Most people want a good life – a happy life – but inertia keeps them frozen in place. Some struggle to put their finger on exactly what they need and others jump into change without knowing where they’ll land. Certainly we are all different but there are more similarities between us than you would think.
Connection and community. People who make time for each other. New challenges. Supportive friends. These are some of the reasons people yearn for change.
In the book Why We Left – An Anthology of American Women Expats each of the 27 women who shared their stories had a variety of reasons for leaving and faced their own challenges. They each approached change in a their own way and I know if you’re thinking of shaking up your own life you will find a lot to think about in this book. I loved all their different stories and the different places they moved from and to. I’m sure some of them will resonate more than others for you but they are all strong, capable women who did it! You can too! (and men will also enjoy their stories, don’t worry!)
I’ve been blogging here at Countdown to Mexico since 2006 and you can go back to the beginning and read about our decision-making and follow along every step of the way. I imagine some of you reading this have been with me since the beginning! I can’t tell you how happy I am that we made the move and that we’re still here. There are challenges almost every day but we wouldn’t live any other way.
I think the current political, social and economic situation in the world (not just the US) is making a lot of people search for a more balanced life and to show their children a different way. In addition to Janet’s book I have also read two other new books about much the same thing.
In the book If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie by Christopher Ingraham, Christopher and his family moved from a fast paced and unrewarding life outside Washington DC to a town in rural Northern Minnesota. It is an interesting, well written book and certainly shares some of the same themes with Why We Left.
In How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together, Dan Kois and his wife also felt challenged by their too-busy lifestyle and lack of time with the kids and decided to travel for a year, staying for three months each in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica and rural Kansas. Again, the desire for real connection and significant time together as well as the broadening effect of seeing the world were big parts of their journey.
We are all the same more than we are different. We all want to have strong and loving connections with people and not to spend our days rushing from here to there and at the end of the day feel a wistfulness for something elusive. These books and my own experience say that if you want it you can make it happen. Go for it!
– full disclosure – Janet Blaser and many of the women who told their stories in Why We Left are good friends of mine. Congratulations to all of you for overcoming your challenges and making your life be what you WANT, not just what you HAVE.