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I Knew I Had a Lot of Love to Give: My Journey to Switzerland

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It’s like leaving a good-enough lover.

In relationships, you have the terrible ones that wronged you and the ones that flew you to great heights. But what about the in-between?

Have you ever held on to something you knew wasn’t right simply because it was comfortable? Because you had a lover who loved you well enough and treated you nice enough- and can you really ask for more?

How terrible it is to be encompassed by the “enough” phrases.

“I have a good enough life where I am happy enough to be comfortable enough with a decent enough person. “

And we get stuck there because we fear everything that lies outside our safety circles. We fear that taking a risk will ricochet off our good intentions and leave us flat on our behinds. And then we fear what will happen after we actualize our dreams.

But if someone gifted you a fancy camera and a plane ticket to Switzerland, would you quit your decent enough job and leave your comfortable life for the promise of adventure…and the uncertainty of the future thereafter?

I am.

My parents have given me a camera as my Christmas gift and a plane ticket for my January birthday, and they are setting me loose into the world- literally.

I will be leaving for three months to volunteer at a health and wellness center in Kiental, Switzerland where my room and meals will all be paid for. My only expenses will be my weekend trips and play. My backyard will be the Swiss Alps.

And I don’t have an explanation. This isn’t a career move, and I’m not going off to save the world. I’m just heading off to live, learn and explore.

Because I’ve been in that relationship that you stay in for too long. And then you run two risks: 1) You get out. You fear what the future holds. You get over it. You move on. Or 2) You live in a perpetual state of mediocrity.

You see- I moved back to Nashville with intentions of properly settling down- investing in real estate, getting a job, and doing whatever else responsible adults do. That seems to be the thing to do when you’re on the cusp of turning twenty-five.  But while that road leads to the dreams of others, it didn’t lead to mine. That card for me is one to be played in the future.

At times I’m stricken with fear of crossing the ocean alone, again, but this time to a country where I don’t speak the language. However, I am blessed with wonderfully supportive parents who raised me to believe in fairy tales- simply because they believe in fairy tales themselves.

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In fact, my #1 supporter is my mom. In the past week when I’ve questioned this decision, she would simply look at me and say, “If you live in fear of the future, you’ll never do anything. You’re meant to see the world. Don’t be scared of going down a different path.”

On the morning that I wrote this, she told me she’d been thinking about it, and her conclusion was of the “YOLO” mantra. She told me to not worry about what jobs I could get when I come back. She told me to blow as much of my savings as I want. She told me to just go out and live. (Who is this lady?! I love her.)

And I think back to her bravery at the young age of eighteen. After spending four years getting to know some red headed American guy in the Peace Corps (my dad), she fell in love and decided to return with him to the States. She left behind her family of nine when she’d never ventured further than her small village in Malaysia. She didn’t speak English.

So this is the risk I’m taking; I’m leaving behind something good (something secure) to see what the world has to offer. It could turn into something wonderful. But maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll return home with nothing but a library card to update you on how I’m poor, unemployed and homeless.

“I knew that I had a lot of love to give, and I knew it wasn’t for him.”

That’s what my sister said after ending a three year relationship that took her to remote Ecuador and back. That resounds in my mind.

Take out the “him”, and can’t many of us replace it with something in our own lives that is undeserving of the best of us?

This year has taught me that anything that hinders your ability to find joy is not worth your time or love.  This year I’ve taken those risks and made those mistakes- devoting attention to the wrong outlets, letting them drain the best of me.

So don’t spend precious time devoting all your love to the wrong place, to the wrong thing, to the person. Some will try to criticize you, but do not, for one second, fall victim to believing that there is another person out there who can live your life better than you. Do not let anyone hold you back from what you envision for your own future.

Wherever you are on your road, I hope that you continuously pursue the great and not just the good enough, the comfortable mediocre. Pursue those things that exalt you with joy.

As for me, a new adventure is just beginning, and I would be honored for you to join me.

 “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”- Paulo Coelho

LIVING THE DREAM PRODUCER NOTE:
Jasmine Nicolette (Nikki) is a 25-year-old Nashville native who had every intention of buying a house in the city, instead she bought a plane ticket.  She quit her day job and is currently on a three month excursion in Switzerland.  Visit her blog to follow her journey.
Neal Piper, Living the Dream producer

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