When I was a kid, I was told that I could do anything, be anything, and try anything I wanted. It would take hard work and dedication, but when you put your mind to something, you can do it all.
As a teenager, I was lucky enough to have two parents who lived an unconventional yet very traditional life. They were ex-reporters and editors turned college professors. This meant they had summers off, picked my sisters and I up from school every day, and happened to teach a study abroad program in London where I got to tag along.
After college, when the real world hit, I soon learned that life wasn’t that easy. That two-week vacations were the most I could possibly get from my 9-5 corporate marketing job. My husband and I used our time wisely, traveling to Europe every chance we got, both marveling at how much fun we had and how little sleep we got trying to see it all.
One day we realized enough was enough. We needed to move overseas in order to really see the world. We are planners, and we calculated how much we would need to save, what jobs we could hold, and how to make the process work.
I told my parents and their friends about this idea and they simply said, it’s not possible. Unless we got hired overseas there was just no way to just drop everything and move abroad. But I had plans of my own; I was determined to be location independent and live out my dream of moving abroad and working for myself.
Four years ago I dropped 20 feet at an indoor rock climbing gym. I broke my ankle and leg and was unable to work or even leave the house for 6 months. I moved only with the aid of a walker and hobbled around the house on one leg to grab my food of choice: honey nut cheerios.
One day, I decided I needed to focus my attention on something. While I did love watching old episodes of Friday Night Lights or 80’s teen movies, I wanted something that would keep me busy, something more stimulating. I restarted my blog, Helene in Between. It was silly. I wrote about life, what I found funny, trends, and anything well, in between.
It quickly became more than just for fun. I would spend hours each and every day working on it, redesigning it, and learning how to create a buzz around my little space on the internet. Slowly, I began gaining traction. People were commenting, even sharing my posts. I started gaining a following and learned what worked online. It took hard work and dedication, but I loved it.
I knew I wanted to do this full-time, and so one day, I did. I took my knowledge and years of experience in the corporate world of social media, marketing, and digital advertising, and sold courses to help other bloggers just like me.
Then, to test the waters before moving overseas, I picked up my life and moved to Nashville. This was a trial period. I had never in my life been more than 10 miles away from my parents and I wanted to see if I could really do it. I did. And it was eye-opening and such a wonderful experience to see how someone else lives. But we were ready for more.
My husband and I knew it was time to move abroad. We saved the money, I worked on my own, and we were ready to just go. In September of this year we are each packed two suit cases, brought our two dogs, and relocated to Heidelberg, Germany.
When we first got off the plane, I thought: what in the world have I done? I’ve never in my life even stepped foot in Germany. I don’t know the language, the customs, or even where we’ll live! But as we took the tram over the river, it hit me, I live here now, and I’ll make it work.
As soon as the initial shock wore off, the excitement washed over me. I am a 5 hour car ride to Prague! I am a short train ride to Paris! I can take an overnight train to Italy! The possibilities are open to me to really explore a continent I love so much, that I never really got to see before.
But, my first order of business was to explore my new home, Heidelberg.
Every morning, I peek out my window and see the castle and can’t believe I am here, living my dream. Sometimes it’s tough, and things really are very different. If you would have asked me 3 years ago, I wouldn’t even know about Heidelberg, Germany, nor would I ever think I would live there.
I think sometimes you have to stop what you’re doing and put your effort into your dream. It seems everything I’ve worked for over the past few years has led to this. And it’s totally worth it.
If you ever think that you can’t reach your dream or your goal, know that it might not happen immediately. You might need to plan it or spend some time dreaming. There’s one thing I know for sure, a life worth living is one where you live out your wildest dreams.
This is a guest post by Helene Sula.
Helene is a travel blogger at Helene In Between. She’s been featured internationally for her work in social media and travel writing. When she isn’t jet setting, she’s playing with her two dogs and going on hikes with her husband. You can find her on instagram @heleneinbetween.