Both involve a bit of planning and packing but once you’ve made up your mind to do it, like with most things, you get in the flow of it and soon find yourself in a different world.
When I was younger I travelled quite a lot around South-East Asia and Australasia. I knew then that when I came back ‘home’ to Holland I wanted to live in the UK. Did I already know that ‘home’ would have ceased to be that? That by travelling I had taken up roots that had never properly burrowed down anyway? Did I already know that the country where I was born just wasn’t ‘my’ country anyway? Yes. Somewhere deep inside I did already know all this.
Back after my travels Holland felt more foreign than it had ever done before and although I settled back in for a while, it never felt right. So when the chance came to move to Scotland, I jumped at it. Oh, the weirdness of it all! Where do you go to get anything? I’d been to Scotland many times before, but actually living there was a different matter.
No longer on holiday and not sure where to start. But it’s funny how quickly I felt as if I’d been there forever. As I stood in the kitchen of my cottage with a cup of coffee on one of my first mornings there, overlooking the fields with a few deer munching on their breakfast greens I knew that this was where my roots where now grabbing hold. And for the next 4 years, Scotland was indeed my home.
And then. Then it wasn’t. Scotland is utterly beautiful. On a good day there is no country in the world that is more stunning and breathtaking. But there are so few good days. All the others are cold and grey and dreary and it affects everything and everyone. It just didn’t fit anymore.
And so my roots came up again and after some soul searching I found myself in beautiful Burgundy (France).
Now that was a challenge. Oh, not the moving here, (recipe: gather a truck, some friends, lots of boxes, a big barbeque and off you go), but the sheer differentness of it all.
Not only did I not speak a word of French other than merci, bonjour and au revoir, it had taken only 5 months from conception (seeing this place for the first time) to birth (actual moving date), which really wasn’t much time at all for proper preparations, to learn the language, to realise that the French are really in a league of their own and that logic, as we know it, ceased to exist when we crossed that border.
Have I ever regretted it? Never. Not for 1 minute. I absolutely, truly, utterly love it here. I feel more at home here than I have ever done anywhere else. And those roots are growing deep this time. I’m still learning French, I’m still trying to understand French Logic, I still marvel at the differentness of it all. And I am oh so glad I jumped in and took the chance.
Will I ever move to another country? Who knows?. At the moment I can’t imagine so, but I have learned that whatever is right for us now, doesn’t mean it stays right for us. And that just because it didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing.
And so it goes. It might be scary (or downright terrifying), but to be happy you have to follow your heart and take the path that it shows you. Leave the familiar behind and have the guts to follow your dreams. Remember that quote by André Gide: You can’t discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. Happy sailing!
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