A month ago, I did the most insane thing I have ever done with my life. I packed my bags and moved to another country. Before moving to Germany, I had never even been to Europe before. I subleased my apartment, signed up for online classes at my University, learned the basic language skills of German, got my visa approved, and began packing my bags to move to a new land. A year ago, I was in a completely different place in my life. I was incredibly dependent on other people to “show me the way”. I convinced myself that I couldn’t do anything on my own because my anxiety scared me away from most opportunities. I have always been a very impulsive character. I often don’t think things through before making the first move. In some cases, this works in my favor, but most of the time…not so much. The decision to move and start a fresh life has been the greatest impulsive decision I have made. I am 20 years old, living my dreams. Dreams that I have always considered to stay my dreams. I have never imagined myself actually traveling Europe until the day I was offered a job as an Au Pair.
I arrived in Germany a month ago and began working as a live-in nanny for the most amazing family. I nanny for two beautiful children who never fail to greet me with a smile each morning. I have learned how to live my life with pure unconditional love. As a child, my mom always made sure I felt loved. The best story I have for you to show what I mean by this is when my mom used to always make dinner and before eating she would call me into the kitchen. She asked me, “ok which piece of chicken do you want?” Of course, I would always pick the biggest piece. At church, during coffee hour, my mother and I always had a special thing for chocolate cream filled donuts. She always let me have the last bite. Always. This may sound silly but I always told myself that I would never be able to love someone enough to share my food like that. Well, I’m all grown up now and I have finally learned how to live this life with love. The children I nanny for have taught me so many things about love since moving here. I found myself giving the last bite of my chocolate muffin to the baby the other week and I couldn’t wait to share the story with my mom. On hectic days, I often can’t wait for the day to be over so I can spare some time of peace and quiet. However, the second they go to bed I realize how much I miss them. I’ve been lucky enough to discover what true love is and it isn’t over a stupid boy this time. The kids can drive me nuts sometimes but at the end of the day, I always go to bed with a smile on my face. I’ve never been so happy.
I’ve eliminated the clutter that I have lived with for most of my life. My wardrobe has downsized by more than half, where I am left with a total of 33 clothing items. While packing my bags, I decided to pack things I genuinely find value in. I stopped telling myself “eh, I might use that one day”. Basically, I packed all of my art supplies, camera equipment, clothing, and my books. I’ve purchased a few things since moving but I made sure to ask myself “do I need this? Will I use this item very much? Why am I buying this product?”. A lot of the time I have had things in my cart but couldn’t answer these questions morally right. So…I put them back. Living with less has changed my life. I don’t spend nearly as much time in my room, surrounded by clutter. Instead, I am spending time with people I love, meeting new people, and discovering my surroundings. I have always felt that I needed “things” to be happy but that is just totally untrue. I have never felt this refreshed in my life and I plan on living like this for the rest of my life.
I’ve already met a few kind souls while living here. I have multiple adventures planned and I am beyond excited to enjoy this new lifestyle that I am so lucky to live. As I write this, I am actually sitting on a beach in Spain. Spain has been incredible so far. I have done yoga on the beach, practiced some of my photography skills, and adventured off with the little ones in a few cool spots. I have also had an eye-opening experience while walking on the beaches in Spain. The amount of trash I have collected off the beaches pains me. The small plastic fragments that lie in the sand is beyond overwhelming. It takes away the beauty, it really does. This has taught me that even with the small changes I have begun making towards sustainability, more change needs to happen and it needs to happen now. I may only be one person but I can no longer go around preaching my beliefs when I am not living by them 100% of the time. I have decided that I will no longer be using single-use plastic. That is my first step. I have started following other bloggers who are “zero-waste” which is a goal I am moving towards to. I know this will take time because it is a major lifestyle adjustment but within the next two years, I will be living a zero waste lifestyle.
I plan on having a small trip next month, likely a solo trip. I feel that this would be good for me. I’ve always traveled with other people and I find that maybe a couple of days by myself is exactly what I need. I’ve been dwelling on my past relationship a bit much and most of my friends keep telling me that I am missing out on what is right in front of me. They are beyond right and although it doesn’t make this any easier on me, I know I need to really continue focusing on myself. If I have learned anything from my previous relationships, I have learned that in order to ever be in a healthy relationship where you attract the right people for you, you must also be in a healthy relationship with yourself. I do not think I am quite there yet, therefore, I need to make my main focus to be on myself…which sounds a hell of a lot easier than it is made out to be. In time, I know I will receive what I deserve. Besides, as I said, I’ve already met a few cool people out here that I want to connect with and I really believe I could learn from these people and develop amazing friendships which are important for everyone to have.
I’ve also taken up yoga regularly. Self-taught but hey it’s still yoga. I’ve always wanted to do this but I’ve never had the commitment or gumption to do so. I ordered my yoga mat and I’ve always noticed an immense amount of progress in myself. It’s hard to find time to do everything I want to do. I have really been struggling with having the motivation to get everything done. Between my job, travel, meeting new people, my hobbies, and school, it has been very hard to juggle everything. I found that waking up an hour and a half earlier (yup, 6:00 am), I have a lot more time to accomplish everything I want to do. I’ve been able to do yoga every morning, read a chapter of my poetry book, and journal my thoughts while sipping my hot coffee. Sure, waking up earlier sucks some days but in the end, I feel extremely productive and refreshed. I don’t beat myself up as much about not getting everything done because I know I am doing the best I can.
This new lifestyle has been the greatest change I have made to my life. Six years ago, I wasn’t even sure if I would be alive at this age. I wasn’t sure if I would be in college. I certainly never thought I would be traveling in Europe while meeting people from all over the world. I have found my passion. My new way of living. I get to brag about this. I get to be proud. I get to finally enjoy my life and a new way of living.