One year. One year? One year!? ONE YEAR.

9:42 PM Jessica Montgomery 0 Comments

I've been living abroad for one year.

That sentence was easy to type and it's been just as easy to live it.

When I was young I always had the urge to travel and explore. I grew up watching National Geographic, never feared standing on the bow of a boat, and even asked for a globe for Christmas as a child one year. But growing up, I did doubt that I would ever make it happen. Happen on my own that is. My parents gave me an incredible childhood. A childhood full of exploration, multi-cultural experiences (Some of my friends to this day say "You ate what?!"), and encouragement to take in all there is to take in. We would go on family vacations at least once a year outside of the state and at times, outside of the country. People asked if we were rich. I'd say No my parents just work very, very hard. And like to play harder. My brother and I were the privileged ones. My Dad has jokingly said "Marie, you should've never let them try lobster! Now they have a taste for it!" I dare say, it's the same way with travel. They set my travel foundation and it was supplemented by sleepy Saturday mornings with Jack Hannah and my Grandma's taste for Thai food.
I've always said that I wanted to live abroad, but it was always a "future" plan. A dream. Something that the "future me" could take care of and deal with. As much as I convinced myself that I would one day do it, I was making little strives to make it happen for fear of failure, leaving my comfort zone, and plainly not "being cut out for it". But, one year into my expat English teacher life, I think it's safe to say...there was nothing to worry about. If this experience has shown me anything it's to not hold back. There's no point. Just do it and look forward to kicking back later with a beer thinking to yourself, "Well, that was crazy." It's a much better feeling to have jumped out of your comfortable bubble than to sit back with a pile of regrets. That's what I've learned here. And continue to learn. And continue to remind myself everyday.

I just read my first entry in this blog one year ago. I wondered how a year would change me. I wondered how these experiences would change me. Pretty neat to reflect on.

So. One year, eh? Let's see if I can go back and check off some Bucket List worthy items...
I moved to Asia.
I finally have my own apartment. Downtown. Complete with skyline and mountain views.
I've been to the second largest city in the world. Multiple times.
I've learned to read and write in a non-roman language.
I stayed on an island in the East Sea.
I've been to and island that is currently being disputed by two countries.
I took a taekwondo lesson from Olympians.
I won a Gangnam Style dance contest.
I've climbed to tops of many mountains.
I ate live octopus.
I was in a theatre production.
I went to Thailand.
I went to Wat Arun.
I saw a Muy-Thai boxing match.
I went to Cambodia.
I watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat.
I rode an elephant to Angkor Thom.
I took part in an art exhibition.
I went white water rafting.
I went to Australia.
I climbed the Harbor Bridge.
I saw an opera at the Sydney Opera House.
I swam with a shark in the Great Barrier Reef.
I got three tattoos. (Sorry Dad!)
I've met amazing people from around the world.
And, I've signed up to do it again.

I'm not trying to brag. I'm just saying step out of your comfort zone. If you have no urge or finances to travel, that's fine! That's not what I'm saying. Just...try something new. Meet someone new. Put yourself out there. If I can do it, trust me...you can do it.
The worst that can happen is that you wont like it and you'll never have to do it again. Then you'll know. For example, definitely not eating live octopus again...



--Next up! My all expenses paid post about Australia! So curl up on your veranda with your closest wallaby and get ready for an account of a trip Down Under. (Read that last bit in an accent if you can...Ha)

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