the world awaits

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In looking for jobs recently, I updated LinkedIn. In updating LinkedIn, I got in touch with old co-workers. In getting in touch with old co-workers, I got a job offer in Taiwan.

And I couldn’t take it.

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while now know how important travel is to me. I’ve often stated how much I miss living in Asia and how I can’t wait to return. My dream job would be to work for a nonprofit organization whose focus is international relief. I want to write to make a difference.

But why is travel so important to me? How can I make others understand? A friend pointed out to me recently that trying to explain how incredible travel is to someone who’s never left home is like trying to explain how wonderful parenting is to someone who’s never had kids. To a non-parent, having kids just seems like a lot of work. To a homebody, being out of your comfort zone just sounds . . . scary.

And you know what? It kind of is. And that is why it’s so awesome.

When I turned 18, I went 2,500 miles from home for college. When I turned 25, I went 6,500 miles from home to teach. Before I left for Taiwan, I was anxious. After I arrived, I wanted to go home. Taiwan was a strange new world in which I did not belong. I couldn’t even speak the language!

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Shihmen’s Arch

But you know what? It is because of Taiwan that today my facebook news feed is filled with Chinese. And it is because my facebook news feed is filled with Chinese that I relate to people (like you!) all around the world. I may not have been to your country, but I know how beautiful it must be. Taiwan gave me new eyes with which to view the entire world.

And so why do I want to travel more? Because there is so much more to see! But why can’t I do it now? Because some things just aren’t meant to be — yet. I’ve found something else equally — no, more — important, and realized that timing really is everything.

The world awaits.

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. . . And besides, like my friend Randall recently said, travel really is so much better with a friend. ;)

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Image: Sunset in Shihmen, Taiwan. All rights reserved.

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11 thoughts on “the world awaits

  1. Sam Han says:

    all the best Jessica, in whatever you do. i hope you find something (job) that fulfills you and complement your life. the world awaits yes, but sometimes we travel round the world to find out what we needed was right here all along. travels open up my mind, educate us, free our soul and in the end they always bring us back to home sweet home :D

    • Jessica says:

      Wise words, Sam! You are right that travel opens the mind and educates us, frees our souls and helps us discover who we are. But I think that for some people it does even more than that. Some people find who they are and that they don’t belong in their traditional home. I haven’t felt completely comfortable at home since I moved back. There is this itch… Some people are meant to be free. After all, “Not all those who wander are lost.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

      Thank you so much for the well wishes, by the way. They mean so much! :)

  2. Yes. Travel and job searching. I am in the same boat right now. I recently gambled at applications to grad school and lost. Shattered dreams. But I do have to look for work now and I’m heading back to the home country soon. I must travel and I must write. I wonder what will happen? Hope things have been well.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to, Matt. Hadn’t heard or seen anything from you in a while. I understand shattered dreams. I was rejected from journalism graduate school twice. (The good thing is I no longer want to go into journalism…) I’m sorry to hear that, though. Keep your chin up… And, wow, I can’t believe you’re headed back. *That* will be an adjustment. How long were you in Japan all together? You and your wife were there together, right? In addition to loving being abroad, one of the main reasons I want to go back is to take my boyfriend with me. Until he’s seen Asia, there is so much that he can’t understand…

      “I must travel and I must write.” God, I relate to those words.

      • I was busy holding my breath, waiting for responses. I froze. When it is all said and done I will have about 27 months in Japan, my wife three years. I know what you mean about the understanding part. I don’t know what it will be like when I go back, but your stories will help me. Keep up the great work. And Thanks!

      • Jessica says:

        I truly am glad to hear from you again. :) 27 months is awesome. I guess I was in Taiwan and Hong Kong combined for a total of 29 months. And I want to go back… Best of luck to you. Can’t wait to see where your adventures take you next!!

  3. Dalo 2013 says:

    The World Awaits…a perfect title, and life is pretty funny in that it throws things at you when you least expect it. The famine days/months/years waiting for an exciting opportunity, only to wake up one day and a couple very different ones arrive ~ making for one tough decision.

    I’ve always thought about Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Alchemist’ at those times, just keep doing what your doing and make sure you do it the best you can, and in the end that something you dream about will come…at least that is the fairy-tale life I like to believe in.

    Cheers, and both travel and life are made magical when you can share it with others. Take care, Jess…and good luck with the interview/travels :-)

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Randall… So sorry for my delayed response. There just hasn’t been time for anything lately!

      You are so right that life is funny in the way it throws things at you when you least expect them… That’s why it’s good to be on our toes, I guess! And why flexibility is important. Change and opportunity are what “shift” is all about.

      I read Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” when I was in Hong Kong, believe it or not. A great book with some good points. Yes, keeping on doing what we’re doing to the best of our ability. Only then will we be ready to tackle the challenges that come our way!

      Hope you’re having a lovely week, Randall.

  4. Jess,

    I can TOTALLY relate to your love of travel; I’ve hit 4 of the 6 livable continents in my soccer career, and those experiences are similar to what all astronauts or cosmonauts speak about from space: when looking back onto Earth, boundaries disappear and in utter humility they realize just how fortunate our human family is to have each other and a planet that sustains us in an infinitely vast and changing cosmos. Your perspective will never be the same.

    Wonderful post!

    • Jessica says:

      “Your perspective will never be the same.” Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks, Professor! It is so nice to know others who feel the same!!

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