Two years ago, I made a last-minute and life-changing decision that would teach me more about myself than I ever imagined. I moved to Tel Aviv after graduating college to help with marketing and social media for a start-up foodie tour operator, Delicious Israel. I've been there before, for shorter periods of time, and felt a connection that many travelers feel when they visit this unique city. I knew I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone and on my own before heading into the "real world", so this was the perfect opportunity that I couldn't let pass by.
For once, this trip wasn't about sightseeing; it was more about being immersed in the everyday life of a completely different culture and lifestyle.
For once, this trip wasn't about sightseeing; it was more about being immersed in the everyday life of a completely different culture and lifestyle. It's not easy, but if you want a fast-track to personal development, get on a plane.
I realize that not everyone can just pick up and move to a new country, so below are the most important lessons I've learned from working and living abroad that will hopefully inspire those to do the same at some point in their lives.
1. How to Experience Everything
Whether it's skydiving out of a plane or eating local cuisines that may not look appealing, try it. I learned how to appreciate new experiences and that taking risks can lead to some of the most incredible journeys.
2. That Every Country Has Good and Bad
Every country has got its own troubles and living abroad puts you on the outside looking in. Yet, I never realized the extent of how fortunate I was to be able to experience other countries and accept the good and bad they have to offer. After all, the opportunity to look at life through someone else's eyes is one of the reasons we travel in the first place.
3. How to Be Adaptable
The simple challenges of daily routines in a foreign country can be overwhelming. You don't speak the language or have the comforts of home, so one of the most important things I learned was to not feel guilty to ask for help.
I've always been able to adjust to new surroundings easily, but this experience definitely pushed that to its limits. Frequent changes force you to do better and turn you into a better human being who is able to cope with whatever life throws at them.
4. How to Open Up
Language barriers can make this even more difficult, but I learned how to be open-minded and talk to people I normally wouldn't have. Once you get the hang of talking to people you don't necessarily share a background with, you'll be surprised by how much in common you can have.
5. Not to Underestimate Myself
Before this trip, I would have never thought I'd take the leap to travel solo for a long period of time. Of course, on the way over a million thoughts ran through my head. I was nervous and excited all at the same time, with no expectations. The outcome was amazing, and had I known, I would have never doubted myself.
6. How Much Delicious Food There Is in This World
As a food-lover, trying different culture's cuisines is one of my favorite parts about traveling. Israel is home to some of the best food I've ever had, mostly because they use all fresh and local ingredients. It's a reminder that New York isn't the only city that offers delicious food.
7. To Enjoy Every Moment
Living abroad can be a challenging journey. I've learned new skills, built new relationships, and opened my mind to new experiences. Overall, I have learned to cherish the small joys in my day-to-day living and keep a positive mindset when things get chaotic.