What you lose by traveling – A few rambles from an expat

I earned my first passport stamps back in 2005 when I left the sunny beaches of California to backpack through Central America. Since then, I’ve stamped nearly every page in my passport and now find myself living in Europe, counting my blessings daily and losing and acquiring like never before. tumblr_mxr0vaR5Sx1qcc5z9o1_1280

One can’t possibly forecast all that will be gained and lost when shells of your comfort zone are left behind as you thrust yourself into the unknown of a different country. But, here are some things I’ve found that are lost every time I pass the security check of an airport and land in a new setting.

1. You. As you know you.

Every time you fly out of your home country and into the unknown you reboot yourself and reset the basis from which your actions flow from. In this new form of you, you grow pieces of a human that become softer to the world, more compassionate, more aware and richer in depth and character. Say goodbye to the old you and hello to a more beautiful, aware creature. 


2. Your awareness of daily routine. 

Nothing rattles you from your routine like seeing another take on how people spend their 24-hour days. If you’re a creature of habit, you’ll lose the formula that once built your decision making code. Those quick take away coffees from your coffee chain soon become a sit-down-and-enjoy-your-moment-and-life coffees. You’ll no longer rush your dinner with friends, instead you’ll see the importance of a meal lasting 3 hours. Your sense of cultural routines suddenly becomes a mixture of worldly actions. 


3. The invisible fences that you live within.
You suddenly become hyper aware that the world is HUGE and you reflect on that coffee farmer you met in El Salvador or the nun you cooked dinner with in the Himalayan mountains. The world is more than the distance between your shopping mall, the post office and your best friend’s house. It’s huge and you want to explore it. Crash go those fences. 

4. Ideals, ideas and ID.
Any ideas you have of humans before you travel are lost the moment you see the way another culture lives. And, that’s a good thing. Whether your findings are good or bad, it’s an incredible gift to know there are a lot more beautiful things about the human race and a lot more commonalities between us all. 


5. Ego. Or, at least some of it. 

I read an awful lot of travel related stuff, expat stuff and I’m always surprised by the almighty stance some adopt once they’ve hit soils of another country. How can the ego of “If you don’t travel, you’re not as ____ as I am” exist when someone has truly tasted a sampling of how big the beautiful planet is.
I won’t focus there. I’ll focus on what I know to be true. Ego – or at least large slices of it – are lost forever once you begin the trek across borders. When you start seeing firsthand the struggles that others face day to day, yours become beautifully downsized in importance, thus by nature making you much smaller on the importance scale. The pedestal that is so easy to climb on board of and look down on others from suddenly starts collecting dust as you gather stories and experiences about people you’ve met along the way whose lives, while not smattered across social networks with 80 likes or glorified by their connections/who they know/what kind of awesome job they have, etc. You truly are humbled by how beautiful people are and you realize that what makes them beauty is WHO they are. Not WHAT they are. That’s worth all of those air miles and all that jet lag. Say goodbye to your ego and say hello to welcoming the greatness of everyone else while simply loving the you who acknowledges everyone else’s beauty.  


6. Judgements. 

When you live in another country as an American, you’re often the butt of a lot of jokes. While we certainly think we’re the best (go Team America!) and we know more than anyone else (Errrrrybody is a terrorist! ‘mericans are number 1!), the rest of the world definitely has their own opinion. And, when you can start pinpointing the Americans out of 100 tourists (tip: the loudest, drunkest, most obnoxious ones are generally US of A stars), then you start losing the joy of placing judgements on others. This ties in with losing your ego.
And, damn, doesn’t it feel great to not size up another individual and take note of all the things that aren’t up to your standards? People are just absolutely beautiful, even in their difficult-to-love qualities. Just pure beauty. 


7. Tunnel Vision.
Home. Work. After-work stuff. Home. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
If tunnel vision is driving your life, step out of your country. I can honestly say that one thing that’ll help you as an entrepreneur, lover, friend, child, sibling, leader is to see how people all over the world do things differently. When you wake up and make your coffee like the Turkish, eat lunch at the time the Spaniards do (and always with a bottle of wine) and end the day on a chair outside your front door like the Nicaraguans, you realize you’ve become a citizen of the world and this effects the way you tackle your career, the way you relate to your lover, the things you want to teach your child. Long gone are the days you were focused on that American dream and what replaces it is an energetic zest for experience. 

I wish for everyone some stamps in your passport. Some uncomfortable nights in an uncomfortable bed in some uncomfortable city where you aren’t recognized for anything other than how you treat that exact person in that exact moment.


Posted in alethia austin, music blog, skydiving | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Synthly Awesome: Jasia / Inverbatim

So, it’s spring in Amsterdam and that means EVERYTHING IS AMAZING! Because when 10646699_353420544818072_4046789265927652851_nthe sunshine hits this city, suddenly the Dutch crawl out of their typically walled-up phase and start smiling and dancing around the streets in total joy and everything is immediately awesome in this little village.
I just stumbled on Jasia today and this song is accompanying the breeze blowing off the canal, through the tree beside my window and into my office. So, overall, today is winning. Even for a Monday.
Jasia is classically trained in vocals, violins and guitars, which sounds damn sexy. Couple that with him being born in Jamaica, raised in the US and now living in Australia and we get a young artist who has not just an interesting story but also a rad sound. Nice one, Jasia!
Jasia is here.

Posted in music blog | 1 Comment

New on the radar: Emilie Nicolas / Pstereo

So, maybe she put this track out a year ago, but some things just don’t lose their sparkle 1897932_541265312656227_1627559304_nover a year. Emilie Nicolas is yet another thing coming out of Norway that rules. Listen to her voice – there is nothing wrong with this song. I’m gobbling up everything of hers that I can find online and so far, I’m in love. She sounds so right now and her vocals are fierce, no hint of effort. Nice work, Emilie. Keep putting out the goods, we’re listening.

Posted in music blog | Leave a comment

Indie Submission: Nolan Kennedy / Devil Creeps

From the indie submission bucket, I present Nolan Kennedy. NYC inhabitant, Nolan is a solid singer songwriter worth a listen. I clicked on this video in Nolan’s super great email (I tell you, there’s an art to writing a cold email pitch to music supervisors/bloggers…he nailed it) and was happily surprised by his music. The guy has a knack for songwriting and singing, that’s clear.
I scrolled through his Spotify music and I like what I heard. Nice work, Nolan Kennedy. I wish you luck!
Peep this video, friends.

Posted in music blog | 1 Comment

SXSW Artist: Jack Garratt / The Love You’re Given

I’m trying to get through the lists of artists attending SXSW and I’m pretty sure it’s near to1452302_10152899693504631_5526026073946725233_n impossible. Help a sister out!
Alright, so digging through this morning, I found out that Jack Garrett will be out of London and playing in Austin for the conference. I’ll find myself there, for sure. Because I’m digging him and I suspect there’ll be some good head-nodding-while-drinking situation happening here. He’s on Facebook.

Posted in music blog | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Killing it! AWOLNATION / Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)

Of course you know AWOLNATION. Errrrybody does after Sail became such a beast of a 10945599_10152811029108692_3834805391851462128_nradio song. At any rate, I was sort of turned off by hearing more because, you know, once something becomes too available and too overplayed it turns me off. But, I pressed play on this sucker and it’s a jam for sure. For sure. I dig it. I can hardly wait for the radio to kill it to death by overplaying it (RIP song).


Posted in music blog | 1 Comment

Eurosonic #ESNS15 Artist to Watch: Aurora / Awakening

If you’re heading to Eurosonic this week and you’re wondering where SheBlogs will be, I’ll 10868298_951051948255891_6439671371539165820_nbe front row swooning at Aurora’s show, no doubt. After you hear this song, you’ll understand. She’s 18, she’s Norwegian and she’s currently strumming up some serious hype. I’m sure she’s going to kill it at Eurosonic. Check her out on Facebook here. 


Posted in #ESNS15, alethia austin, amsterdam music, best european music, eurosonic noorderslaag, music blogs dutch, norwegian music, sizzer amsterdam | Tagged , | Leave a comment