Change

While I sit on a plane as we embark on an adventure around the world, it’s occurred to me that it has been a long while since I’ve had a feeling similar to this—a mixture of excitement, the unknown, and a sense of big change coming. The last time I felt this was when I was moving to England and entering a new career, culture, and relationship. It’s a bit different this time around though. First, I’m joined by my husband who I can share the experience with. Second, I’m filled with confidence that taking big decisions can lead to even greater things.

The last four and a bit years I lived and worked in and around London, learning a lot about the corporate world, accounting, and what really makes my personal life tick. I also built the strongest relationship of my life, resulting in my marriage to Alastair—my best friend of the past six years. At first, living abroad was much harder than I expected it to be. The first year, in particular, was one of the hardest I’ve experienced in my life so far. A new job, a different culture, and being a long way from home—especially when my mom was undergoing brain surgery—weren’t easy things to deal with. Thanks to an amazing support network of family and friends, both in the US and in the UK, things got better. In fact, they got really, really good. Alastair and I lived together for two years in Reading—about 30 miles to the west of London—before we moved to Richmond (words cannot describe my love for this place) for a year, and finally on to Clapham (even closer to central London) for the past year or so. During this time, I took my first steps into my career, qualified as a chartered accountant, explored so many incredible places across the UK and Europe, and made some lifelong friends and family along the way.

Before I knew it, England became home and I loved being there. Deciding to make the big leap across the pond is arguably the decision I’m most glad I had the courage to take. Not only do I now have a second home, and all the wonderful things that come with that, but I also feel like I’m a stronger, happier, and generally more-rounded person. By throwing myself into a completely foreign environment, I’ve learned so much about the world and myself, and I’m so, so grateful for that.

Anyway, looking forward: It was always on the radar to move back to the States at some point, and over the past year Alastair and I decided it was time! Getting married certainly made the decision simpler from a logistics perspective, but my visa was also due to expire at the end of September, so we both knew that 2018 was the right time to get the ball rolling. However, even with marriage, living and working in each other’s countries doesn’t suddenly become a piece of cake. Alastair needs a green card to be able to live and work in the US, and this isn’t an easy or quick process. With my visa expired, and Alastair’s visa application due to take four or five months, we took the decision to see some of the world until the end of the year. So, a few months after we got married, and a few weeks before I’m writing this, we both left our jobs, packed up our London flat, sold almost all of our belongings, and got ready to embark on the trip of our dreams.

And that takes us to today: the beginning of our trip. We’ve just had a wonderful 10 days in the Midwest—starting with a visit to see my brother, John, in Chicago; witnessing some of my best friends get married in Cincinnati; showing Alastair’s mum my home state, Ohio, catching up with family and friends in Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland along the way; and finally holding a USA wedding reception to celebrate with our friends and family who couldn’t be at our wedding this past July—and now we find ourselves on a plane to Hawaii to kick off our travels in style.

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