How many times have you said you're going to do something but change your mind at the last minute? It might be a spontaneous pledge, a throw-away comment or spur-of-the-moment remark but the result is usually the same.
Because taking a leap of faith is hard, particularly when it means life might change in a dramatic way. We're all guilty of staying in our comfort zone, rather than leaving it for something less certain and entirely unpredictable.
We're bred on the notion we need to be more adventurous than our parents, the world got smaller, the experiences at our fingertips are more plentiful, we should live life to the fullest and get out there.
We talk about travel. We think about a year abroad. We crave that move overseas. We want to explore further, reach farther, see and do more with our lives.
Heading abroad can free us of our shackles. Show us different cultures, interesting people and exciting possibilities. But for many of us, we prefer to dream and wait. We prevaricate and obfuscate.
Time passes quickly and we grow old too fast.
We remain restless - the urge to explore never goes away - but we're caught up with our regular chores, ongoing commitments, careers, families... our day-to-day lives.
We choose to maintain a steady job and we defer to the desk by the window, the suburban house with four bedrooms, the shiny new car on the driveway.
And the thought of moving overseas remains just that. A thought.
Life is short and all too fleeting and we can't have regrets. Rather than daydream with thoughts of far-off adventure, why not make this the year you head overseas and experience some of this world.
Here's why you'll know when it's time to go.
1. You crave adventure.
The monotony of life leaves you feeling unfulfilled and empty on the inside. When you look back, you want little regret and many moments to feel proud of.
There are things you want to see and share. There is great risk and adventure to be experienced by setting foot outside your comfort zone. You want to appreciate the "here and now", enjoy every minute, find and try new things, taste, learn, listen and love.
Moving overseas will give you this and more.
It will let you live a fuller life, not watch it pass you by.
2. You have to find yourself.
It may sound like a cliche but travel and moving abroad are the ultimate experiences for helping you find yourself. Nothing beats the survival instinct that kicks in when you wander off a beaten trail or lose yourself among strangers in a vast continent.
Heading overseas lets you step away from everything familiar, giving you the room to breathe, to reflect, to consider and assess what's important to you.
It lets you find out who you really are.
3. You need to satisfy your curiosity.
You are endlessly curious and there is always more for you to learn. What is it like to live among a foreign culture? What are the people like? Are the sights as impressive as they seem in every travel book you devour?
You need to put yourself out there and experience unique, unusual situations. You need to travel beyond your local borders to see and appreciate other people's perspectives.
You need to be shown what else is out there.
4. You realise it's not just about the money.
Too many times an international move is considered overly expensive and unaffordable. You put it off for long enough but a life abroad doesn't have to cost the earth. You don't need to travel first class or live in the finest accommodation.
Think outside the box and consider your longer-term goals. How many weeks or months do you plan to be away for? Where will you visit or choose to live?
Is this a permanent move?
Work back from those end goals and come up with a plan that doesn't have to break the bank.
5. You can't have regrets.
You cherish where you're from but you know there's more to life. Family will disapprove if you go, your departure will be upsetting and you do love them dearly. Your emotions are in a state of upheaval and you're unsure what to do.
You are torn.
It's stressful to be where you are right now but it's also clear something has to change. Is it worth crossing your fingers, hoping for the best, and jumping headfirst into the unknown?
Of course it is.
Don't hold back or make excuses. Face your fears head on and wait no more.
6. It's all going to be worth it.
Travel, expat life, a temporary time-out... call it what you will. These things may bring upset, a level of financial stress, some uncertainty and frequent unease. You may hate it. You might resent a loved one for pushing you to go. You could regret leaving.
But you probably won't.
Over time, you realise that these issues aren't issues unless you choose to let them become so. What matters is the journey to get where you're going and the outcome once you get there.
The control you now have over your life's direction. The emphasis on what matters most to you. The opportunities coming your way if you stay the course.
The life you've always wanted.
It's time to go. Let this be the year you do it.
How did you know it was time to move overseas?
Russell left his homeland twelve years ago and writes about how he escaped the office cubicle, changed the scenery outside his window and now lives with less stress, better health, and more time for family and adventure at InSearchOfALifeLessOrdinary.com. Become a subscriber here. You can also find him writing for business and brand at TheInternationalWriter.com.
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