Rambling about Rambling

I’ve just spent an hour or so looking up a variety of websites, seeking an answer for my question: how do I change my life to travel abroad?

I gave it a rest and shifted over to WordPress to see what’s going on in the blogosphere and see this Daily Post prompt: Study Abroad. Huh. Guess we’re all on the same wavelength today.

So, the prompt title is Study Abroad, but the text reads: If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?

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Library at Coimbra University, Portugal

Today’s short answer would be Portugal. I’m heading there on a ridiculously short trip next month, and I would love to spend a whole year. I’ve been trying to teach myself Portuguese, but a year would allow me to really learn the language. I love the sound of it. And two weeks is not long enough to get to know another country. A year sounds about right. It would be a start at least.

What I don’t know, and what I was trying to look up online, is how to make this possible, not just a Daily Prompt fantasy question. Most of what I see online is geared towards college grads. Or people who enjoy teaching or working with children. Kids are great and all, but that’s not my forte.

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I feel a strong call to see the world. I’d love to explore it all, moving slowly and steadily through it, listening to the different sounds, finding the odd tucked away bits and sharing them. Perhaps I can craft a travel guide for introverts. It will list all the coolest bookstores and libraries, and the best cafes to sit in the corner and watch the world go by.

Some say “Follow your bliss and the money will come” but if that were true, wouldn’t there be less poverty in the world? If I sell everything and pack it up and go, what happens when the money runs out? Is there a way to know? Or will the answer only come on the other side of the divide between now and then?

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In my twenties I spent three years traveling the United States, living in a van and seeing most of this country. It was a priceless experience. At the start I had no intention to travel for so long. I had a bit of money, a van and a willing travel partner, and we simply went. In the end it was as easy as stepping off the bottom of the pool and swimming. And as difficult as letting go.

We found ways to earn a bit here and there, and a lot of ways to spend no money. Gas was cheap then, and we found free campgrounds in beautiful places. We didn’t know about those before we left. I made jewelry and sold it wholesale to stores along the way, another thing I didn’t know before I left. The free time allowed a lot of creativity and problem solving. And the answers we needed were not available beforehand.

When we met people, we were often asked, “How can I do this?” My answer was often, “Just go.”

“But I can’t. I have these bills to pay, this house, this x, y or z.”

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There is always something to cling to. To wrap myself in, to comfort myself from the fear of uncertainty, fear of loss. When I look at the questions I asked above, I see myself clinging to the familiar. I cling to the routines that make me comfortable, yet blur my life into something less sacred. The magic of this life, this opportunity to breathe and experience, gets lost in the 9 to 5 world. It zips past, monotone grey.

I already know the answer to the question of “how?” is not on this side of the divide. I have to have faith in my ability to swim.

To see more responses to today’s Daily Post, click here

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