Wherever You Go, There You’re At

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Blog, Lessons From Abroad | 0 comments

Wherever You Go, There You’re At

Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone to grow beyond yourself. The comfort zone is not really conducive of learning, you know? After 1.5 years in the US I am realizing that wherever you go, there you’re at. Nothing really ever changes, except if YOU do.

When living in Sweden I had a couple of neighbors that really got on my nerves. They would run past the house and get angry with our dogs for barking, occasionally yelling at them and gesturing rather rudely when they thought no one was watching. It was really frustrating to me, and I responded internally with what I mentioned in my past blog – the “fight, flight or freeze” tactic.

I’m an adept “fighter,” and also fairly skilled at fleeing. I thought to myself many times that I didn’t want to live in a place with obnoxious neighbors like that. The next place I would live in would need to have nice, friendly neighbors, that was for sure. (This would be an example of flight thoughts).

You would think that having lived in five countries, and having moved a total of fifteen times in my twenty-nine years of living would have taught me that there are obnoxious people wherever you go. There’s just no escaping them.

“You can run, but you can’t hide” is probably one of the best sayings out there. Do you know why you can’t hide? Because it’s ALL inside of you. Fear, anxiety, frustration, anger – seemingly reactions to something on the outside of you, but really all emotions you are experiencing have little to do with what’s happening externally. It’s all mirroring what’s going on internally.

“But hey, my neighbor really is an a$$&*#@!” That may be, but your reactions to him/her are yours, and yours alone.

So here I am, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a really sweet and wonderful neighbor family, and a couple really strange ones. “Wherever you go, there you’re at.” Nothing will ever change until you change. Lessons like this can be really annoying. Valuable though, there’s no denying it.

There’s a lot to learn from travelling. There’s also a lot to learn from staying put somewhere.

Our recent counseling adventures made me take a nice good look in the mirror, and question myself and my own behavioral patterns. Since I was 16 I travelled extensively abroad on my own and with friends. Why did I travel that much? Was I fleeing from something? Was I seeking new people, new adventures because I didn’t want to stay still long enough to go deep within myself?

I believe I have come to the conclusion that I have travelled that much because it made me feel free. Untainted by other people’s ideas of who I was or what kind of person I was. I could create myself, form myself, become myself fully, and it felt wonderful.

When Jared and I met it took some serious guts from me to stay put in Sweden where I lived at the time, and to start building our life together among people that knew me. It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Not to me. I had then recently come out of another relationship, and making a huge life change in that I had vowed to never lie to myself again, and to start facing up to my problems, or life’s challenges, if you will.

So that’s where we started. After a serious of events and situations, that we have written a lot about, we decided to make the big move overseas, and start our business here. It was an easy choice for me to make, having lived abroad several times already, and being an international person at heart.

Besides, the US wasn’t that different from Norway/Sweden, eh?

Wrong!

After having lived in middle America for 1.5 years I can now truthfully say that the differences are a lot greater than I expected. The US is a very polarizing country, seemingly divided into two – the liberals and the conservatives. Black or white – no grays. Well, actually there seems to be a lot of grays, it’s just that when “gray” is not an option, you are “forced” to choose between two options that may neither be ideal.

It’s an extremely diverse country, and one that I would love to explore more of! Once you forget about the “great divide” politically, the people are warm, welcoming and very friendly (for the most part). On my facebook I’ve shared a lot about the things that frustrate me, so I thought it was time with a little list of the things I love about this part of the country, or should I say Fayetteville in particular:

  • The best grocery store EVER, Ozark Natural Foods!
  • The local Farmers Markets, which are all outstanding
  • It’s a great community, with a city which really cares about its people
  • Concerts in the park (haven’t been to many, but all in due time!)
  • The natural birth community here is absolutely awesome, and one I feel very at home in
  • Fall is STUNNING here
  • The hilly roads and streets, and how the city is so green. Lots and lots of trees and beautiful flowers and gardens
  • The library. It’s the best!
  • The hippies. I love the hippies!
  • Drive thru coffee shops – you don’t see those in Norway!
  • Great, affordable, independent restaurants
  • A great community for supporting local businesses and start ups

I could quite literally go on and on. Fayetteville is a great little town!

Wherever you go, there you’re at. Whether I live in Scandinavia or America, I will always be faced with myself, and the outside is going to mirror my inside. Does this tame my desire to travel?

Nope, not at all…

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