I had the chance to meet up with a few travelers who have a few contracts already under their belt when I first moved to Eugene. One of the first questions I asked them was “Does it get easier?”
Does moving away from family get easier? Does it get easier to say goodbye to the comfort of having friends down the street? Is it hard to have to start over every three months? Over time, is it easier to find friends and groups to be involved with? Do you ever get to a point when you aren’t consistently feeling lonely?
No. But sometimes, yes.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to family. Thankfully, technology makes saying goodbye a little easier. FaceTime, Skype, and all of those apps that help us keep in touch, make things a little easier. Between contracts, take that time to get home and see family. But it doesn’t truly get easier when you make that next move.
It gets different, they said. Not necessarily easier. You learn how to adapt quicker. You find different ways to make friends. You get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. You embrace the fact that you’re getting a chance to experience something that others don’t get to experience. You take in the moments and just take it all day by day.
A hard thing for me is the time difference. When I wake up, most of my friends are a quarter through their work days. I have multiple texts from my group chats that started 3 hours prior when they all woke up (thank you, do not disturb, for allowing me to sleep through these texts). At night, when I’m typically feeling the most vulnerable and alone, all of my friends and family are asleep. I’m getting out of work as their eating dinner or settling down for the night. I’m eating dinner as they’re in bed. It makes the time that I do get to talk to people more special, but it also makes it harder to coordinate times to communicate.
Another thing that I’m struggling with is seeing my friends doing things and feeling serious FOMO. Because I’m alone. Across the country. And am still trying to find my place in this new city. I know in the end this experience will be worth it, but it’s hard. What helped me through my first week is a few great friends who have taken the time to FaceTime with me, cheer me up with texts or phone calls, and provide me with amazing words of support and encouragement, helping to remind me why I’m doing this. So thank you to those friends who have taken the time to reach out and check on how I’m adjusting, I appreciate you all more than you could ever know.
So. As I’m adjusting to this life, as I’m learning how to get by and push past those feelings, as I’m building my character and stepping out of my comfort zone, as I’m learning patience and learning more about myself than I’ve ever known – it may not get easier, but I know I’ll always have people back home supporting me and waiting for me when I (if I? haha) come back.