Guest Post: Life of A World Traveler At Heart

Hello, I'm Karen, and I'll be blogging today while she is out and about discovering Europe with her friends. I'm absolutely thrilled to be a guest on Aly's blog today! You can usually find me blogging at Dream Once More and tweeting at @dreamoncemore. I'd love for you to check out my blog & follow me on Twitter.

I am 27 years old and just recently graduated from university (graduate school). While that might sound kind of old to you, it's not that uncommon in Germany (that's where I live!). In the eight years I spent pursuing my degree I also spent two years living abroad, one in the States and one in Spain. While I realize how lucky I have been to get that opportunity, it has been over two years since I came back from Spain, and I feel ready to move somewhere else again and explore another part of the world.

I would love to spend a few years living and working abroad like Aly did, maybe in the States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. But finding a good job abroad with no prior work experience sans a few internships would be really hard, and taking a crappy job just to live abroad? I kind of feel too old for that. That is something I really envy Aly for, finishing university at such a young age that she was able to spend three years living in London and still be younger by the time she goes back home than I was when I finished grad school.

There are several work & travel programs out there that allow you to live and work in Canada, New Zealand or Australia for a year. But let's face it, most of those jobs are probably not the kind you need a graduate (or any) degree for. I have realized that before college would have been a better time to spend a year abroad on a work & travel visa. Now I feel like I should be in a place where I already know what I want to do with my life. I should be looking for a solid job that will give me work experience in the field that I will be working in later. I feel like I need to prove that I am not a flake.

At the same time, another part of me is thinking, should I really care what others would say? Ideally no, I shouldn't, but realistically, it is hard enough to find a job with a degree in humanities in the current economy. So spending another year or two traveling will make me look like I still don't want to commit to a serious working life as a grown-up despite being 27 years old. That is not something companies are looking for in a potential employee so I feel like I need to make my decisions with my resume in mind. I never liked this kind of thinking, it seems so calculating and insincere, but I am already doing it, and have been doing it for a while. And the ironic thing is I do not want to have a career in the sense that I want to become the CEO of a company or become rich. I just want a job I like and that will pay my bills, one that will allow me a comfortable life, not living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I am 27 years old and still don't really know what I want in life. In the past few weeks, since I started looking for a job, the picture has become a little clearer though. I went from not even knowing what kind of job it is I want, to knowing what I might want, though I haven't narrowed it down to one thing just yet. While part of me is still dreaming of moving abroad again, the other part of me knows that likely I will be working here for a couple of years before moving abroad will not be a step back in my career.

Don't get me wrong, despite all this talk about wanting to move abroad, I do love living in Germany. I just want to experience living in other places as well. In that regard, moving to the US for a year in 2004 was probably one of my most life-changing decisions yet. I realized just how much I enjoy living abroad, and while I do miss my hometown, my friends and family, being able to experience a different culture, speaking another language, eating foreign food, and making new friends make it all worth it. The older I get, the more I want to savor the time with my family - my parents aren't getting any younger - but I do know that if I get the opportunity to live abroad again for a year or two (or more), I will take it.

On days like this, I wish that I had made better use of my early twenties, or graduated sooner, because I feel that there is no way I can possibly fit everything I want into this one life. I just hope I make the right choices and that I will one day look back at my life with no regrets.

Have you ever lived abroad? Do you want to? Or are you happy where you are and couldn't imagine leaving behind your home, friends and family?

3 Comments • Labels:  


Emily Jane said...

I'm glad to see your lovely writing over here today! :)

"On days like this, I wish that I had made better use of my early twenties, or graduated sooner, because I feel that there is no way I can possibly fit everything I want into this one life."

This really resonates with me. Though I consider myself lucky to have lived in England for 15 years growing up, I can't shake the feeling of wanting to leave Manitoba and go live somewhere else in Europe, or Australia, New Zealand... there is so much this world has to offer and I feel like there is SO not enough time (or money!) to soak it all up!

terra said...

I have never lived abroad, if you don't count that year I spent deployed to Eastern Europe since it was with the military and I was still immersed in American culture even though I was on a different continent. I would love to though, although I find the thought slightly terrifying.

Fingers crossed you land a job that pays well enough for you to do traveling in the meantime before you can live abroad again.

San said...

You know, Karen, a lot of this could have flown out of my own pen (so to speak). I feel the same way in a lot of ways... and just because I DO live abroad and (finally) HAVE a career, does not mean that I am not dreaming of just packing my bags and exploring the world more.

You'll find your way. Just keep going!

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