I really dislike the concept that traveling is equated to running. Like there’s this after-school teen drama moment in the lives of all us “travelers” when the atmosphere gets moody and someone turns to you and says:
“So, what are you running from?”
Suddenly it makes the whole concept of traveling seem so dramatic. Happy people stay put, people travel when they have a reason to run.
It’s just not true. For me, at least.
And on the other hand, neither is the over-caffeinated-motivational-speaker response about “running toward PASSIONFREEDOMADVENTURE.”
Also not true, for me.
Well, why am I doing all of this? Why did I run away from DC and run toward Kyrgyzstan?
I consider myself a pretty laidback traveler, so the idea to move to Kyrgyzstan wasn’t so much, “Kyrgyzstan is my PASSION! I’m following my dreams by moving to Kyrgyzstan!” but more, “Why not?”
I’m not going to lie, I loved living in DC. I had an adorable apartment in a hip, subdued neighborhood. Sure, it lacked natural light and cost a lot (thinking about my monthly electricity bill still makes me shudder), but I was totally smitten with my five minute walk to Whole Foods, Starbucks, and a delicious Ethiopian restaurant.
It’s not like I didn’t have opportunities in DC, either. I read somewhere that DC was one of the best cities in America for 20-somethings to move to (the main downside was high rent). I’m young, bright, and motivated. I went to a good school, worked in Baghdad, and have no student loans. Not to drone on about my endless positive qualities, but I could have stuck around in DC and landed, at worst, an acceptable entry-level position in the international affairs/media analysis field. Health insurance, weekly Netflix subscription, organic kale, and the occasional pair of new shoes (let’s be real, probably from Target). It’s not a bad way to live.
So, again, why pack up all those dresses, the DVD collection, the stand mixer and pizzelle press, the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market, the vegan cafe (with the free wi-fi), scooter dates, cupcakes, rock clubs, and dreams of the perfect townhouse on H Street? Why go to “uhh-you’re-moving-where?!-yzstan”, with it’s new language, new writing system, the great, spiraling nightmare of bureaucracy and stamps and horse milk?
It’s simple, really. Why not? No kids, no mortgage, no debt. There’s no better time in my life to try starting a business in the former Soviet Union because I have the least amount of responsibilities and things going on that would otherwise stop me. I miss Netflix, but I know it’ll be there if/when I get back. It was just an idea to shake things up, to try something to set us apart from… everybody who hasn’t lived in Kyrgyzstan. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll move back and pick up where we left off. Even the business takes off (*fingers crossed*), we’ll probably move back to the states eventually.
Not running from. Not running toward. Just hanging out, experiencing something new and trying to get something accomplished before (if) we decide to go back.
So why do you decide to travel or make a big move abroad?