I recently recorded a podcast with a great leader in Physical Education named Dale Sidebottom. In our conversation, he asked me a great question. He asked, “Are you glad that you made the decision to teach in the UAE?”. I told him that the verdict is still out from a professional perspective but from a personal perspective I am very grateful for the decision I made to leave North America to live abroad.
About one year ago I read the 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. I remember him talking about traveling and how important it was to travel in your 20’s. He referenced Author Malcolm Gladwell in that Malcolm’s biggest regret was not leaving North America in his 20’s.
I let that resonate with me for quite awhile. I thought about traveling and working abroad but didn’t really know what that meant or looked like for me.
* * *
Fast forward to December 2017 and I am living and working in the UAE. It has been a roller coaster ride from the moment I stepped foot in the Kingdom yet I have no regrets in traveling here temporarily leaving North America behind.
The experiences I have gained; the things I have learned and the amazing people I have met have all made it an incredible experience that has been rich.
I think often about my old view of the world. I once thought from a very North American point of view. I thought the world was primarily moving within that continent. However, since moving internationally I have begun to realize that the world is a much larger place which is full of rich opportunities. This is just one of the many lessons I have learned.
You may be reading this and you may think you are not in the right place in your life to travel or to work abroad and that is ok. Embrace that thought and then decide whether or not you can dismiss it. Just like any decision in life, there are many trade-offs to what you are doing and how you plan on doing it.
You must decide for yourself if the trade-offs of traveling outweigh the trade-offs of staying where you currently reside.
For example, if you decide to teach in Singapore but currently own assets in the United States, it may be hard for you to just get up and go live abroad. However, with a bit of calculated effort, you can still make that happen for yourself and even for your family.
My encouragement for you today is this: If you haven’t left North America yet, leave. Go explore the world on your next vacation or opportunity to travel. If you have left North America for a vacation, consider leaving it again by moving and working abroad.
You will discover parts of you that you did know existed and you will be happy you made the move.
Life is a great discover to be found, not a framed artifact.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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