There was once a time in my life when I was a soul seeker. I had just graduated from college and the world felt like my oyster. I never took "no" for an answer and I felt like I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it -- and I did.
I went off on a four-year adventure. I left my hometown of Dallas, Texas to move to Tel Aviv, Israel when I was 24 years old. Without a plan in mind, I ended up getting my Masters Degree, falling in love and starting my writing career. It's funny how the best things in life can happen when you don't intend for them.
In fact, living life without having a set plan can lead to the most fulfilling outcomes. After spending four years in Israel, I ended up moving to San Francisco on a whim, a decision that was literally last minute. I didn't have a job, I knew only one person and I had never even visited the city before, yet I still decided to make the move. Today, my writing career has blossomed and I've met a handful of extraordinary people.
Here are five life-changing lessons I've learned from living an "unplanned life":
#1. You will be forced to try hard
Being unaware of your next steps in life can be both challenging and freighting. Just imagine waking up one day and deciding that you want to move to a different country, but aren't entirely sure what you'll do once you get there.
Not having a set plan in mind forces us to try even harder. For instance, I had to put extra effort into finding a job and a place to live when I moved to Tel Aviv. I spent hours online, looking for roommates on craigslist. I then spent additional hours walking around Tel Aviv looking at possible living arrangements. I also spent days and nights on LinkedIn and other websites looking for job opportunities.
Knowing that you have to accomplish certain things in order to fulfill your dreams is tough, but you will gain so much knowledge from putting in the extra effort. Trying my hardest has allowed me to understand that anything really is possible.
#2. You will overcome uncomfortable situations
Not having a life plan has also taught me how to "feel comfortable" in uncomfortable situations. For example, I didn't have a job lined up when I moved to San Francisco. I ended up living with a good friend of mine in her 500 square foot studio apartment for two weeks. We were literally on top of each other, however, we made the most of it.
Not knowing where you will live or what you will do for work will always result in uncomfortable situations. Yet, learning to make do with your current situation will teach you how to overcome uncomfortable arrangements, which is a very valuable life skill. Nothing will ever be perfect, so understanding how to be comfortable in different environments is crucial.
#3. You will learn about different cultures
Someone once told me that the most valuable knowledge is gained through experience. I agree with this statement, as I have learned so much about different cultures and other people by living spontaneously. Moving to another country or city will expose you to different cultures that will allow you to learn more about other people as well as yourself.
I remember there was a time in Israel when I was the only American in the room. Rather than feeling outnumbered, I chose to listen to the people around me and learn about their backgrounds. Hearing different languages and stories from around the world taught me about other cultures and even about my ancestral background.
#4. You will live in the moment
People tend to think about what their next steps will be. It's only human to want to know what will happen next. However, living life without a plan in mind will help you learn how to live in the moment.
There were many times when I felt lost and unsure of what I wanted to do when I was living in Israel. It was during these times that I would walk to the Mediterranean Sea, sit on a large rock and gaze into the ocean. Time felt endless, days no longer existed. I can still remember inhaling the ocean. Thinking back on those times today, I can truly say that I was fully present and aware of that moment.
#5. You will discover your true self
Living life without a set plan in mind is hard. However, not being aware of your next steps will help you understand your true self. For instance, I learned how to make the most of uncomfortable situations, realizing that I'm very capable of living in small spaces with little belongings. I never thought that this could be the case until I moved to Israel. I also learned about friendships, relationships and the value of family. I truly believe that you have to force yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to understand what you want to gain out of life.
Sure, it might be reassuring to have your life mapped out, but you will ultimately learn so much more when you live life spontaneously. Not having a set plan has taken me to places I never would have imagined and has helped me discover my career path and who I really am - a strong, independent and fearless woman.