I’m the type who always follows a plan. I’m logical. Practical. Traditional. So when my free-spirited best friend of 10 years asked if I wanted to move to Spain with her and teach English for a year, I laughed. Yeah, right! That doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for HER- she studied abroad in Spain for 6 months, is nearly fluent in Spanish and is certified to teach English as a second language. But me? When she asked, I was in the throes of completing the requirements to become a Registered Dietitian – something I had (at that point) been working towards for 5 years. In fact, I was about to start a very demanding year, my dietetic internship. I was following The Plan: bachelor’s degree in dietetics, dietetic internship, pass the credentialing exam, and get a job as a Registered Dietitian.
But then thinking about it, I’ve taken a couple detours from that plan. I originally went to college at Boston University. I tried to love it for three semesters before waving the white flag and transferring. This meant moving back in with my parents and attending a semester of community college before finally transferring to to James Madison University in Virginia. Not part of The Plan, sure, but I ended up LOVING JMU and wishing I had spent all four years there. However, because of the transfer, I had a lot of classes to make up in order to graduate in four years, so by my senior year I was simply burnt out. I realized I wasn’t ready to jump right into a demanding dietetic internship the very next year, the way us Dietetics majors were always pushed. So instead, I got a full time job, saved money, took my time applying to internships and began to feel excited about going ‘back to school’ instead of forced into it. Wasn’t originally a part of The Plan either, but again ended up working out waaay better.
Okay, so should I just do this then? Should I take another “detour” and move to Spain? The better question was, why SHOULDN’T I? The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. After my dietetic internship ended, I would have nothing tying me down:
– no job (which means not needing to worry about taking time off)
– no boyfriend (I was recently single when Danielle asked, so all the more reason to pick up and go!)
– no pets
– no apartment (so I can leave all my belongings at my parents’)
I know my life is sounding pretty pathetic after that, but what I DO have is:
– lots of energy because I’m young and healthy and able to travel with no issues!
– a decent knowlege of the Spanish language and a desire to improve my skills
– a best friend who is nearly fluent in Spanish, with international travel expertise, whose life timeline magically aligned with mine so that we could do this together
I mean really, can anything beat the opportunity to get LIVE IN EUROPE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND FOR A YEAR?! I always wanted to do a semester abroad, but again, because of the transfer and my packed courseload it wasn’t feasible. And don’t get me wrong, I love my chosen career path, but dietitians don’t typically rake in the cash… so an extended European vacation was not looking like a possibility for quitee a while, by which time I actually hope to have some of those things that I’m happy aren’t tying me down right now 😉 🙂
And who says this is actually another “detour” from my career path anyway? As someone who studied food, nutrition, and health in the United States, I’ll get to..
– learn about about another whole food culture by being totally immersed in it
– and not just any food culture, but the “Mediterranean diet” that has been touted by doctors and dietitians for years as one of the best for preventing chronic disease
– um, hello, Spanish gastronomy is almost unmatched
– improve my Spanish language skills, which are becoming more necessary in America in general, but even more so in my field
So those are the reasons why I am about to take the biggest leap outside my comfort zone that I ever have. But part of the reason I’m sharing all of this internal turmoil with the world is in the hopes that MAYBE it will inspire someone out there who shares my innate desire to ‘stick to the status quo.’ Maybe my journey, as documented on here, will inspire someone else to do something WAY outside their comfort zone, something that might at first seem too crazy, too out-of-line with the life they had pictured in their head. Because that is when we grow the most. 🙂 I’ve never been outside the US before… like not even to Canada… and when considering the other facts of my life that I mentioned above, I felt like I “shouldn’t” move to Spain. But even though it didn’t seem like it “made sense,” I WANT to. And I think I HAVE to, because otherwise I risk continuing to only do the things society expects me to do, in a specific order and timing, and probably ending up with a whoooole lotta regret. So, I’m taking the leap.