Underrated Stories Presents
Wanderlust Is Calling
How to drop everything and start over
It might sound crazy at first, but at some point, you have probably thought about what it would be like to start a new life.
The mystical ‘pack your bag, get on a flight and throw caution into the wind’ mentality leaves you in a seemingly intoxicating state of wanderlust.
These dreams and ideas originate differently for everyone and very few have an opportunity to turn them into a reality. If you are suddenly one of the lucky few who face that decision, however, it could be the best move you ever make.
Only time and certain calculated decisions will determine that fate.
I am one of those people who has acted on and completed moves like this in both 2013 and 2020. With the benefit of experience and hindsight, I’d like to offer some thoughts, tips, guidance, and considerations on beginning a new journey.
Choose what you take with you very carefully
This idea applies to both people and possessions. Every situation is different and it might make sense to pack up a big U-Haul, but alternatively imagine taking everything you own on an airplane. Selling something like a car is a chore, sure, but that cash could come in handy down the line.
It’s both liberating and terrifying, which sets a unique foundation for what is to come.
There may also be existing relationships that tie you to a certain place. Hold on tight, see clearly and make a decision. This is your life we are talking about — it is not easy to physically let someone go, but the big picture and long game are vastly more important.
You don’t truly know a place until you have lived there
Remember that friend or acquaintance who turned out to be the world’s best roommate? Spending ample time within the depths of their daily routine, sharing secrets, uncovering mysteries, and learning about all that they have to offer. The same concept applies here.
You can point to a place on a map, look it up online, read books and magazines, or even visit for a long weekend, but without making a long-term commitment, you’ll never really know the truth.
Moving to a new place is a big risk, but that’s the point. It’s up to you to squeeze all the juice available out of the new environment and not dwell so much on the negatives.
There will be things you love and hate about this new experience, so find your niche, run with it and don’t dwell on looking back. Focus on the positives and watch, living in the moment, as this new life evolves with time.
This milestone, a new chapter in a new environment, is about what you have created. Do not give credence to what is behind you or what might try to bring you back down.
Embrace the discomfort
Life truly does begin outside of your comfort zone. As strange as it sounds, there is a great amount of strength, poise, and confidence that comes from enduring an uncomfortable situation.
Moving to a new place is extremely uncomfortable. There are new cultural norms, cuisines, mannerisms, traditions, traffic patterns, noises, do’s, don’ts, and everything in between. All that you know and remember might come in handy, but most will not. So you are a green banana, learning, ripening until fully assimilated to this new place.
The lessons that this growth provides can last a lifetime, which is something to keep in mind during those stretches of uncertainty. Moving to a new place requires the ability to convert fear, anxiety, and ambiguity into strong allies — guideposts as opposed to obstacles.
Ride it out and add some worthy experience to your repertoire.
Homesickness and regret will eventually find you
Negativity and doubt are, unfortunately, inescapable parts of life. Their roots will fill your head with thoughts that are designed to set you on a path of stagnation, or even regression.
Do not ignore them. Instead, work to figure out why they are there.
Upon settling into a new journey and experience, you will want to retreat. You will wonder how you are ever going to make it without the family and friends that helped get you here. This lonely trek is CRAZY and foolish and unstable and…
“QUIET!” is what you yell to the voices inside your head, those demons which feast upon self-doubt and trepidation. Time after time, that response becomes a habit, and that habit builds confidence.
And then, suddenly, an epiphanic realization occurs that you are capable of anything and everything. The hardest part is over; it’s time to build on this foundation.
You are not alone in this journey
Before leaving the driveway for the airport (the first time) or that long drive (the second time), I remember thinking about the people I was about to meet. There was an entire group of new coworkers, teammates, and friends that would soon walk into my life.
That was the only thought I needed to allow the excitement to truly take shape.
At the same time, I thought about my parents, siblings, dog, and friends that would stay behind. Even though I would be hundreds of miles away, I knew they would always be there for me. A byproduct of moving to a new place is “expanding the empire,” and such a feat is not easily done at home.
I was en route to affecting the lives of others and receiving the same experience in return.
Rome was not built in a day
Haste makes waste, and the life that you have always wanted takes time to build. Just figuring out what the life looks like takes time.
It’s based on every decision you make and is entirely attainable with focus, hard work, and dedication. Set goals and take them seriously every hour of every day.
Mediocrity is for those who are okay with settling for less than greatness.
The scenery will change along the way, but one thing remains the same:
You get out of this life what you put into it.
Remember why you made the decision in the first place
One of the most difficult parts of this journey is deciding to go after it. In those times of doubt and uncertainty, think back to the person you were when you faced the decision to move. Think of how you have grown and the experiences you have gained. Harness the courage necessary to fuel the drive to keep up the momentum.
The grass is green wherever you water it, so move forward and plant the seeds for what’s ahead.