On Living Abroad (and 5 travel instagrammers worth following).

It took me a long time to fall in love with California.

When I was working in the city I used to wander aimlessly on my lunch breaks wishing I were home, or at least somewhere friendlier and more familiar. I craved a semblance of community. I missed the squishy babies and their open mouthed slobbery kisses. I longed to call over to my siblings for dinner, to drop by my friends houses unannounced. I missed the ease of life at home, of knowing who was where and what was what. This new city left me feeling ill at ease. Some days it felt like I was buckling from the constant stimulation of finding my way and always having to introduce, explain and arrange. I’m an introvert and making friends is hard. Putting myself out there was hard. It still is hard. But it is right—putting myself out there is the only way I will grow. I know that and at times I really don’t like it but I knowledge is power my friends. 

While I didn’t fall in love with foggy San Francisco, somewhere between the mountains and the sea I discovered a new normal, a bold wilderness that I have learned to love with all my heart. We made some friends. We bonded over idealistic obnoxious twenty-something ideals. We solved the worlds problems and shook our heads at the current state of affairs. We laughed as we hiked through forests, over mountains and down to the sea. As my muscles stretched and grew so did my appreciation for this place where we live. 

I still miss the squishy babies and I wish I could drop by my friends houses and have dinners with my siblings. I could never imagine life without them and yet that’s what the past nine months have been. We have created a life here. That fact gives me a real sense of pride. Pushing the boundaries on what I thought was possible and what I thought I could achieve has been one of the best parts of this past year. 

For the first six months living here I just wanted to go home. Every time we hit a stumbling block it would be my first retort, my final cry, my broken record. But little by little—deep in shady forests, on golden sandy beaches, and in a warm-hearted, nurturing work studio—I found that I was no longer simply surviving. In the abstract, I never thought I would ever move to another country (let alone the other side of the world!), that we could get the kind of jobs we have or do the kind things that we are doing. The reality that we are indeed doing all those things blows my mind every day. What does that mean for the next year? Or the year after? 

It's getting increasingly harder to imagine leaving. We will do it and there will be a period of adjustment and it will be hard but good. All things worth doing are so. 

One thing I have learned this year is that home is not a place but a state of being. We are more fluid than we think and much more adept for change than I ever thought possible. Who knows what’s going to come next. 

I would love to know about your adventures. What have you got planned for this summer or the coming months? If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Have you ever thought about living abroad?

If you’re interested in getting the travel bug (or some serious insta-envy) here are some people worth a follow:

  • Our friends Ashling & Paul are spending the next three months travelling around South America. 
  • As is a sweet girl from my college Emily and her boyfriend (they travelled around the world a couple of years ago—her instagram is one of my favourites!). 
  • Another college friend, Fiona, is living in New York and her photos are truly stunning. 
  • My sister-not-in-law Nadia is constantly jetting off some place new—check her out. 
  • Courtney Adamo’s instagram is one of my very favourites (pretty much the definition of #lifegoals for me). She and her husband and their four children are spending the next year travelling around the world—I can’t wait to see what is in store for them.