If there's one thing I "regret," it's not taking the opportunity to live abroad while I had it it in college.
I say regret lightly, because at the time I really didn't want to. I was happy in New York--which was nearly as much of a foreign country to this suburban Pittsburgh girl as Italy or Spain or anywhere else would have been. I know I'll probably never move back to New York--it's prohibitively expensive, even to someone who is making decent money like I am--so I'm glad I enjoyed the time I had there.
But the fact remains: I would like, at some point, to live in a country other than my own.
Australia, a country that has always appealed to me, has a visa program called the Work and Holiday Visa (or something like that). It allows people under the age of 30--which I still am, for another 2 1/2 years or so--to travel to Australia and work part time while they're there. I've been thinking about this for awhile now, and it sounds awesome. It would be a great chance for me to spend some time in another country. I have a friend who's Australian (though he lives in the UK now), so I know someone who could, at least remotely, give me the lay of the land. And a part-time work schedule would give me an opportunity to travel and experience the country more, and also ample writing time. It sounds like a win-win.
It also scares the shit out of me!
All my rage-against-the-machine protestations to the country, I've actually been very much a play-it-safe girl for most of my life. I've had jobs since I was 16. When I got out of college, I took a steady government job rather than hunting for something that appealed to me more (but might be less stable). I have always had some measure of stability and security.
And if I leave--the visas run from 3-12 months--it would mean quitting that job. It would mean going to a strange place where I don't know anyone. (Like I said, my Australian friend lives in the UK now.) It would mean trying life for the first time without a safety net--something I've never done before.
I'm in the perfect position to try something like this right now. I'm single. I don't have a boyfriend. My friends all have lives and careers of their own, and many of them will probably leave the DC area within the next few years. I rent an apartment. I don't even have a car.
The only thing I have that involves any sort of committment, on my part, is my cat. What the hell would I do about my cat?
As the years pass by, I will likely have more commitments and obligations holding me here. But right now, there's nothing--well, not much, anyway. Will I spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn't do something--just one thing--crazy in my 20s?