared doesn’t mean I don’t have the strength to start over again and it certainly won’t stop me from doing so.