My life is nothing like I imagined it to be when I was a child. Growing up in an orthodox Jewish family of 15 children, we had no money to speak of. The last time I went to see my little siblings at the home I grew up in, the roof was leaking. It is quite shocking going back to the USA and seeing how much poverty there is. Of course, there are poor people in the Netherlands. But most Dutch people would not be able to even begin to imagine the conditions people live under in the USA. I am so unbelievably blessed to be living the life I have now.
I have always loved traveling. My biological father used to take me and/or my siblings on what he called “business trips.” What it meant was, he was going to collect money for his synagogue. We’d go to cities all over the USA. We never went abroad though. I do not agree with traveling instead of fixing the roof over your head, but what could I have done about it? I was a child. When I was 14 years old, I got placed in foster care.
Going Into Foster Care
From there, any travel became nearly impossible because my biological parents refused to give me permission to travel. My foster parents didn’t have the right to say yes. Foster parenting is very complex and has a ridiculous amount of rules and restrictions. The moment I turned 18 years old, I was free. I immediately moved to NYC because that was what I wanted. Fast forward 6 months, I realized being on your own wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I moved back in with my foster parents. They were incredible people by the way. My foster dad recently passed away but my foster mom is still alive. They were like the parents I never had.
I cannot remember if it was when I was 18 or 19 years old, but I decided to go on Birthright. Birthright, or as it’s called in Hebrew: Taglit, is a free trip for any Jewish person. If you are Jewish, this organization flies you to Israel and organizes all sorts of tours and activities for you and a group of people free of charge. That experience was incredible. I saw things that I had never seen before. I never thought I would fall in love with Israel. I never even wanted to visit, but I couldn’t turn down a free trip. I’ve been back to Israel twice after that trip. Once myself and once with my partner Kevin.
My World Changed When I Met Him
A while after that trip, I met Kevin. That began my travels. We visited over 15 countries together. Eventually, I moved in with him. I found my new home, the Netherlands. It has been almost 3 years since I moved here and I do not regret it. At first, it was extremely hard for me. I hated almost every minute of it at the beginning. Now, when I am in the USA, all I want to do is board a plane back to the Netherlands. I have found a new home. Home doesn’t always have to be where you grew up.
Since moving here, I got to learn a new language, learn a whole new culture, live a healthier lifestyle, and have so much more of the world at my fingertips. I even own my own business. Meaning I can hop on a plane to see a new country or place whenever I want to. I learned how to expand my mind and think outside what I am used to. I learned that life is about relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family instead of being glued to a computer. I am so incredibly grateful for my life. Some days I feel like I’m dreaming. I recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine. Kevin and I saw the northern lights in Norway.
Dreams Can Become Reality
Moving abroad can be hard as hell. Don’t I know it. But the opportunities you can have from it are endless. Living abroad helps you open your mind and experience new things. You can learn a whole new way of living. I truly believe that a person can accomplish anything if they want to. The only thing standing between you and what you want are excuses. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I am living proof that your past and/or present doesn’t have to define your future. So be adventurous and push yourself out of your comfort zone. You will be glad you did.
What is something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t for whatever reason? What is holding you back from doing it?