Life is an adventure!
In my opinion, living, working or studying abroad is one of the most important rights of passages you can take in life. Busting out of your comfort bubble to explore the world is invaluable. Ask anyone who has done it. Living abroad for a prolonged period of time extends your mental map and pushes your boundaries while you experience the rhythm of a different culture, meet new people, try exotic foods, listen to enticing music and see fresh sights. Living abroad awakens your soul because everyday is an adventure that keeps you engaged in the moment and learning something new.
Studying abroad during college and living abroad after school helped me transform into the person I am today. I decided to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a taste of South American life with some European flair. My comfort level was pushed when my host mother only spoke Castillan so my mind constantly ached as I tried to dream and be in Spanish. My internal clock oriented itself to the 6pm coffee dates and the 10pm dinners. I observed the different gym culture where the ideas of fitness and body images took a more superficial approach. I loved wondering the halls of super markets tasting the different versions of sweet treats, preparing vegetables in new ways and learning to drink mate. The rhythm of life and the values imbedded in the culture taught me how to be creative with what you have, value the moment, the conversation and the company you are with.
Coming back to life in America creates what I like to call, vertigo- dysphoria. Life feels unfamiliar, uneasy yet very predictable. I have worked with a number of clients who feel a sense of sadness when they come back to their life in the States after traveling. They feel they lost something special even though they came back with so many intangible souvenirs. They fear the lessons they learned and the experiences they encountered wont mean anything as they re-enter the American grind. Personally, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t miss living in Buenos Aires. Whether it is missing my favorite cafes, friends or certain foods, my heart yearns for the Latin warmth and laid back rhythm. Despite loving my life in Seattle, I still yearn to be abroad. Since I currently can’t move back to Buenos Aires, I learned how to create an abroad sensation while staying present and living my life Seattle.
1. Practice the language
Whether you have an in person language buddy or not, technology makes it super convenient to practice. You can skype with friends, watch foreign films or use so many language aps that support a practice on your own time. My boyfriend and I try to switch our conversation into Spanish at least a couple of times a week. We know that there are certain phrases in Castellan that describes something perfectly that can’t necessarily be translated into English. Practicing the language keeps the energy of the culture alive in us.
2. Create a ritual
One of my most favorite aspects of Argentine culture, was experiencing the medienda or community mate time. Medienda means snack time. For me, medienda was a meaningful part of my day to pause, have coffee, share a delicious treat and enjoy another person’s company. This pause is a beautiful time for rich connection. Just because we are busy bees, does not mean we should push face-to-face connection to last priority. Make a coffee date with a friend or yourself and create quality time for connection. If you enjoy something tasty with your coffee, allow yourself to savor it and not feel guilty (you don’t even have to finish it all).
3. Have an adventure
Escape burnout and boredom by creating an adventure in your day. It can be as small as eating something different for lunch, walking a different route to work or switching up your schedule completely. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. Push yourself out of the ordinary and create an adventure that keeps you guessing and staying awake.
4. Cook up a recipe
Being a foodie, I crave the flavors and feel of the food in Buenos Aires. Just because I am back in America, doesn’t mean I can’t eat empanadas, steam calabaza(squash) or eat a torta for dinner (quiche). Food is one of the best ways to tap into and celebrate your memories with the smells and tastes. An added bonus if you play your favorite foreign music to set the mood and inspiration while in the kitchen.
5. Don’t plan yourself
As busy go getting Americans, we are trained to plan and schedule ourselves in order to be productive and efficient with our time. However, when we plan too much, we miss the journey. Our mind is already onto the next appointment before we fully enjoy the current moment. Make your Sunday a day to not plan anything! I know it might feel scary and “unproductive,” but try sleeping in, waking up when your body is ready, and living your day in the moment by letting your intuition lead. Image how you lived when you were abroad. You would laxidazy explore the streets without a care or “have to” in the world. Take that time for yourself and reconnect to how good it feels to go with the flow.
Do you have tips you would like to share? I would love to hear them! Please feel free to comment below or send me an email.