Feet to move, places to roam
It has been awhile since I have written. Just because I have not published something online it does not mean that I have not been thinking. Thinking, dreaming and plotting my next adventure. So I will simply just write about what has been occurring. In just a little over three weeks time, I will have multiple suitcases sealed containing every article of clothing I love and every item I cannot live without while boarding a plane farther than I have ever gone before. When I depart on this new experience, it will be different from anything I have done before because it requires me to move for a year, to China. I bet you did not see that one coming. This is how it went down.
I remember the day very clearly. It was a dull, rainy morning in March and I had just claimed my window seat on the bus to school. The vibe on public transit felt off; not as many newspapers flopped open and no one was chatting with their neighbor but I still continued to listen to Mumford and Sons through my headphones before I arrived for class in the next half hour. As I watched the bus pull into downtown Winnipeg I began to check my emails. 90% of the messages I receive are junk that I will delete even before opening. However on this one day, I decided to open the ones that appeared to have something to offer me. One of the emails I received was from the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg addressing a practicum abroad opportunity, so then naturally I was really curious. The university was looking for students who would be interested in spending a year in Zhengzhou, China teaching English. I did not even have to read the entire contents of the email before I found myself replying to the coordinator of the program saying “I am in”. There was just something about that one particular day in March that had me thinking I was ready for a change. A change in people, scenery, food… you name it. I wanted to do something not many people do at 22 and this was it. But now, four months later, the time has come where the moving day is quickly approaching and I am still trying to wrap my mind around it. I am moving to China. Maybe the more I say it, the more it will start to feel real.
There were multiple reasons why I decided moving abroad for a year at this point in my life was a really wonderful decision to commit too. I also figured if I can survive a year in China, I can survive anything. When it comes down to it though, I am young, healthy, will be working a job that will one day be my career (a teacher), have the advantage to travel around Asia, and I am single which means I do not have a boyfriend back at home to miss. For some people that was a deal breaker, leaving their significant other behind at home while they leave for a year and so they decided this was not the right fit for them. Ever since I found out about this program in March, I have encountered countless spectacular people. This includes new friends and I went on several dates with the kind of men you bring home to meet your family and would happily settle down with in the future. But I did not see the point in pursuing a relationship with any of these people when I knew my time was limited in the city and I would be gone by August. I did not want to get attached. The last thing I would get myself involved in was a long distance relationship and did not want to have any serious ties left back at home that would prevent me from meeting other people while abroad or even distract me from teaching. I am not on a mission for love and I am not taking off on this journey to run away from something, I am running TO something. I will be immersed in a new culture completely opposite of the one I have been living in my entire life and these are the scenarios that excite me and the types of opportunities young people should be fighting for instead of always staying in their comfort zone. But I guess not everyone will view moving to a foreign country as exciting as I do and that is okay.
I have been very lucky throughout my life. I was exposed to airports, airplanes and long layovers before I was even a year old. I had a passport before I could walk or talk and therefore I have always found it hard to find excitement in the mediocre things in life when I had already experienced so much at a young age. I was raised by a mother and grandmother who still today take off on new adventures every few months. I have never got a thrill out of watching movies or reading books but instead have always preferred to see and touch everything first hand rather than viewing it through someone else’s eyes. If there is any airline seat sale, a long weekend off school, or extra shift to pick up at work, I will take advantage of it all if it means I get to leave home and explore a new city and interact with new people. That is my idea of fun. I started to realize that being passed down restless feet is who I am and travel has morphed me into a person I really like. The qualities I enjoy about myself, I find in other people while abroad or people at home and immediately fall in love with. I swear I feel my heart beat faster when someone I am about to fall in love with approaches me.
When I first plunged into the world of solo travel, it hit me right away how many positive aspects stem from being alone. As I took off for Europe last summer, not knowing one single person in any of the cities I was in, I thought how refreshing it was for it to just be me, myself and I. I was okay with spending time to myself and not being on the prowl for that special soul mate everyone is desperate to find these days. I ate alone, took pictures alone and went to sleep alone and I miss those days all the time. I used to consider myself a hopeless romantic and in some ways I still am. It just so happened that one day I woke up and loved the direction my life was heading in and was alright heading that way alone (at least for now). I guess the short and sweet summary of it is, for myself at 22 I find that I am nowhere near ready to settle down in one specific place with one specific person when I am convinced the person who I will marry is someone I knew for less than 48 hours when I was traveling through Europe. He is someone who has restless feet and is determined to walk every inch of this planet which is something I will always strive to accomplish. He is someone I still stay in constant contact with and no matter where is he is in the world and although he is not physically in front of me, he can make me smile with a simple “Hello” over Facebook messenger. I fell in love with someone who is equally as restless as I am and that can be magical and horrific all at the same time. However, you want to love someone similar to yourself in some aspects; someone who is willing to free fall through the sky with you, kiss you as the sun begins to melt with the water, and try foods you both cannot pronounce the name of.
As a closing point after my ramble, I guess what I am trying to say is that romantic relationships and love is something we all naturally want to find in life however, do not ever allow it to keep you grounded in one spot, all the time. You are not a tree, you have the advantage to move around as far as you want, when you want. There are so many wonderful opportunities and experiences out there waiting for you, go and catch them!