5 years ago I moved from California to Berlin.
I was on the verge of 25 and wanted to get the hell out of dodge. I was naive, but naive enough to take the leap without second guessing myself and letting the “right moment” to make a huge change beat down on me. There’s not really a right moment to do most things, I’ve learned. My move was not thought out — I got a job, sold almost all my possessions and moved within a month signing my contract. I packed my bags filled with weather impractical clothing and landed in Germany. A country I resented at first for its harshness, cold stares & endless Winters, then loved for the same reasons — straight forwardness, forthrightness, the quiet that only a cold Winter can bring & how those Winters make the Summers that much more amazing, because you can appreciate the light that you missed so much. Berlin ended up feeling like home.
The last 5 years have been transformative, to say the least and I won’t go into it too much. I can say I’ve learned a lot about the incredible value of communication (with people who speak the same language as me fluently & more importantly, with people who do not), the ups and downs of language barriers and how to adapt to new cultures — moving — change — the loveliness of individuality. I think the best lesson I learned is how difficult it is to find community & deep friendship when you reach the edge of your 20’s and then how incredibly important it is to seek it out anyway.
I’ve found home & peace in Europe. Over the last year I also found community — by seeking out close relationships with individuals and also through roller derby. Roller derby allowed me to connect with like minded people & learn more about why diversity, inclusivity and community are so important. Almost every person in derby that I’ve met has been remarkable in some way. I know now that I can find community all around the world if I just strap on some skates and hit the pavement. It’s a really big comfort to my nomadic soul.
In September, I’m moving back to the US.
I feel like I need to experience the aspects of my job while still working remotely, but from different places in America. I have not used the benefits I’ve been given by having a remote job to the full extent and I want to remedy that. From September, I’ll live the Van life — traveling from one state to another — one National park to another — one coastal community to another — one or two mountain towns to another. I’ve not made my plans or where to go fully yet, but that’s part of the beauty of the trip — all I’m 100% sure of is that I’ll need strong & reliable wifi so I can work, a comfortable bed and a big van. A place to skate and teams to skate with is also a big plus! We’ll also be slow traveling so I can work and not get stressed about it, whilst traveling!
It’s not all about work, though. Work allows me to move to remote locations — yes — it allows me to live sustainably while also traveling. It allows me to live the life I want to live. The end result is seeing as much of the world as possible, learning from the communities we encounter along the way and living free of too many possessions.
I’m not afraid of this move, but I am also not naive about it — I know it won’t be all roses and ease. For a few years after I moved to Germany, I was afraid of moving again. Terrified of making such a big move once more — I didn’t want to go through all of it again. It was hard, it was cold. In the last year, though, I realized that home is what you make of it and home to me is not a place, but people that keep me grounded.
Movement moves me, literally. It’s not to say I am opposed to standing still, but I’ve been standing still, grounded physically (in a good way) for 5 years. I needed that stability, but I am ready for a change. I don’t know if I’m 100% ready to change my life completely — who is? — but as I said before — if you wait til’ you are ready, you’ll never go anywhere. I know it’s time to try this, because I’ve learned how to adapt to change and I know the value of community, friendship and what I need to live well. I know what to seek out and I have some hints where to find it. I am ready for a change again. It feels like time to use what I’ve learned to live the best life I can and that’s what I intend to do.
Originally posted here.
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