How Did I End Up Here?
…7,283 miles away from home in a country that I’d never even thought twice about visiting, let alone actually living here.
Picture it. Atlanta 2014 (if you’re a Golden Girls fan, such as myself, then you totally get that reference and we’re gonna be best friends on this journey). Ok, so picture it. In the midst of an emotional breakdown, one evening, I typed out a text to my mom that said, “Mommy, I think I’m ready to book my one way ticket.” This is an idea I had been throwing around for a while now, and once I verbalize something it’s just a matter of when it’s going to happen, not if it’s going to happen.
For several moments my thumb hovered over the send button. I didn’t want to worry my mom. But I needed her. My voice of reason.
As if right on que, my mom called and without any hesitation asked, “Colby, what’s wrong?” In a reticent, almost inaudible voice, I mustered up a faint, “I just don’t want to be here anymore.”
Which was true. I was working a job that I was no longer satisfied with, that was way below my pay grade, I’d loved and lost, and loved and lost some more. I was everything to everybody else, yet nothing for myself, and not so suddenly I felt lost in a place that was so familiar. Home didn’t feel like home anymore. In fact, ever since I’d returned from a solo sabbatical in Spain, two years prior, no one place ever quite felt like home. I’d left my heart in so many places and on that tearful day I’d come to terms that though I loved my beautiful city, it was time to move on.
Travelling is something I dreamt about incessantly, both awake and asleep. It’s what I’ve always loved. It’s what I’d spend hours on end researching, bookmarking, pinning, and screenshotting. It was time. My mom, in her tender, motherly way, confirmed that. She spoke words over me and into me that I already knew to be true, but I needed to hear from her. And so it was written. I would book my flight as soon as I received the blessing from my grandfather, which would come the next day.
But, as fate would have it (my primary bank account was frozen due to identity theft) I did not book that one way ticket that day. I am a true believer in signs. I took this as a big, flashing, neon, so big you can’t miss it, sign. I had no plan. I would simply book the cheapest international flight I could find, no matter the destination, and figure it out from there. With my savings I’d be able to get by a few months without any income, before I’d be returning back to the states with my tail tucked between my legs if, by chance, I didn’t figure it out. So, instead, I decided to move out of my apartment at the end of my lease, a month later, crash at a friend’s house while obtaining my TEFL certification to become a certified ESL teacher, and ultimately move to South Korea.
It was time to start living for me, doing what made me happy. Here I am today, 6 months into my teaching contract, and loving almost every minute of it. I’m inviting you on my journey as I document my life abroad, the adventures and misadventures of this wanderous spirit.