May 5, 2015

Why I Left the Perfect Life for an ExPat Adventure.

jessica germanyJust a few short months ago I was living what most would consider a perfect life.

I had a meaningful job that I loved. I had a boss whom I respected and who treated me like a human being instead of a number. I worked for a company that paid me an embarrassing amount for what was really a low-stress, high-reward gig. I was dating a man with whom I felt an undeniable connection and who made me feel appreciated and safe.

I lived a quick three miles from my folks and we had a standing Sunday night dinner. I was a season pass owner to some of the best ski mountains in the country. My house was beautiful and decorated and every inch oozed me.

Nearly nightly, I sat and watched the sun set over the Rocky Mountains.

It was everything I thought I had ever wanted. I had everything I set out working to obtain…maybe even more.

And then I was handed the opportunity to move overseas and risk it all.

Laid out on the table in front of me were the following things:

  • A significantly lower paying job with little to no advancement opportunity
  • Living 5000 miles away from my boyfriend, my family, my friends, and my home
  • Risk
  • Risk
  • More risk

Essentially this opportunity required me to leave the very epicenter of my heart’s happiness.

“No” seems like the easy answer, right?


After a period of agonizing about what to do, I said yes.

So here I am living in Germany. I have less money. I have Sunday dinner alone.

I haven’t held a man’s hand or been kissed goodnight since I left Denver. And I have a teeny tiny apartment furnished with things that are not my own.

I am alone out in a very foreign corner of the world.

But I couldn’t be happier.


I realize that I had the perfect life in Colorado—except it was the perfect life for someone else.

This, right here, is my perfectly imperfect life. Living by the seat of my pants. Going a million miles a minute and jumping countries weekly. Learning a foreign language.

Ordering and devouring food with names I can’t even pronounce…yet. Riding a train or plane or bus home at the end of each weekend adventure. Staring out the window of that train or plane or bus with teary eyes and a happy heart.

Sitting in pubs and befriending the stranger to my left. And then to my right. And if I feel particularly saucy, befriending the stranger across the bar who holds eye contact for an extra second.

Finding a rhythm and comfort in being single. Managing to survive and thrive without a car.

Not worrying that I’m disappointing my parents by not prioritizing marriage or children.

This perfectly imperfect life of mine is a scary, unintelligible road for most people and I’m okay with that. For once, I realize that this life is what I was always searching for and lacking.

It wasn’t ever about the “right” man. It wasn’t about a house on two acres with a view and a puppy and some kids. It wasn’t about a particular job.

It was the flying feeling I get from being free to wander. To roam. To explore.

To seek comfort in the company of whomever I meet along the way.

It was this life, this very second in a teeny tiny apartment in a small village located in Western Germany.

And for this life I would give up a hundred perfect lives, a hundred times over.






6 Mindful Reasons to Travel Solo.

Author: Jessica Chardoulias

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: author’s own 

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