Personal Journey: Travel as life - an amazing adventure

"Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland - one of my most favorite places on Earth."
"Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland - one of my most favorite places on Earth." (CARRIE CUSHING)
Posted: April 07, 2014

About three years ago, I was living my cushy lifestyle in Washington, without a thought of leaving. I had an amazing group of friends, a job and colleagues I adored, and a beautiful apartment in a perfect location on Connecticut Avenue.

My now-husband, then-boyfriend, suddenly changed my entire life in one day. He explained that he had been offered a position with his company in Jakarta, Indonesia, and that he simply couldn't pass it up. He urged me to join him, but respected my wishes either way with a positive attitude of "we will make it work no matter what." OK, who would participate in a long-distance relationship to the tune of 10,000 miles? Yes, my point exactly. I had to come up with a solution.

I put on my big-girl pants and started the nerve-racking process of moving my life to Jakarta. This started with finding a job, which I was incredibly lucky to do quickly. My company, a global real estate firm, happened to have an office in Jakarta, along with an opening in marketing and communications, my field. Simply put, the stars aligned. I put in my resignation in D.C., packed up our entire apartment, visited my family, said my goodbyes, and off I went across the world to embark on a journey I had never imagined.

Three years and 26 countries later, I'm still an expat. It's challenging for me to explain how traveling and living in many cultures has truly changed me forever. I come from a rural town in Virginia with a population of 352 residents. It's one of the most amazing places I have ever been, but it doesn't mean that it's all there is out there.

The knowledge and experiences I've acquired from traveling and living in foreign countries go far beyond anything I can read in a book or magazine. My perspective on life has changed and I no longer take things for granted, such as having clean water at home, a toilet, or toilet paper. I realize how big this beautiful world is and appreciate its every inch. My math skills have become sharp as I've converted currencies; I've learned the art of "hellos" and "goodbyes" often. You see so many amazing places that you no longer have a favorite, yet you love each for its own beauty and culture. You develop an addiction for traveling, constantly wanting to plan your next adventure.

And one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that I'm so lucky to have a place I call home. No matter how far away I am, or how many months I've been gone, my home is always just where I left it and more beautiful than ever.

Carrie Cushing writes from abroad.

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