I travel quite a bit, (obviously or I’d have no blog), and within my travels I meet tons of amazing, different people. Typically I’m a talker and can sometimes go on more than anyone wants to hear, but with Europeans I tend to be more in awe at their stories than anything of my own.
Quite usually they want to know, what brought me to Europe to live in the first place, and why I chose here. Instead of reading my long reason verbatim, I give them the short answer “school/roots/adventure”, but I let them know my intent is to stay if possible. Then quite quickly the shift goes over to American politics.
Quite frankly, Europeans tend to follow our politics its seems more than we do. They have more questions about specific things happening, and some have even told me that our politics are incorporated in their news feeds.
So some questions follow the convo such as:
“Are you going to vote in this election? How stupid are you guys to have allowed Trump to run?” “Are things really like what we see on tv and youtube?” then I find myself as being a representative for the USA explaining that we don’t want Trump and we’re all as surprised as the rest of the world as to how far he’s gotten, then make a serious joke about how if he were to be elected I’d never go back. Then explaining how the media doesn’t quite represent us as a whole and have to put into perspective the size of the US; that you can approximately fit the size of Europe in America over 2 times. So just as culturally different each country can do, so can every state.
Moving on, I begin to ask them about themselves, usually my first question is if they’re originally from here (wherever here is at the time) and their answer is usually no, or is followed with they’re leaving. That then leads to a bunch of follow-up questions, always the same questions and always such different answers. Each time leaving me more and more intrigued.
I’ve come to envy the european mindset; not to cheapen each of their experiences but a lot of their stories more or less are…
“I’m from one place in Europe but decided to move somewhere else in Europe on a whim. I like it here so I (either) have stayed here for years and/or may stay a bit longer then leave and try a different country. I also know at least 3 languages.”
That’s fucking awesome.
How amazing it must be to be so liberated and carefree and educated.
Americans for the most part do not share in that mentality, there must be a plan and there must be stability. A european moves and their peers say “good for you, I went there on holiday and loved it”, an american moves and their peers ask “why? do you have a job set up? how will you pay bills? won’t you miss your family? Do you know the language? etc. etc.” Not to say we’re not happy for each other, but it’s not as common, and I feel like that’s due to a fear; where are europeans not to say are fearless but tend to be okay with whatever comes their way.
ex 1. a guy in Switzerland who is native to there, but recently quit his job cause he didn’t like it, paid his rent a few months in advance, and plans on going to Thailand on a one-way ticket just to see if a passion sparks.
ex 2. a guy from Australia (yea yea not the EU) who’s been living in Berlin, money is getting low so plans on moving to California for a while to work, then back to Berlin.
ex 3. a girl originally from France came to Spain for school, stayed for work, but now is going to travel the country just because she wants to write.
The examples can go on and on. But don’t those alone inspire you? or ignite something in you? Maybe not.. maybe just me.. but thats how I want to feel thats how I want to be and live.
A few nights ago I went out alone to a social get together and surprisingly met a few Americans, all who seemed to have similar thoughts as me, the same thoughts of Europeans, the “I need to flee feeling”. It was refreshing to speak to people who also thought outside of the box. Whatever their reasoning was.
I heard things such as, “I had a quarter-life crisis”, “I went on vacation fell in love with the place, went back home to pack and never went back,” it started just with studying abroad and I decided to hop around afterwards and stay.”
Regardless of their reason they also said the same thing, the support they got from people at home was there, but wasn’t as strong as they would of wanted.
So it’s past due, but maybe we need to take this chapter out of the European Lifestyle book and make a change to how we live ours.