In true Happy Camper spirit, I’ll be posting weekly love letters 🙂 They could be about anything really, anything that made me happy at some point (and most likely still does). My intention is simply to shine a big, bright spotlight on the good things in life!
Since I’m heading into my last month in Oslo before packing up and moving abroad again, it’s only polite I dedicate a few love letters this month to… Norway.
I’ve been known to act on my impulses and to make huge decisions about the direction of my life quickly and spontaneously.
I always said I would never leave my friends and go away for a year in high school. Then one day when I was 15 years old I came home from school, after a representative from a foreign exchange organization had come and spoken at my school, and told my mom I’d decided to move to the US for my junior year. Full support, no questions asked.
In the fall of 2009 I moved to England to go to the University of York, but hit a major road block and decided to quit after a only month. My family and friends were amazing, they never once made me feel like a failure or a flake, even though I felt absolutely horrible at the time and like I’d completely lost my bearings. They patted me on the back and told me, “Great that you tried! Now let’s just move on to the next thing.”
I became a tour guide and ran away from the so-called normal order of things, which is to get an education when you’re actually lucky enough to be have the offer of free high-quality university education in Scandinavia. They never once questioned what I was doing with my life. They loved me and missed me and completely supported what I was doing because they saw how happy I was.
I’ve always known I wanted to get an education, but I’ve made hundreds of changes to the plan along the years. I’ve decided on what and where I wish to study many times – and gone “public” with it – only to change my mind soon thereafter. Usually because of some gut feeling that only makes sense to me and nobody else. If anyone was ever tired of me always changing my mind and never committing, they never showed it. All I’ve ever gotten is “Alright, great that you figured it out sooner rather than later!” and “Awesome, that new plan sounds much more like you.”
Most recently, I had decided that I was moving to Vancouver in September and had sent in the school application and I was talking to everyone about my plans to live there. I went away on vacation to Mexico, came back two weeks later, and told my family: “Oops – scratch that. I’m gonna need you to come visit me in Australia instead. Leaving in July. ‘K, thanks!”
What I’ve come to realize over the past few years is that the only person who’s not always 100% supporting and who sometimes puts pressure on me to live a certain way and to achieve certain things , is me.
If I told my family and friends that I wouldn’t go to school and would probably never have any higher credentials than my high school diploma, they would be completely fine with that as long as it meant I was doing something I thought was more important and challenging. I don’t need to do or say or be anything specific for them in order to get their support. They support me for just being me, and they’ve proved this to me time and time again.
God bless them….! I am so lucky to not really have any naysayers in my life. My friends are the most supporting bunch of people there is, and I am so, so, so grateful for the excitement and joy they share with me when I tell them about my newest plans. It doesn’t matter if they sometimes wish I chose something different, because they never ever let that shine through and kill my enthusiasm. You know who you all are – I hope I can somehow express my appreciation for all the support you’ve given me over the years and I so dearly hope that I return the favor by being supportive of you all!
As for my family, they are such rockstars when it comes to giving me the ‘all clear’ on following my hunches and my gut feeling. They never make me feel like I have to do something to get their blessing and approval. They seem to all think it’s kinda fun that it’s a little bit random what I end up doing most of the time, and that I’m incapable of predicting my next move until it’s right about to happen. I know a lot of people aren’t this lucky when it comes to getting unconditional support from their parents and extended family, so I hope you all know that I do not take it for granted.