10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

Our former video blogger Patricia shares what she has learned from moving away from home.

Moving away can be scary at first.  But if you let it, a move can astonish you with transformative lessons, invaluable friendships, and unforgettable memories. Here are 10 surprising things I have learned from moving away a dozen or so times in the past decade.

  1. Alone, never lonely
    The thought of being alone summarizes the scariest parts about moving away. Yet I have found that the more I move, the larger my community can grow. I may find myself on my own, but I am constantly connected to families, friends, and friends of friends wherever I end up.

    10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

  2. An awful lot of world to see
    The beauty of the magnificent planet we inhabit is that we can never run out of places to explore. As communities and neighborhoods change after we move away, we can revisit a city to reveal an entirely new perspective. 

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  3. Present's presents
    As I am on the move, I have grown a profound appreciation for simply being present. While photos and messages are fun, I practice putting the phone away. Nothing can replace the gift of a person's presence.

    10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

  4. Wherever you go, there you are
    Tempting as it is to think that we might "lose ourselves" when we move, no singular place makes us who we are. Do not let a location define you. Moving away forces you to realize that the only constant thing is change. So embrace it! Fear not. Be you—wherever you are!

    10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

  5. Go lightly
    When packing, we like to over do it. We stuff our suitcases to the brim with things we eventually realize we do not need after all. As I move often, I try to gradually free myself of burdensome material attachments. Save yourself the backache and surplus baggage charges, pack light!

  6. Make waves
    After several moves, it is easy to disregard the potential for change. Yet each place is never the same because I have changed it by being there. Never forget that every place you go, you make an impact. Big or small, good or bad, how much or how little—that is up to you.

    10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

  7. Web of love
    As hard as long distance friendships can be, let the love overcome the distance. Friendship knows no borders. I imagine the world covered in the web of my friendships. Time differences become irrelevant when you find yourselves video calling till the early morn.

  8. Immerse yourself
    A new place means a different environment and community. Different does not mean better or worse. I love observing the diversity of the people I meet and the places I move to. Allow yourself time to adapt, but whenever possible jump head first!

    10 Lessons I Learned When I Moved Away

  9. Move, learn, grow
    With every move, there is an opportunity to learn and grow. Moving has been my greatest teacher. Learn a language, deepen your understanding of a culture, and challenge yourbeliefs.

  10. Home is where your heart is.
    There is no place like home because there is no home that is just a place. While I call several places home, I consider home a "when" not a "where." I am most at home when I am free to be myself, when I am surrounded with those I love, and when I can eat as many chocolate chip cookies as I please. Home is what YOU make it, so make the most of where you are!

Have you moved away from home, too? Leave a comment and let's talk more about your experience!









About the author
Patricia Baron
Contributing Writer
A challenge seeker by day and a change maker by night, Patricia pursues her diverse passions by practicing to write, film, stretch, edit, rinse, and repeat.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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