Foreign Territory

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Foreign Territory

“I’m going to live in France for a year.”

This declaration had been brewing in my mind since I opened up my first French language book in the fourth grade. After learning about my mostly French heritage, I became obsessed with the culture. It didn’t help that as an aspiring author and hopeless romantic, the capital of the country, the grand Paris, was known as a wonderful combination of literary artistry and magical romance.

My love affair with France has been one of the longest lasting relationships I’ve cultivated in my life.

So, naturally, as I’ve stepped out of the confines of my self-limiting fears and opened myself up to opportunities in life, a year-long trip to France became a very real possibility.

The plan gained even more traction after I graduated from yoga teacher training. I had finally completed something, and found my true calling. I decided that meant it was either now or never. If I was going to take a leap of faith into foreign territory, this would be the time to do so. Otherwise, I feared I would find myself delving head-first onto my career path, waking up years from now with a family and a thriving career—and regret that I hadn’t spent that year in France like I always said I wanted to do.

But underneath this surface-level reasoning was the hidden truth that I was also terrified of my life.

I had finally found my calling. I had finally stepped into myself, and “woke up” from the dream-state, false life I’d been living. There was no denying who I was, and what I was meant for.

And that scared the shit out of me.

So, naturally, my instinct was to run. Navigating the literal foreign territory of another continent was safer and less terrifying than navigating the foreign territory within my own soul. Standing in my own truth was not something I was familiar with, and I didn’t know how to do it. 

Yes, I love France and I’ve been longing to visit forever. But there was no reason I needed to go now. France isn’t going anywhere. 

Still, for months, I stuck to the plan of my escape. But little by little, this dream began to unravel. 

First, my dream of having a travel companion finally burst into reality, and I was forced to accept if I made this trip, I’d be making it alone.

Second, I travelled over 200 miles to get my birth certificate so I could apply for a passport, only to realize everything I needed had been right where I was the whole time.


On the surface level, this meant my birth certificate had been in my hometown the whole time. I didn’t need to travel 200 miles to apply for a passport. But when I received the news, it hit me on a deeper level as well.

I didn’t need to spend a year in France to become comfortable with navigating foreign territory. The work I needed to do could be done right here, right now.

I didn’t need to run. I needed to learn how to stay.

And now, here I am. Navigating the foreign territory of my own soul day-after-day, growing comfortable with the frightening uncertainty.

France is still a dream I plan to pursue one day. But the real work begins here.

So here I stay.

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