Today we have the wonderful Mimi from Love and Life in Nicosia. Head on over to her wonderful blog to learn more here.
When Kayleigh asked me to write something for this series about how travel has changed you, I jumped straight in with both feet. And then I sat down to write and nothing came out......which made me think. Has travel changed me? Until now I had not thought long and hard about the person I was and the person I am.
But whether you realise it or not, the environment, culture and climate your in at any one time is without a doubt going to have an impact on you.
I adopted expat status since I moved to Cyprus in 2010, so I am now going to ramble on about the impact of travel/re-location/living in another country.
I had lived in London my entire life; all 22 years of it. And I was bored of it. But it is my nature to be cautious, organised and calculated and it had never really occurred to me that the future didn’t have to mean staying in London. I think part of the reason for this attitude was due to anxiety; forcing myself out of my comfort zone and into the unknown was pretty daunting.
But making the leap is just the beginning. And looking back now I think this must have been the turning point. The point where I, to use the over-used expression, found my wings. Proving to myself that, despite being fiercely independent from a young age, I could stand on my own two feet in another country, really brought out a confidence in me that I never knew I had. Ok, I hopped from one island to another with the long term boyfriend, who's family live in Cyprus, so we had a support network, but never-the-less the, I left my family and friends behind for what was effectively the unknown.
I also saw a weather related change in myself. It is no secret that I hate rain. I like cold and the rare crisp days that London sometimes offered, but mostly the rain just put me in one big bad mood. The sunshine that flooded my system as soon as I stepped off the plane in Cyprus somewhat erased the depression instantly. No matter what you are feeling inside, walking out in the sunshine heals a lot of internal turmoil. I think it's the vitamin d. Although after months of near 40 degree temperatures, I think I am overdosing on the vitamin d and it is having a counter-active effect.
Embracing another culture so different from your own can be a challenge. No one ever says travelling or relocating is going to be easy. You have to accept the differences and jump into them, soaking up the experiences they will bring. And you have to be prepared to embrace your alone time and develop somewhat of a hard skin; every time I see pictures of friends on Facebook I get a little homesick and almost angry at myself that I am missing out.
But you make a decision to leave and you have to see it through because as hard as it is, living in another country is an experience that you will never forget. Even if there are many dark days, the long lasting effects on your personal development (which you might not be aware of at the time) are positive beyond belief.
I have lived and worked in a country so opposite to England for nearly 3 years. My confidence has soared, I have become a more relaxed individual, I have made great friends and I have sort-of learnt a second language. So has travel changed me? Yes, it seems so.
If you would like to know more about me or my life in Cyprus, head on over here.