Leaving is easier than it sounds. We all love to fantasize about getting out of our current situation and starting anew somewhere completely different. But in reality, the action of actually leaving is complicated and hard and most often ends in just staying in the status quo. I’ve made more plans to flee than I care to count. I essentially come up with a new life plan on the daily, and those who are close to me have learned to take my exodus ideas with a grain of salt (or however that saying goes….)
Well. I AM LEAVING THIS TIME. In 20 days from this moment, I will be on a plane en route to Valparaiso, Chile, where I will commence life for at least a year. It’s real and it’s happening. This is both horrifying and thrilling in equal parts. I am going without a job prospect, little knowledge of the language, and really no plan at all. Reckless? perhaps. Ballsy? absolutely. This is happening (in real life), and there is no turning back now. Thus, this post will serve as a guide to anyone a
nd everyone who wants to make a clean break from the mundane (relationship, job, location, sexual identity (?), etc.) and drift into an adventure of the unknown.
How to leave:
1. Don’t run away
Here is the issue: my life is absolutely GREAT right now. I basically practice and teach yoga all day long, and make questionable decisions by night. I have great friends and family, and no stalker ex-boyfriend (that I know of…). Why would I want to leave now? I thought about waiting until some sort of sh*t hit the fan, just to make myself feel better about fleeing. This idea was slapped down quicker than soda in a Mormon church. While discussing this matter with my heady friend Claire, she told me, “if you leave when things are bad, you’re only running away. LOLZZZ!!!” She didn’t actually lolzzz after stating this very true statement, BUT you get the point. If you leave with a bad taste in your metaphorical mouth, you will never truly feel at peace with your decision. You will always be emotionally tied to your past life and won’t be able to integrate into your new one. So, if your life is seemingly terrible and you want to run away, DON’T. Stay. Fix things. Mend relationships. Tie up those loose little ends. And if you still want to flee after things are smoothed over and going well, then absolutely go for it. Stop running and start facing your sh*t. And then get outta dodge. lolzzz.
2. Make a plan as far as possible, and allow the rest to fall into place
Planning is great, until it’s not. It’s great to have an idea of where you will stay and what you will do once you get there. But when your pursuing the unknown, plans can often complicate and weigh you down rather than help. I am the planner-ist of all planners. Like, I get pretty aroused when I have a solid plan for my day or week. It’s a little sick actually. I tried to make a plan for this upcoming adventure by applying for jobs online, etc. It failed miserably. I cried for a sec and then discovered this situation does not need rhyme or reason. I have a place to live for a bit (thanks Yenn!), until she kicks me out for my wine habit. I know that I want to teach yoga. And that’s it. That is all I can plan remotely. You have to trust that everything else will fall into place. Having a blank page and open mind will most likely turn out better than an organized idea. You will have more freedom to go with the flow and spontaneously agree to anything and everything. So satisfy your type-A tendencies to sleep better at night, but leave the rest open ended.
3. Embrace any and all emotions.
I’ve essentially felt like a schizophrenic psycho for the past month and a half. One minute I am so fcking excited to go I could scream it to the world. The next 60 seconds I am crying in the fetal position and attempting to call Delta airlines and plead my case to never leave. You probably will not be emotionally or mentally stable for a good while before and after you leave. It is quite alright. Allow yourself to feel anything and everything that comes up. You are completely allowed to be a psycho during this time. And anytime really, as long as you don’t murder anyone or start listening to Ke$ha unironically.
4. Bring a piece of home with you.
It would be impossible to assume you will not miss home. YOU WILL. You will miss your creature comforts. You’ll miss your friends and family and dog. You will maybe miss it all. But instead of wishing you were back home, bring a little piece of home with you. Appropriate items include: pictures, blankies, snuggies, scarves to gully with, favorite snacks, hobbies that you love/travel well, journal, etc. Inappropriate items include: your dog, your mother, that man/boy you just fell in lust with, a lit candle, explicit/implicit drugs, and anything that has to do with Lana Del Rey. Bring something with you that will make you feel comfortable and less homesick.
5. Sell most/all of your belongings of your current life.
We all have too much. Entirely too much. We justify buying all things because we live in America, and we can. Fck yea! No. When you move to another part of the world, you will probably need around 3.67% of your sh*t (I’m no mathematician, but it’s serious). Thus, this is the perfect time to deal with your hoarding issue. Sell of all your hip clothing and such to some hip vintage store, and donate the rest. Take only what you need, and learn how to survive on less.It is a freeing feeling to have less items. Things clutter our lives and keep us in the past. Like, look at your closet right meow. I bet you still have items from when you were in high school. Eh? You are definitely NOT the same person, and your belongings are basically stumping your growth. Get rid of some stuff and open yourself up to the new you. Own less, take less, and live on less. It will be bizarre and weird, but you will get used to it. And if you don’t, maybe your dadddeeeh will buy you a new iphoneeee!
6. Stick with your decision.
There is nothing worse than torturing yourself with the wishy-washy bullsh*t of decisions. If your heart is telling you to go, the buy your ticket/put something in place so you can’t retreat. Once it’s a sure fire plan, you can focus your energy on the actual act of leaving and inevitable adventure. I am the queen of all things indecisive and I love to bail out of plans. So the second I bought my outrageously expensive ticket, I felt so relieved that it was happening and I couldn’t back out. Sometimes you just have to DO IT. So, make the decision and go with it. Everything will fall into place if it’s the right choice for you. Stop questioning and start focusing on the journey.
7. Enjoy all remaining moments in your soon to be past-life.
I’ve made a small by efficient bucket list for my remaining time in Colorado. Since I’ve lived here for 392032 years, I’ve been around the block (not THAT block, you freak, I mean the socially acceptable Colorado block). Basically, get somewhat reckless and don’t turn down opportunities to be with those you love (or lust, or loathe). Say yes to going out on the town on a Sunday night. Say yes to climbing mountains. Say yes to going home with strangers… (kidding(?)) Say yes to taking your little brother to the park (mine is 21, so this would be a weird option for me. Unless it was to drink booze from a paper bag or check out “babes”. You know what I’m sayin’ though….) Do exactly what you want to do. Enjoy every single moment. You will probably miss the littlest things when you are away, so create the stories and memories now before you leave. Soak up as much as you can and enjoy every single minute of it.
8. Go with a purpose.
Don’t just go to go. Or maybe do. But, in my personal/highly professional opinion, travel is more fulfilling and beneficial when you have an intention. While it’s super neat to sightsee and hot as many different worldly locations as possible, this type of traveling will become meaningless and bland regardless of the destination. Think of something you want to achieve as you experience the world. My plan/hope/dream is to teach yoga in every place I live. I would love to experience the yoga scene everywhere in the world to take a little piece of that place with me always. Find something that will teach you something and benefit others. Volunteer at a farm, work in a hostel, help build something, do art, create things, teach English, work in a restaurant. Be something and do something, but don’t put pressure on yourself. Find a purpose and spread it around town/the world.
9. Remember that nothing is permanent.
Except for death and tattoos, everything is open to change. We are ever evolving creatures and are empowered to change anything and everything. Thus, if you are deciding to leave your life and start anew, remember it will not be forever (unless you want it to be…). If you are not content, you can move. If you want to stay, you can stay. We tend to think in black and white when making decisions, but in reality there is a ton of grey area. Stick with it for long enough to see the bigger picture, and if it’s not right for you then move on. Drift from place to place until it feels right. And always know that home is just a plane flight away.
10. ENJOY THE JOURNEY
You are about to embark on perhaps the most magical journey/flee of your young adult life. You have to enjoy and embrace each moment, good or bad. You will probably look back on this time when you are old and boring and responsible and wish you would’ve realized how great it is. The journey and process is much more important than the destination. While the sight of getting to that other “place” motivates you to leave, it’s the journey that will hold the most life. Acknowledge each step along the way like it is the destination. Allow yourself to go with the flow. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If you get violently thrown off your path, there is an underlying purpose and you probably aren’t supposed to go down that way.
If you are thinking of leaving, I hope this guide will serve you well in your journey. If you are not leaving, I hope this motivates you to leave. Or at least consider it. Life is too short to not adventure. Get reckless and do something spontaneous. It could just be the best decision of yer life. LOLZ.
P.S. Listen to both of these motivational hit singles to start that metaphorical adventure fire under your mundane life:
—-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggWyUEuGcWY (Please also keep in mind that she is only 13 in this video….)
—–> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3HemKGDavw (Classic for all things fleeing)