In the last post I talked about the new beginnings that fall brings and the importance of following your gut feeling (if you missed it, click here to read it). Following that, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how five years ago following my gut feeling changed the course of my life.
Five years ago was when I first came to England ready to start university and subsequently to move countries and live on my own for the first time. To this day, a lot of people – friends, prospective students, employers and even family members still ask me how had it felt to take that decision, how has my life changed, and if I regret it at all.
Truth is, that was the first time I learnt the hard way that amazing things happen when you get out of your comfort zone and confront your fears. I was scared of new, of my English skills not being satisfactory, of not making friends, of this whole idea of the unknown. But it was a fear intertwined with excitement and curiosity, which made me get out of my comfort zone and discover more. The first discovery that I made (and that, as for all of us, is still a work in progress) was to truly discover myself – to understand my flaws and how I can work on them, to not underestimate or overestimate my qualities and instead believe in myself, just how I am. And I could stop right here and tell you that for this sole reason it was more than worth it. But it was this gained confidence in myself and in the future that made me push my limits, set goals and hold fiercely to my dreams. I was a naive 19 years old girl that had no idea what’s to come, but in that naivety (that still characterizes me) I was brave enough to embrace everything that was thrown at me and to learn from it all.
These past five years have been the toughest of my life as I’ve been challenged in so many ways and there were a lot of moments when these challenges got me close to giving up, throwing it all away and running to my safe place aka home and hope that it will all work out. But throughout them all, I always knew that would mean to accept defeat because I knew in my heart that it was not what I truly wanted. So instead, I stayed and faced them all, one by one, and as much as I really just wanted them to pass, they’ve all remained within me, but instead showed me a new side of my own strength with each and every one of them.
As much as these five years have been the most challenging ones, they have definitely been the most amazing years of my life and I wouldn’t change a single moment. Despite the distance, they have brought me and my family closer – my mum is still my best friend and the first person I reach out to and five years later I still call her every day (high five, mum – you’re the coolest!) and throughout these years was when I’ve met most of my closest friends with whom I’ve lived through laughter and pain and whom (even if in a different country) I know I can count on whenever and they know I’m always there for them. I guess the downside is that now my heart is in so many places of the world that I can hardly picture a moment when I’ll have them all in one place – but on the upside – we get to travel loads to see each other and it’s always like we’ve never gone apart!
Five years change a person a lot and to spend your first five years of adulthood in a completely different country is definitely a challenge but I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH. I grew and became exactly the person I’ve always wanted to be even if at times I didn’t know that myself or I doubted that would happen. It’s not for everyone, I’ll give you that, but if there’s a bit of your heart that at times wanders thinking how would it be if you took this step, I’d tell you the one thing I told myself when I left: I’d rather take the leap and not like it than spend a lifetime wondering ‘what if I had gone?’.
Around this time of the year I always recall the moment I left and the person I was then and how ever since, in my heart, next to Cluj, that will forever remain my home, Worcester and now London have also taken a spot as places that I call home and who knows, maybe there will be one more or even a few more, but, regardless, each and every one of them will be special in their own way.
As these past five years have defined me as a notorious traveller, I thought what better place to shoot the pictures to go with this post if not in a train station – so on a busy lunchtime (not very wise, I know) myself and Lisa have ventured into capturing these pictures and I loved the result, I hope you do as well!
I guess what I’d really like you to take away from this post is if you’re wondering if to go or to stay, or if this post has got you reminiscing of your own past decisions, I hope it has brought a smile on your face and has made you realise that you are happy where you are, and if not, I hope you will have the courage to follow your heart and go wherever it leads you.
I was wearing:
Dress – H&M
Heels – Primark
Belt – Vintage
Pictures by Lisa Niepelt.