It’s been a recurring thought. Going out of the country, to a place where no one knows me, to a place I have to explore and be forced to make new experiences.
Just last February, I have had the experience to travel to Thailand and meet people of different nationalities. People who travel a lot for a living and had to talk to a lot of people from around the world. I met a German who was living and working in Thailand. He spoke the language very well and was respected in his own right in the workplace (a university). I’ve also met an American teaching English in a province in Korea and my uncle works in Korea. Oh and I’ve also met a Malaysian working in Singapore.
The thought has always been intriguing to me. Maybe not to live there forever, but just to experience life from a new perspective apart from my own. It can be simply for travel, or maybe for temporary work. I don’t know really. It’s just alluring for me to live alone in a foreign land, maybe meet new people, find myself. And I also particularly like learning a new language in a foreign setting.
I’ve had the opportunity to live alone when I went to University. Though my home was just about 2 hours away, I’ve had to live alone on weekdays, make decisions for myself and do what I want. That experience has actually changed me. I am now more confident, somehow more sure of myself (that I can survive alone) and have had the opportunity to meet new people and make new experiences. I met people from all walks of life who didn’t really know anything about me. Meeting and learning from people actually changed the way I looked at life, love and God.
That time, I was more fearful. The first one to two years, I spend on class and then home alone. It was only after I met some carefree friends that I started to actually join anything. This time around, I think I’m more curious about life, more outspoken, more carefree. This new me maybe came from age or maybe from the years I had to be alone in a new place.
I recently read Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho where I met this character – a woman who took risks because she wanted more from life. She started out as a naive girl who missed chances and made mistakes especially with love. Later on, she found out that she was beautiful and that she could use this to earn money and ultimately be successful and then find love. She then went from her home (Brazil), to Switzerland where she was offered a job to be dancer and then she discovered that prostitution was a more profitable career.
Okay, I think I’m losing my train of thought here. I just wanted to share that because there are two sides to risks. Taking risks can lead to great opportunities BUT risks can also put us in very difficult situations in life — something that led her to become a prostitute, for example. Moving to another country where I don’t know anybody can be risky, especially because of the existence of scary men in the world. But on the other hand, it can be an awakening experience.
I wonder if OFWs feel the same? Are they loving life abroad or are they often scared and lonely? Did the new place change them for the better? or for worse? Do they regret missing out on their family’s lives? Was it worth it? I don’t know… But how will I find out?