• Leap of Faith

    August 7, 2012

    Last night, I read a feature in Real Simple (August 2012) called “Your Words” where the magazine poses a question and readers write in and respond to it. The best/most unique answers then end up published in the magazine. This month’s question: “What risk are you glad you took?”

    IMG_9457 (563x750) (563x750)

    I loved reading all of the different responses. Here are some of my favorites:

    After dating for only 2.5 months, we got married

    opened a bakery

    18-day, 100-mile trek through the Himalayan Mountains

    remarrying him

    And then I started thinking about the risks in my life I’m glad I took. The first that comes to mind is quitting my job at Harvard to blog full-time, but a close second is going on a semester abroad during my junior year of college.

    I remember being a freshman and thinking it was crazy-cool that my peers were living and taking classes in a foreign country, but it was something I could never do. I mean, living thousands of miles away from my family and friends, learning a foreign language, and totally immersing myself in a new culture? I couldn’t do that. I was too “afraid.” I truly thought a semester abroad wasn’t in my future.

    By the time my sophomore year rolled around, I still hadn’t changed my mind about taking a semester abroad, but the campus was buzzing with talk of upcoming trips. I didn’t think anything of it until my friends—my close friends—were applying to live abroad that next semester. At first, I was bummed because I wouldn’t have my friends around, but then I randomly accompanied one of them to the Semester Abroad office to pick up an application. On a whim, I grabbed one too and waited until the very last minute to apply. I guess I didn’t want to feel left out.

    I only applied to one semester abroad program (York, England – I totally played it safe), and a few weeks later, I received a letter saying I was accepted. I know I could have backed out at any time, but I’m so glad I didn’t and took this risk. It ended up being a life-changing experience for me.

    00m2 (750x535)

    I made it to York St. John University, safe and sound. I lived with three English students and a Japanese exchange student in a flat just off campus. I learned English even better!

    006 (739x750)

    I traveled all over Europe with my friends—to London, Dublin, Galway, Edinburgh, Brussels, Venice, Prague, and Amsterdam—places I never thought I’d visit.

    0nm01 (727x750)

    0101 (750x376)

    I even traveled totally alone on more than one occasion. I figured out how to navigate trains, planes, and automobiles (long before SmartPhones), made friends at hostels, and explored new places.

    0201 (609x750)

    Long story short, my semester abroad helped me become a more confident, independent, and adventurous person. I was forced to do so many things outside of my comfort zone during those four months, so when I returned home, I wasn’t nearly as “afraid” to try new things. The experience definitely changed me for the better, and I’m so glad I decided to go.

    Snack

    I ended up getting really hungry before dinner, so I snacked on some celery and Pretzel Crisps with garlic hummus. I pretty much housed this snack.

    2012-08-07_0851

    Mal was at CrossFit and dinner was still a couple of hours away, so I decided to pour myself a glass of wine and foam roll my back. I know, random, but the combo helped me relax, both mentally and physically.

    2012-08-07_0852

    Dinner

    When Mal got home, I started on dinner, which was Coconut Chicken from the Paleo Plan. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of almond flour for the breading, but I used 1/4 cup of almond flour + 1/4 cup of coconut flour for an even more coconut-y flavor.

    IMG_9636 (750x563)

    On the side, we had roasted broccoli.

    IMG_9637 (563x750)

    Oh my goodness, the Coconut Chicken turned out so well. I absolutely loved it. Mal said it was “ridiculous” and “the best chicken recipe we’ve ever had.” Definitely make this one! It’s also super easy and only calls for six ingredients.

    IMG_9639 (750x563)

    After dinner, I drank some more wine and watched Breaking Bad with Mal and Murphy on the couch.

    2012-08-07_0852_001

    Speaking of Breaking Bad, Mal showed me this link last night: 20 Neat Facts, Cool Allusions, Instances Of Foreshadow​ing, And Theories On ‘Breaking Bad’. I thought you fans would enjoy it. I love the use of color that it mentions—although, now I’m nervous every time I see red or pink!

    Question of the Day

    Your turn!

    What risk are you glad you took?

    P.S. Pet owners: I’m hosting a giveaway sponsored by the ASPCA on Trading Up Downtown!

    Pin It

    { 93 comments… read them below or add one }

    Olivia August 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    My answer would be the exact same as yours – choosing to study abroad in England! I met amazing people from around the world, conquered my fear of navigating the underground and airports by myself, and had such a blast!

    Reply

    mary @ minutespermile August 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Taking a train across Europe to move in with a family i met online!! It was risky but a good au pair experience

    Reply

    Amanda August 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    My husband and I put in an offer on a house last week. Today we found out it was accepted. LEAP OF FAITH!!!!

    Reply

    Jess August 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I am thinking about applying to study abroad!! What was the cost like including all the travel? That is the only thing I’m worried about. Well, okay, not the only thing! haha.

    Reply

    Tina August 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I was there in 2000, so a lot has changed a lot since then. But, I paid for everything myself (savings from two summer jobs, some serious budgeting + $500 in totally-worth-it credit card debt), so it’s definitely do-able!

    Reply

    michelle kim August 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    A risk I took was telling a boy that I like him. Almost 6 years later, we’re still dating!

    Reply

    Mindy August 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Pretzel crisps and hummus are one of my fave snacks! The biggest leap of faith I’ve taken was to transfer schools for the third time my junior year(currently) to be closer to home and friends.

    Reply

    Nicole August 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I would say the best risk I took was taking my time in college. I moved around to 5 schools until I found the right fit, took semesters off to work and help me decide what I wanted to do. I finally found a great school, and an area of study I was super passionate about. It was a good decision because I found a job I love that utlizes my degree perfectly!

    Reply

    Hayley @ Running Down the Runway August 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I just spent a semester abroad in Rome this past fall and it was hands down the best time of my life. I literally never thought I would go because I was way too scared to be away for that long- but finally my roommate convinced me to apply with her (I still thought I would total back out) It turned out by June we had agreed to go but then she became academically ineligible so I was set to head to Rome by MYSELF. To say I was freaking out is a complete understatement, but I went forward with it anyways. I’m sooo glad I did, because like you- I traveled to so many places! It was such an incredible experience!

    Reply

    Cat August 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you for this post! I’m leaving in a month to study abroad in London…and like you, I applied just on a whim and never thought I’d actually do it. Most of my friends aren’t studying abroad, so I’m pretty reluctant to leave campus in the fall and terrified to be in a strange city on my own but I’m excited as well! I’d love some recommendations for fun things to do/eat/see in England!

    Reply

    Janet August 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    The risk I’m most glad I took was looking up an old friend on FB and beginning a relationship while I was being treated for cancer. He and I are now living together and enjoying the heck out of life :-)

    Reply

    Katherine @ The Fit Lady Sings August 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Great post! One risk I’m so glad I took was jumping into a long-distance relationship with a guy I had dated for only 6 weeks… two years later, we’re still going strong and hoping to live in the same city next year!

    Reply

    Jessica @ sweatescape August 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Looks like I nee to get going on things and take some risks, right?

    Anyways, that chicken looks amazing. I will definitely have to give it a try.

    Reply

    Avery @ Texas Teen Keeps Lean August 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I would love the opportunity to study abroad when I get to college. Somewhere European…Ireland or Scotland, maybe?

    I have found a new love for hummus. My new container of it will have to be repurchased VERY soon. :)

    Reply

    Dr. Mark August 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Deciding to stop following in the footsteps of other successful people before me, and being myself for the first time in my business life. Trying to be like someone else is indeed stressful and never works.

    Reply

    Roz@weightingfor50 August 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I really wish I was more of a risk taker. I guess my biggest risk was leaving the full time working world at the age of 26 and going back to university to get my degree. I’m not 100% sure it’s paid off career wise, but I’m glad I did it anyway. Cheers to wine and foam rollers!!!

    Reply

    Khushboo August 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Loved reading through the comments- all very inspiring!

    Reply

    dana August 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    My mom’s #1 rule when I went away to college was to stay away from freshman boys.. said said “they only want one thing” ;-) . 2 months into my freshman year of college, I met a cute freshman guy. 7 years later he became my husband :-) Best leap of faith I ever took — going against what my mom said (which I would NEVER do usually) and I met the man of my dreams!

    Reply

    CampingGirl August 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I have done a few “risky” things in my life… I moved 6 hours away for university to a city where I knew no one, I worked as an Au Pair in Germany on a whim and I went to teachers college in England. I have recently applied to do a Masters of Ed… fingers crossed!

    Reply

    rebecca @ blueberry smiles August 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    What a great question and thing to think about! I’m really happy that I went to college across the country. It was far away, all of my friends stayed in Cali, but it had such a positive influence in my life!

    I’ve certainly taken risks that didn’t turn out so wel too, unfortunately– going back to school to get my teaching credential, getting engaged and moving for a guy (didn’t work out one bit!), etc– but regardless, they were all good life lessons.

    Reply

    Amy August 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Great post!

    I’m glad I took the mini-risk to sign up for my first 5k. It made me fall in love with running, and now I’ve run lots more 5ks, 2 half marathons, and a 20 mile charity run!

    Reply

    Kaitlyn K. August 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I think it’s extremely so awesome and a crazy coincidence that you studied in York–I did too! Also, I’m now living in Boston in the North End. (It seems we have a lot in common. :))

    Along with studying abroad for a year, the biggest risk I ever took was uprooting my life from my tiny hometown in Indiana and moving to Massachusetts for college. I loved it so much, I ended up staying here. Now I’m such an authentic Bostonian, I find that under some circumstances, I am dropping my “R” . . .

    Reply

    Jess August 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Tina this post could not have come at a more perfect time! I leave for my semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in 9 days and I am beyond terrified…my story sounds exactly like yours, except I haven’t actually GONE on my trip yet. I am someone who hates change and resettling and I really believe that pushing myself to do this will help me work towards getting over this fear. I’ve spent my first 2 years of college feeling rather lost and am still really unsure of who/what I want to be, hopefully this trip will turn out to be revealing in many ways. Your story definitely gives me confidence that I’m making the right choice!

    Reply

    Steph August 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    @Jess: Copenhagen is a great city – good choice!

    Reply

    Julia @ Girl vs. Food August 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    My choice to study abroad in Italy was the best risk I ever took! I remember being so nervous beforehand but it ultimately changed my life and my long-term goals. Travel has made me so much more confident and willing to try new things. I have caught the travel bug and I never plan on stopping!

    Reply

    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I wish I had taken the opportunity to study abroad while I did my undergrad – everyone I know who did it had such an amazing experience.

    Right now, the boyfriend and I are in the process of finding an apartment in a new city, because I’ll be starting grad school. Huge change and a bit of a risk – we’ll find out how well it plays out!

    Reply

    Meghan August 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Great post – I just quit my full time job in something that doesn’t feed my soul to go back to school for something I love and trust that I’ll find enough freelance and yoga teaching work to support myself along the way. Chances are scary but motivating :)

    Reply

    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Adore your study abroad story. What did you go to school for? I have been considering going abroad for school (dietetic student) because I have this inate drive to help others in different countries. We will see what happens :)

    I took a risk with a job promotion 2 years ago. Stay with my comfortable position with consistent money, or take the promotion with a notably higher risk but potential for much greater money. I work in sales, so not making figures with the promotion means losing my job. I took the promotion and could not be happier :)

    Reply

    allison @ thesundayflog August 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    eee i spy truro vineyards wine glasses! we love the vineyard – its 1 mile from our house on the cape. one year we’ll get there together haha! i think the biggest risk ive taken was my study abroad trips, as well – 6 weeks traveling all over greece, and 6 months living in south africa. i got on the plane at JFK knowing not one other person, halfway around the world with no plans for any family to visit. it turned out to be the absolute BEST semester of my life; my roommate over there is actually a bridesmaid in my wedding. i took so many risks and learned so much about myself in that short time. it is something i’ll always remember

    Reply

    Heather August 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    i totally agree that studying/traveling abroad changes you… i recommend it to everyone i know that has the opportunity! i would have loved to do a full semester, but i actually transfered into a college my sophomore year and felt like i didn’t have much time there as it was, so wanted to enjoy it. and actually that answers my question for a leap of faith i took – transferring colleges! i grew up in TX and went to a small school there freshman year, hated it, and took a leap of faith to go somewhere in new england…and i’m still here today! best decision i ever made!

    Reply

    Lorin August 8, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I’m actually studying abroad this fall in Torino, Italy! If you asked me that last year I probably would’ve said no because I am really close with my parents. However, now I’m not even living at home for the summer and have become more independent. I know I will be homesick at times, but I’m excited for all the adventures to come, though I’m not going to lie that I’m still a little scared.

    Reply

    Erinn August 8, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I’m glad I spent almost every penny I had to start school a month ago. I have never been happier.

    Reply

    Hanna August 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Attended an English language course in England (Eastbourne) for 5 weeks with my friend when I was 14 years old. And lived a year as an exchange student in the US when I was 17. I was super lucky because my American family was just awesome!

    Reply

    Katie August 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

    My greatest REGRET is not studying abroad in college!

    Reply

    Jenn @BeYOUatBeMe August 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

    One of the biggest risks I took was moving across the country at a young age to explore and attend school. Since then, I have moved around A LOT and seen many places and met many people. Love it!

    Reply

    Colette August 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! As a study abroad advisor at a university, I show up everyday and work to help students understand that studying abroad can be such an important, life changing experience. If your post helps convince just one student (or soon to be student) to go abroad, then you’ve done a great thing today. Thank you for articulating so well the impact studying abroad had on you!

    Reply

    Julia H. @ Going Gulia August 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Ah, I loved reading about your semester abroad. I just spent this past spring semester studying abroad in Barcelona, and took trips to Venice, Prague, Krakow, & Budapest. Such a great experience…it feels like it was so long ago, but it was just a few months ago!

    Reply

    Ashley August 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I can completely relate to your leap of faith experience, I spent one semester in London and then decided to spend the whole year abroad living in Paris for the second semester. Both experiences have changed my life completely and I could not be more grateful to have had those experiences and make memories that I could not have gotten anywhere else. After graduating from college next semester, I really want to take that leap of faith again and move outside of my comfort zone, possibly moving to the east coast or across the pond again. Thanks for sharing your story- I really loved living in England as well!

    Reply

    Megan August 24, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I really liked this post. I’ll have to think of some of mine and remember this adage the next time I’m debating taking a leap of faith. Also, I have two questions:

    #1: I use a foam roller, but only on my legs. How do you roll out your back? (ps – foam rolling and wine drinking seems like the best relaxation tactic ever!)

    #2: What brand of almond-coconut milk do you use?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    { 8 trackbacks }

    Previous post:

    Next post: