Deciding to travel across the world alone is pretty dang scary, especially if it means spending seven months living in France teaching English. The process is quite taxing, as well; There’s the years of thinking about it and putting it off until you realize you will regret it for the rest of your life for not taking action. Then there’s the months of wondering whether or not you should actually go for it.
Let’s not forget the mad scramble when you realize the application deadline is less than a week away and you need two recommendations and an essay in French. AND THEN there is the waiting…For months. FINALLY, you find out you’ve been accepted into the program and wait even LONGER to know where you’ve been placed AND THEN WHAT?
Allow me to tell you what happens next…planning and preparation.
Honestly, I’ve been super stressed out for the last two months and the way I work, it’s a matter of lists. My contract starts in October and there are SO MANY things to think about and figure out and details to oversee, writing lists helps clear things up.
I sat down one day and wrote a to-do list. I wrote and wrote until I had everything written down. It’s fully nine pages long! Responsibilities vary from practical to financial to organizational to people I want to see before I leave.
I find this helpful because I can break it down into different sections labeled according to their urgency. I used categories like ‘needs to happen today/this week/this month/before leaving/this year.’
There are other factors that needed to be attended to as well. I need to be able to file my taxes while abroad and pay my pet health insurance. I want to reach out and let my friends and family know I’ll be gone. I want to get in touch with people I know who live in Europe and attempt to build a support network. I mean, the list goes on and on, but it’s all in one place, so I can use the rest of my brain for my day-to-day life (such as at my job). It almost makes it feel easy and it certainly helps it feel doable.
Now, I realize I’ve been making this whole thing seem super stressful and scary, and I’ll be frank, it can be. But ultimately, this is the most excitement I’ve had in years and I am out of my mind with anticipation.
Everyday, I wake up thinking about how I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of living and working abroad on my own. In early October, I am going to be newly arrived in a completely foreign place, getting settled and enjoying the ups and downs of solo travel. I can’t wait.
Note from TT&W: Bethany will be providing us a series of posts while living and working in France, giving you, the readers a first-hand experience on what it’s like to teach English in France.
About the author:
Bethany Huntley is an adventurous gal who has lived in all four corners of the US. She went to middle school and high school in New Hampshire, and still calls it home in the figurative sense, but has spent the last few years living in the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from Willamette University with a degree in English and French. During her college experience, she studied abroad in Martinique, a French overseas department in the Caribbean, and did a semester at Montana State University studying Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems. Her interests include, but are not limited to, food, dogs, France, wine, and adventures.