So, I’m moving across the world. It’s really happening. I couldn’t be more excited for this journey I’m about to embark on. But there seems to be a reoccurring theme from sharing my news with friends and family… this notion that I’m moving across the world for a boy.

My boyfriend will be there, yes. We will be starting life together, yes. However, I’m moving for myself. The people who truly know my heart know the truth of that statement. There is nothing here in California for me at the moment. There is nothing holding me here and nothing making me truly happy, besides my family and close friends. I was so successful after I returned home from studying abroad for a year in Spain. I earned two amazing internships and a management position at work, all while going to school full time and earning straight A’s. Yet, I was still unhappy. There is nothing that brings me joy the way that traveling this incredible world did.

Upon my return to the states, I no longer had constant mental stimulation. I no longer was pushing myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself in ways I never thought possible. But more than that, I no longer felt whole. There is something so magical about moving across the world at 19-years-old to live in a country for 10 months where you don’t speak the language, you don’t have any family or friends and on top of that, it’s your first time ever living outside of your parent’s house. I will never stop recommending people to take the leap of faith in trusting that they have it inside of themselves to go and to make it through. It filled a piece of my heart that I didn’t know was empty. I’m a different person when I’m out of America. I’m the best version of myself.

So for the people that think that I’m moving out of the country because of a boy, I would ask yourself: how well do I truly know Michelle? Whether it is Serbia, France, Canada, or Russia, there is nothing that could make me want to stay. My best friend knew that before I even knew it myself. She’d always talk about how sad she would be when I ended up moving away from her and her beautiful baby boys. I look at that now and realize she might be the only person who sees me for who I really am. She saw me better than I could look in the mirror and see myself.

This next journey is going to be something so beautiful. It is a once in a lifetime chance that I will not turn down out of fear. “The brave may not live forever, but the cautious may not live at all.” – Meg Cabot. I am not fearless. I am not so confident in my decisions that I never doubt them. I don’t know if anyone truly feels that way. I sure hope not. I never want to be that comfortable. I always want to doubt myself, push myself, challenge my own thoughts and challenge why I think them.

The good deed is done! The ticket is purchased and my journey begins Jan 5, 2018. A flight to my new home, in a new country for the new year. I couldn’t imagine a better beginning. So here’s to me! I deserve it. You do too.