“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey
What are you passionate about? What drives you? What makes your eyes light up and cheer out loud?
For me it’s travel. Going to a new place, observing the culture, tasting the food, smiling at the new people, and watching family and friends interact. I think it is so amazing and beautiful to watch how other people live. Traveling means I actually get to live it, breathe it, taste it, and feel it first hand? Well, that just makes me do a happy dance.
For a long time I thought my days living abroad were over. I mean, where is the opportunity after studying abroad in college and then again for graduate school? You’re supposed to settle down, get married, have babies, and/or do the big corporate job by (insert insanely young age here). Right? Well, that’s at least what I thought. I have no idea where that seed came from, but it was a full fledged oak tree by the time I was 26.
At 27, and a breakup of a six year relationship, I had to reconstruct what I thought I wanted. In this reconstruction phase, someone close to me asked, “Yes, but what do YOU want?” I had never really, truly asked myself that. When I started to get happy in my own skin, decide what made me happy and not care what anyone else thought, I found myself living abroad in another country by age 28.
The Light Bulb Moment I Realized I was Living My Passion
I was in Amsterdam for a day trip with my boyfriend and his two friends, a month or so into my leap of faith abroad to live in Europe with my German boyfriend. After a long day of walking around, site seeing and exploring the city we stumbled upon a small pizzeria along a canal.
We ate upstairs in a loft that overlooked the small restaurant, and enjoyed the out-of-this-world-pizza with a delicious Polish beer to wash it down. We discussed the day, ready to drive the two hours back home to the northern part of the Netherlands.
We watched the server in a long white apron tidy the tables around us after she took our plates away. We noticed she was barefoot, which seemed totally natural for the laid back feel of the cafe and the city itself. If we had been in a restaurant on the beach in some remote shore town we wouldn’t have looked twice; if we had been anywhere in the states it would have been downright weird (and perhaps illegal?), a ‘when in Rome’ sort of moment.
A jealous twinge swept over me for a moment, and I turned to my friends to say, “I wish I had a job where I could be barefoot all the time.”
My boyfriend turned and looked at me, “You do,” he said without missing a beat.
I looked at him like he was crazy, and then immediately felt silly. I am a yoga instructor, and since moving out to Europe, I do freelance work online. I never wear shoes at home, which is also where I work.
I laughed out loud. I didn’t realize, until that moment, in order to reach one dream of traveling, living abroad and sharing a home with my boyfriend, I had ultimately met another goal of mine. To work where I wanted, how I wanted and barefoot.
That’s exactly why I took the leap of faith and quit my high-heeled-giant-office-building job, moved my basic necessities into two suitcases (and the rest into storage), left my friends and family in the States, and moved in with my German boyfriend in the Netherlands.
For me traveling is breathing. If I don’t see a new place every few months or so, my feet get itchy, I get irritated, and I get insanely jealous of those around me traveling (Facebook envy much?). I FINALLY realized, to keep me healthy and sane, I need to extend my reach, look at something new, somewhere new, every so often.
To explain that to certain friends and family, I begin to get squirmy and feel weird. “Don’t you like your family? Don’t you want to have kids someday and get married? Don’t you want, like, a normal life?” Yes. All of that. But for me, this IS normal, this is what I want, and it makes me so, so happy.
Also, I believe I can still see my family, have kids someday and get married “in spite” of having an extreme case of wanderlust. If it’s something I’m passionate about, I’ll figure it out.
“It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” -T.S. Eliot
So, I ask again. What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? What would make you do something crazy, like move across the world, in order to do? What’s stopping you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you’ve decided to take the leap of faith. Is there anyone else like me out there?
With love and light,