Dylan Nicholson runs a beautiful blog called baguettes and boarding passes. There he writes about traveling and eating his way through France. I thought his perspective on maintaining balance while traveling abroud would be very interesting. I am so happy he agree to share his thoughts in the guest post. be sure to check out his blog and have a momentary jaunt to France with him
International. Intrepid. Explorer. These are three words most of us want people to use when they describe us; that really cool and well-traveled guy who has an inexhaustible knowledge on all things exotic and wild. Often it is the end-product that we want to be, without the steps in between – the working to become.
Why is this?
It takes time, it takes money, it can be a lonely path, a stressful one, and above all, a scary one. We have to really consider how we are going to balance our travels with all the other aspects of our lives. It can seem near impossible to juggle the travel bug with friends, family, relationships and careers, without dropping one. Try as we might, balancing everything evenly can end up like a very complicated yoga pose; completely toppling over. Also, like in yoga, taking a couple of deep breaths doesn’t seem to make it any easier.
Establishing a home/travel balance is really important so we feel like well-rounded and fulfilled human beings. But the practicality of it is not as easy as we all hope. Oftentimes, we focus solely on one aspects in our lives that need fulfilling before becoming infatuated on a different aspect. One we don’t have (a flaw in basic human psychology). We focus all of our resources on fulfilling our new object of desire and bounce around from extreme to extreme until we are completely exhausted.
They say your 20’s are for you. They’re for finding yourself. I embraced this wholeheartedly and bought a one-way ticket to France – the exact opposite side of the world, where I had never visited. I knew two people and spoke about five words of the language. All in the name of looking for myself.
I have found myself. It has been a great way to figure out who I am; grow as a person, figure out what personality traits I possess, which ones I don’t, and which ones I want to. I found some direction on the career(s) I wanted. I learnt a new language, made new friends and got to know myself. I have seen some incredible sights and at times, had to struggle, with no safety net to fall back on.
Often, when living abroad, we forget that simple fact. I have found myself, on numerous occasions, planning the next adventure. Heading to places I can’t believe I still haven’t seen or thinking, ‘Why am I not living there right now?!’; forgetting that the journey I am on is pretty spectacular. But do we need to do all of this on such a grand gesture? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. While I have 0% regret, I know people who have taken similar trips for a month, or six weeks, and have had similar epiphanies to mine. While un sejour court may not allow you to reap the benefits of living abroad long-term, it does allow you to keep a couple more of those juggling balls up in the air; beginning and maintaining a career, an existing circle of friends and the comfort and convenience of being in the same time zone as family.
Finding a balance between all of the directions we are being pulled in is hard. Finding the absolute balance is probably impossible. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to find it. The journey of finding this balance is probably more important than actually finding it, maybe the balance doesn’t really actually exist, because I’m still looking for it. And I am really enjoying the journey.