Updated: Apr 9, 2019
This picture of 8 years ago popped up in my newsfeed today and made me go down memory lane…convincing me to share a little story with you on:
How it all began, the expat lifestyle.
What made me back up and turn my back on Germany for good.
To start with, the last known address in Munich, Germany, was not home. I did not feel comfortable there, despite having close friends around.
Looking back I see how unhappy I was and how ill work had made me within that year. I proudly worked my arse off in a hotel group reservation call center. We worked at a high pace, high-quality standard under the massive pressure and competiveness with a low wage to hours ratio.
Just from starring at the computer screen all day my eyesight worsened with me requiring glasses 6 times stronger than the previous year.
In my previous job I wasn’t sick once in 3 years, I lost count of my sick leave days back in Munich.
I gained about 5kg in that year alone.
The healthy ratio of work-life-balance was unknown to me at that time.
I didn’t understand the signs, but looking back its easy to see why I jumped at my colleagues idea of taking the travel & work visa to Australia.
12 years ago, in 2006, I waved Germany goodbye for what seemed an adventurous trip to Australia.
In other words, I ran from my life to the furthest country possible.
This was the begin of my journey, of following my heart and instincts over a possible and expected career path. I have observed that lead ever since.
These days I know, the universe and its helper the law of attraction doing their work.
Initially, I would have rather taken a suitcase opposed to a backpack along that trip. I didn’t think backpacking was my choice of travelling style, but the second I landed it the great land of OZ, I knew that was it!
I felt like I never had before, no one knew me, and I could be who I wanted to be. I never expected to find work so easily and to my surprise even some low wage jobs were pretty well paid and left lots of opportunity to travel. I spent 2 years in Australia until my visa expired. At that time I wished I could stay forever, I was literally heartbroken when I had to leave.
But during my work assignments I had made sufficient contacts so within 10 days stopover in Germany ,I was called to Abu Dhabi.
Back then the UAE were nothing but a stopover -destination, I had to look it up on the map and after confirming it existence I was off!
Little did I know that I would meet my future husband in the Middle East. I always knew my hubby would not be German, but frankly honest he grew up only about 200km from my birthplace.. . super exotic in know!
A year on and a short stopover in Germany my soon to be husband and I moved to London. I was thrilled to find out that, while in Germany I was unemployable due to my 3 years abroad, that in the UK my experience was absolutely appreciated. I recieved 9 offers in top hotels out of my 10 applications.
Take that for a lesson and perspective on self-value!
And now here we are, at the moment this picture was taken and I only have one warning for you:
Be careful what you wish for the universe is listening!
As we went for a first holiday together to the Carribean island of Barbados, and I sat there under palm trees wishing I could stay forever. ..
Just as we landed back at Gatwick… the phone rang. The universe,
or my husband’s company calling, telling us we had 2 weeks notice to mobilise to Panama. I was in tears. I hated someone telling me what I had to do and by when, taking charge of my personal life.
Just as I had my dream job about to finally climb the ladder, someone decided about the end of career and it wasn’t even my own boss. It seemed so unfair!
Undoubtedly one of the hardest lesson in expat life. That ever present cloud over ones head, that all dreaded call from HQ telling you its time to pack up and leave to their chosen destiny.
But once more I followed my heart, we packed up and moved. I often wonder what if I would have said NO.
I can not come up with an answer as satisfying to what happened next.
After 3 months of intensive Spanish classes as I had the intent to work, I found an English speaking job as a travel agent. Loved it, booking dream vacations for others in Panama, and get to travel myself.
After 2.5 years in Panama we made friends for live, made unforgettable memories, had a fabulous wedding and a left with a baby on the way, what a souvenir to keep.
In Doha I knew I would not get a work permit, given that I was pregnant, so I began to study, graduated and gave birth to my two beautiful boys. Who would have known that shortly after my little desert roses would transform into jungle kids as we would back on the plane to Panama, which currently serves as our HOME!
Follow your heart!