In my last post, I mentioned that sometimes blogging can be a great way to share ideas and experiences with others. My friend Adam, who recently moved to Valencia, agreed to share some of his ideas. Here’s part two:
I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I remember reading something about it (online, don’t be too impressed) during a stressful time in my life. It teaches that suffering is caused by attachment, so one reduces suffering by losing one’s attachments. This can be applied to a lot of things: The loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship. Obviously it also applies to belongings. Perhaps more than ever for the modern American, who is indoctrinated from day one with almost the opposite message, that attaching one’s self to as many new things as possible will somehow make one happier. So, if you’re thinking of moving abroad, you’ll endure an exercise in amateur Buddhism by diminishing your attachments to things.
But it goes beyond things and people and jobs. It also means losing your attachment to outcomes and preconceived notions. This is key. For instance, I had a stressful week finding an apartment in València. I knew it would be a challenge but was not prepared for exactly how it would be challenging. For a while I thought I might have to run up a bill at an airport motel just to get by another few days. I also thought for a moment that maybe I’d simply made a huge mistake moving abroad at all. To change my perspective, I had to lose my attachment to the outcome I had in mind, and prepare myself for whatever was to come. I did find a place, but losing attachments to expected outcomes has helped keep me grounded in a foreign city with a different language.
If you’re reading this and you’ve already decided to move abroad, congratulations. That is of course the biggest decision, and it’s not made lightly. Now that that’s out of the way, get ready for a lot of small ones. Don’t worry, I’m sure wherever you’re going they sell beard trimmers.
Gentle readers, did you enjoy this guest post? Let me know… and check out Adam’s blog, Exile in Iberia, at https://exileiniberia.wordpress.com/