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  • Writer's pictureAcacia Gabriel

Moving Abroad is Hard

Updated: May 6, 2023


At this two-and-a-half-month point, moving and living abroad feels absolutely insurmountable. My body is exhausted. I don’t have the structure in place to make time for working out, sleeping and eating regularly, or just generally taking care of myself. Some days I feel like I’m struggling to survive and meet my basic, human needs.


Doing this journey alone also takes a toll on my mind and spirit. I’ll go days without a meaningful, intimate conversation because I am always surrounded by strangers. No one here is familiar. No one here feels like home to me. I have to do everything myself.


In my yoga class today, our teacher instructed us to breathe into the resistance of more difficult poses. Breathe into the moments that make you uncomfortable, because it is only through this discomfort that we are capable of growth. Becoming the best you means putting yourself in unfamiliar situations and pushing out of your comfort zone.


After my class, I asked the teacher a few questions, and I knew from the get-go that something about her felt inexplicably familiar. It turns out she’s from Los Angeles and has lived in Australia for the last eleven years. Our perspectives on moving to Australia from the States were completely aligned. We both think that Sydney is similar to LA, are relieved to be away from guns, and are glad to be in a part of Australia where we aren’t the only people of color. She gave some recommendations, but, most importantly, she gave me a safe space to be scared.


She was non-judgmental and understanding about everything I’ve been feeling. My sense of unease and unrest. My absolute exhaustion.


She was the exact person I needed to meet at that moment. Someone who almost feels like an older version of myself: a wise, calm LA girl who has done the move and made this city her own. Meeting her made me feel stronger and more confident because it was like looking into a potential future.


Sometimes I make myself feel bad for feeling bad. Like feeling sad or uncomfortable or frustrated means that I’m not grateful for this amazing opportunity. Like I have to be happy all the time… or why am I even here?


The truth is that moving abroad by yourself is really hard. That’s kind of the point. I can’t have the benefits of self-discovery, growth, and strength without the moments that make me want to run and hide. The most difficult parts of this trip are the ones that lead to the most transformation. Standing my ground even when I’m desperate to give up makes me stronger.


I don’t want to look back and wish that I had taken more risks and bigger swings. I’m 23. This is the time to be confused and lost. This is the age to deconstruct, introspect, and find out who I am under all the layers of who I’ve been taught to be. I can’t live my life running in the same circles, repeating the same cycles, and reliving the same days. I want more.


That means that my life isn’t always going to be full of sunshine and rainbows. There will be times when I question my decision to move here and moments when I want to be home more than anything else. That doesn’t mean that I’m doing anything wrong or missing the point; it is just a part of the process.


Feeling weak doesn’t mean that I’m not strong. Feeling homesick doesn’t mean that I made the wrong choice. And choosing to be positive even when it feels like life is conspiring against me isn’t foolish -- it’s brave.

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