The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.
It was the day after the Fourth of July, the most patriotic holiday in the U.S., and here I was moving to Mexico. I had had a whirlwind few weeks of preparing for the move–wrapping up my last few projects at work, finding a subleaser for my apartment in Chicago, selling my belongings, and packing my life into two suitcases.
Although it was a difficult decision to leave my job working for a luxury hotel brand, I knew that it was going to be now or never. I had been in Chicago for almost five years and had grown too comfortable with my routine lifestyle. I was ready to immerse myself into something outside of my comfort zone and now seemed to be the perfect time to take the risk. I was at a point in my life where I had virtually no financial commitments—no house, no car, no children or pets. What was I waiting for? I had always dreamed of living abroad, and now I had the opportunity and the support to be able to make my dream a reality.
Now of course I understood that I was going to be giving up the comfort and modern conveniences of life in Chicago, but I was hopeful that I would be gaining so much more. I’ve always had a passion for the Hispanic culture, the Spanish language, and experiential travel. These passions combined with a new career opportunity working for a Mexican hospitality brand was exactly what I was looking for. Lucky for me, my best friend and her husband reside in Playa del Carmen, which would make it easier (and all the more fun) for me to get settled in a new place.
After a few teary-eyed goodbyes at the airport, there I was left alone and ready to embark on my new life abroad. Never before had I bought a one-way ticket and it felt exhilarating (and a bit terrifying) not knowing what the future would hold. Although I would miss my family and friends, I was so excited for the opportunity to meet new people, perfect my Spanish, and explore a brand new place. This was it—no looking back.
In just a few hours time, I was glancing out the plane window to clear blue skies and turquoise waters. After touching down in sunny Cancun, I quickly made my way through customs and picked up the ADO airport bus to Playa del Carmen. After about an hour’s ride, we pulled into the station and I was so excited to be greeted by the warm smiles of my best friend. We quickly made our way out of the station and headed to one of their favorite shrimp taco restaurants—La Floresta. Crispy battered fish tacos and some Mexican beer was just what I needed after an early morning of traveling.
The next few days were spent getting organized for my new life abroad. With a little shopping, a little sushi, and a lot of sunshine, I was energized and ready for this new adventure. With all the exciting things that Playa del Carmen has to offer—gorgeous white-sand beaches, world-class restaurants, bustling night life, and an international community, I knew my new home would be full of fun and adventure, but most importantly it would be an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth. I had taken that first step towards getting somewhere, and here I was surely at the beginning of something truly amazing.
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