This is a very personal post, but an important one for those who think that things are just unachievable – not only travel ;)

This week I'm settling in in Belfast where I'll probably spend a couple of months, maybe longer. With all the flat hunting and talking to dozens of new people each day (including my 7! flatmates – yes, I've moved into one of those big shared houses), it feels like I never left the world of hostels – I'm permanently making introductions, asking “where are you from?” “how long have you been here?” and “what do you do?”, and giving people a 2 minute summary of who I am, what I do, where I've been and why I'm here.

The response I get from people quite a lot is how “lucky” I am, to have had so many “opportunities” and “support” and “a great education” and “how beautiful my life is”. For some reason, many people love the idea that I'm some posh kid who went to international school and spent her whole life travelling and learning languages, supported by ultra rich parents.

It's something that shames me, because it couldn't be further from the truth: I never spent more than 4 years in a row in one school, quite when I was 17, have never seen a university from the inside. My family never went on holidays, let alone day trips with my siblings or single mum, we didn't have a car or internet or DVD player or dishwasher or any of those fancy things. For Christmas, I'd get new shoes or a coat. I'm not saying that I was poor – I've seen poverty in other countries and I wouldn't dare to say that poverty in Germany with its tight social security is real poverty in any way.

Oh yes, and the lesbian thing? Try coming out when you're 14, and you live in the middle of nowhere. I didn't dare leave the house on my own for years. Instead, I read about 5,000 books and immersed myself in learning languages. Fun teenage days, huh?

Support from people? From when I was 10 to 17, pretty much every year, a person that was very important to me died – all of them were under 35, and the first of them was my father.

(Dear lord, this is not a please-pity-me post in any way. All these things have made me who I am today and I would not change them if I could)

The point is, although many things were missing during my childhood and teens, luckily, nobody ever tried to keep me small, shy and petty, and my mother (and she missed out on many other essential things) always told me to do what I dreamt of and not give a fuck about other people's expectations.

That's the only thing I was ever given – the courage to trust in my own courage.
Everything else, I worked for, and I took risks. Maybe also because I learned the hard way that life can be much shorter than expected, and I don't ever want to waste a day of my life. That's why in my mind, I judge people in their mid-20s who have just finished uni and never had to work hard for anything before (maybe it's jealousy. Just maybe).

This is the 4th time in my live where I give up everything to dare something completely new - not because the life I had before was bad, but because I had grown out of it and I'm looking for new experiences, new places, want to learn new things and meet different people. It takes courage, but when you've done it once, it gets easier (and maybe, addictive).

Opportunities in life don't just come along and tell you “Take me!” (maybe unless, you are really super rich) - you'll have to have the guts to take them, and when there don't seem to be any, change your circumstances and create your own.


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