Ten days ago, I booked a one-way ticket to a new country and continent.
Seven days ago, I packed a suitcase and left Canada.
Yesterday, I found the city I plan to make my new home.
About one month ago, I wrote about One-Way Ticket, as a practice and a philosophy in life. It reflects both a physical movement to a new place, and also a mindset to commit emotionally to wherever, whatever and whomever. It is a choice to not look back, to not test the waters, to not carry any regret. There is only one way, which is to move forward.
Choosing where to move to was not an easy decision for me. The weeks leading up to it, I found myself drowning in the optionality I had. Like when researching an online purchase or a restaurant in a new city, I found myself going down the rabbit hole of the internet, reading travel blogs, expat stories and asking friends for ideas. The information was endless. Anywhere was possible.
I felt overwhelmed and after about ten days of feeling frustrated with my confusion, I noticed just how big of a distraction this decision was. I was dreaming about it, and could not concentrate on much else. I had put the rest of my life on pause. I can see now that I was experiencing fear. Fear of making the ‘wrong decision’. Fear of regret.
In response to how I was feeling, I had a moment of resignation to the process.
I gave myself some space from the task at hand, and decided to not think about it or talk about it for at least a few days. And assumed after this break, I would either still want to move or would abandon the idea altogether.
This momentary mental break was the best thing I could have done. It is counter-intuitive, when faced with a problem, to stop trying to solve the problem and to take a break from it. I have experienced this time and time again though. The clarity surfaces once I turn away. There must be something deeper within me, or bigger than me, that is a source of this clarity.
I woke up on day three into the mental break and started to write in my journal. It might have been the longest continuous writing session I have experienced in recent memory. I found myself writing for over ninety minutes, without pause. First processing everything else in my mind, I finally got to the elephant in my mind. Where to move to?
A question appeared in my writing that I do not ask myself often enough but wish that I did: What is important to me, right now?
It was not ‘what is expected of me?’, ‘what is convenient and easy?’ or ‘what is safe and low risk?’. It was: What do I desire in my life right now?. What would make my heart sing?
Within seconds of being prompted about my heart’s desire, it spoke with a clarity that I had been longing for. Five desires came out immediately:
1) To live by the water. I have always lived in cities and wanted to live by the ocean for once.
2) To have beautiful weather all year long. I grew up in Canada.
3) To be around nice people. A place that brings out the kindness of humanity, where I could speak to a stranger in the street and strike up a conversation with ease.
4) To be in a place with a relaxed vibe. This means where the people do not primarily identify with what they do.
5) To be within a direct flight of family. To be able to continue to witness my baby nephew discover the world with an innocence that inspires me.
After writing all of this down, a smile appeared on my face. My heart began to sing. All fear disappeared, as I stopped thinking about why not to move. I now knew why to move.
There were about a dozen countries, all over the world, that I had been researching and considering before this clarity appeared. Now there was only one country that I felt inspired by.
I intentionally did not research or plan much from that moment on. The adventure of not knowing and not planning continues to be attractive for me. I plan plenty for my business already, I think this is why I get a thrill of not knowing personally very much.
The One-Way Ticket mindset breeds openness within me. It is an invitation to discover who and how I am, by simply showing up in a new place, literally and figuratively, and trusting that I am capable of figuring it out.
Since moving to Portugal one week ago, I have uncovered all of the logical reasons why this move makes sense in my life.
First, the country. It is on the west coast of Europe, where I can enjoy sunsets over the Atlantic ocean every day. It is the second safest country in the world. Everyone speaks English, unlike nearby countries. They receive 300 days of sunshine per year. It has the lowest cost of living in all of Western Europe. There are as many Portuguese outside of the country as inside, meaning flight connectivity across the world is unparalleled. They have the second highest vaccination rate in the world and new covid cases are now in decline, unlike anywhere else.
Second, my business. 40% of my business’s revenue comes from Europe and the U.K.. I have strong leadership now in place in the U.S. market that I trust will do a better job than me growing in the largest market, which allows me to focus on finding more growth in Europe. I have people working with me all over the world, and clients that I work with all over the world. Being in a different time zone will strengthen our global culture and increase our effectiveness at collaborating asynchronously. I can give you even more reasons why it’s great for my business that I am here.
The truth is though that I did not think about any of the above ahead of booking my one-way ticket. I was ready for a change, asked my heart what it wanted and made the decision based on lifestyle.
In any decision that we make in life, there will generally be more reasons to not do something, than reasons to do something. I could have easily listed for you all of the reasons that I should not move to Portugal, but I will not.
What matters more in life than what my mind is fearful of is what my heart desires.