On this day, two years ago, I was on a flight to Canada to start on a journey I’ll never forget. What started as a random Google search turned into filling out an application and sending off a police check. Before I knew it, I was on a plane, yikes.

Google is either your best friend to give you inspiration or your worst enemy when it comes to figuring out a symptom. When I was stuck in a dead-end 9 to 5 job with extremely shitty managers, I was researching how to get the hell out of there. And out of the country. Plaudits to Google for its role in this.

So I’m going to dedicate a post to what I’ve learnt about myself and my personal growth. Happy 2 years, Canada.

Leaving my comfort zone was a great idea.

I used to be extremely comfortable and content in my own comfort zone. Throughout university, I can honestly say I didn’t do as much as I wanted to. I didn’t go to events or join societies or actually go out of my way to have fun. I was very close to moving out for Uni but ended up choosing the Uni that was 25 mins away from my house. Leaving my comfort zone seemed impossible. I was happy with a small circle of friends and I lived off cheesecake and nuggets during all-nighters in the library. The old me would’ve laughed at the thought of working abroad. “That’s way too brave for me.” But all it really took was an opportunity I didn’t want to let go of and the three words: Just do it.

Patience is a virtue.

I don’t know what got me through the first 6 months of finding a job. Although 6 months may not seem that long, it was just that fear of paying hundreds of pounds to move away without knowing what’s waiting ahead. No job lead. No interviews. I was only counting on what I had to do and how hard I had to work to get a decent job. There was no time for giving up at that point so patience was all I had.

Always listen to yourself.

If there’s something that I truly want to do, no matter how spontaneous or crazy, I will do it. I’ll do it for my own happiness. I’ll do it because it would just feel like the best idea. I’ll do it because life is too short. I think this is why I just take life as it is and go with the flow now. It’s time to stop thinking about my fears. If there’s something you want to do, dive right in. Work towards it. I started doing this after I graduated. Better late than never.

I really do spend 80% of my money on food.

At my big age, I can’t save money. I used to get paid every two weeks and still be broke before payday. There was something about Toronto that just made me fat. Aside from Tim Hortons (and that was my breakfast and lunch every day), I used to spend about $20 a day on food, here and there. I worked in an office so whenever someone walked by my desk and said “Wanna go for a walk?” or “Tim Hortons?” – I’d go and buy something. At times, I’d sadly shake my head and say no… before opening a pack of Oreos or a box of Timbits I had already bought. I was that food buddy that came in with snacks. Tim Hortons was the devil. But I truly miss you, Tim.

No matter how far you are or how old you are, your mum just knows.

There’s been many ups and a few downs. It’s normal to miss your family and it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed with life. There were times when I was frustrated because I missed several important weddings that I got invited to … (3 of my close friends got hitched while I was away, damn I’m getting old). But nothing kept me going more than hearing my mother’s voice. I’m going to be extremely cheesy right now but it’s true. There have been times when I was way too busy to give my parents a quick call or check up on the family. I’ll never forget the day my mum called and it was the best feeling ever, almost as if she knew I really needed to talk to someone.

The British accent had my back, mate.

My British charm was a great ice-breaker, to be honest. The line “Oh my Gawd, you’re from London? Like the Queen’s London?” became the new “Hello”. I hate small talk and the usual crap so if that’s how you want to start a conversation, that’s fine by me. I made friends that way. I ended up getting the job I wanted (Writer at a travel agency) because “hiring someone from across the pond would be a great asset for the company.” Well, that’s what I told them anyway 😉 

Enjoy every moment.

The experience and skills are just a bonus. When you are travelling or doing something you’ve worked so hard for, make sure you make the most out of the experience. You need to make some memories at the end of the day. Time is not on your side and the next thing you know, it’s time to move on. Don’t be afraid to be yourself because that’s the only way you’ll feel truly happy.