I was 35 years old in the photo to the left. It was taken in Modena, Italy, the first time I went to Europe. I wanted to celebrate my 35th birthday and taking my private practice on full time all in the same year. I coaxed my best friend into going with me. It was a life long goal and it only made sense that I celebrated my birthday and my practice by fulfilling the dream. I originally wanted to go when I finished my doctoral program, but when things went a bit left it was something that I wrote off. I was happy, excited, and filled with so much gratitude to go and experience it. I had no idea how much it would teach me. I learned so much about myself, my friendships, and my resilience and self awareness.
Last fall I made the decision to take a trip back to Europe, but this time for a longer span of time and in some different places including Paris, my return to Italy for a month, Spain, and back to Paris. The main reason for my extended trip is to learn, to challenge myself, to make myself uncomfortable, to better understand my ability to go to a new and different place and make a life. Even if it is for a short period of time. Why am I doing this? Seems extreme. Great question. Last year when I signed my lease for my apartment I made the decision that it would be the last time I signed a lease at the place I am currently living. I have always thought about moving to another city, but as the time approached to make decisions about where I might go I would back out and sign a new lease. Europe will be an experience that I intentionally put myself into to figure it out. So I return to Europe to learn a little more about myself. I am excited. I am nervous. I am curious. Most of all I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
What I Have Learned So Far…
It is funny how the moment I decided to book the trip I started learning. I knew I wanted to go but I wasn’t sure how expensive flights would be so I had Google track prices. I booked the trip on August 30th when the roundtrip ticket was only a third of what a regular ticket would be. I reached out to a friend who knew what I wanted to do. She told me, “it sounds like you are booking a flight today.” I’m thankful for her support. First thing I learned, I am surrounded by friends who support me. They have shown up as I have made the decision and supported me throughout.
The trip was booked 5 months in advance which gave me all of the time to plan. Planning where to go and how long to stay started to be a bit challenging. I planned for a month but it was starting to feel like too short of a time span to really get plugged in and feel like I can learn if I could learn what it was to live in a different place. So I decided to extend the trip to 6 weeks and that is when it got really exciting and a bit scary. Second thing I learned, sometimes you have to do things afraid to grow.
It feels like time took a huge leap forward since I booked the trip. After the trip was booked it felt like it was going to be forever until departure. I kind of felt like it wasn’t happening. The fall came and things were busy as ever with the two businesses. I was spending time with my family, celebrating my nieces birthdays, hanging out with friends, and celebrating the holidays. I was also working with my therapist specifically on some childhood trauma. While doing that work we talked extensively about my trip to Europe and my feelings about living in Nashville and wanting to possibly move away. The more I did the work around why I wanted to leave Nashville the more I realized why I wanted to stay. I realized that me wanting to leave Nashville was wrapped up in the adventurous and explorative nature when it comes to places. It was also rooted in fear, mainly that I feared I couldn’t afford to live in Nashville the way I would like to, the fear that the city that raised me and the city where I consciously made a home for myself wouldn’t be able to sustain me. When I processed that with my therapist she asked me what made me think these things. The only real answer I could give was how crazy the housing market was. But when I thought about it, that wasn’t a great reason. I hadn’t really done any research or understood what could be done. Once I realized this, things changed. I reached out to a realtor I had started working with in the past. By letting go of the fear I was able to let my true feelings about staying in Nashville come to the surface. And the truth is I love this city that has made me an adult. I don’t love everything about it but no relationship is perfect including this one. The most interesting part about coming to this conclusion is the entire point of going to Europe was to figure out if I could live somewhere else. Turns out I want to stay right where I am. Third lesson, the process of moving through your plan is filled with lessons and sometimes you get answers from things you never expect.
So I am going to Europe excited to learn and understand how to live there for 6 weeks. I am excited to work abroad and navigate time changes and work at a different time of day in a different place. I am excited to be exposed to learn and immerse myself in history. I am excited to see what I can do there, to see how I show up and who I meet along the way. You can follow me here along the way. I plan to share my adventures with you at least once a week while I am away. I am manifesting a wonderful experience and adventure. I leave you with a few questions.
What is something that you would like to do to learn more about yourself?
What steps can you take to move on the thing?
What do you want to learn most about yourself?
Do it afraid and see how it changes you.