This week, Mada, a 20-something backpacker from Romania, shares why she thinks travel makes life better.
She’s been traveling around South America, drinking wine, and falling in love with life every single day.
Here’s what she had to say:
I don’t come from a restless family or even the type of family that goes on vacation more than once every couple of years. And when we do, we stay with relatives. I recall summers full of freedom at the countryside where our grandparents would let us roam free. Somehow though, I always wanted to read a book more than go play outside.
Honestly, I have no idea why I have this urge to go places and understand other cultures and people. It’s funny how I went from being completely homebound to living in four countries within five years.
I first went to the US for a bit, then moved to Belgium to finish my studies, then went to Norway to work on a project and finally settled in the Netherlands for the last three years. I have to say, I’m not against changing location again. So, when I was asked if moving abroad helped me in any way, I put together five reasons why living abroad has made my life better, check them out below:
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
Of course, you can still move abroad and find your own people at your new destination. You can then decide to hang out with them OR you can give yourself a little push and meet new people. Local people, other expats, travelers – each one of them will unwillingly push you out of your comfort zone. Not always in a nasty “I don’t know what to do, this is so weird” kind of way, but sometimes by simply having philosophical chats after one too many glasses of wine. See, that doesn’t sound that bad, does it?
Coming from a collective culture where it’s very important to belong to a group, I found it both hard and refreshing to adapt to an individualistic society. I’ve learned tremendously about who I am by simply having to always rely on myself. It’s not fuzzy and fluffy but it’s what got me to be the woman I am today. And the confidence that grew with my independence is something I wish everybody could experience. That feeling that you’ll always land on your feet, that you got this, that’s what adulthood meant to me.
Learning About The World
By meeting people from all over the world, my own ideas were challenged. I’ve always considered myself an informed human being but I learned so much through the people in my life. And when it’s all about multiculturalism, internationalism, integration, adapting to new surroundings, I often found myself to be a sponge looking for information, challenges and debates. I’m also very amused when I find similarities between cultures. In a world where we all try very hard to be unique, I find most people are incredibly similar to each other.
Americans are loud. Dutch are cheap. Norwegians are cold. Belgians are boring. Germans have no sense of humor. Romanians are gypsies. I’ve broken hundreds of stereotypes I believed in or heard of by simply being open and giving everybody, including myself, the chance to just be. And if I didn’t click with somebody, it wasn’t because they were of that particular nationality, it was because we simply weren’t on the same page.
I Traveled Beyond my Plans
I started traveling quite late by European standards, I went on my first international trip at 23. I’ve since traveled to 37 countries. Not that it matters how many countries you go to, but rather the drive you have to go places. It would’ve been way more complicated, if possible, to travel this much from my home country. But, by moving abroad, my mindset changed. From one big domestic trip a year, I was able to go on weekend trips close by and get to know different countries through the people I met and then go visit them later on.
You don’t have to move abroad. At all. But if you weren’t scared of anything, would you consider it?
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