Last night I visited my favorite restaurant in London Burger & Lobster for the last time with a very good friend. On the tube ride home it sparked an inner monologue that made me both terribly sad and embarrassingly happy at the same time. As most of you know, I’m leaving my home of 5 years to move to Okinawa, Japan in a week. In all honesty, I’ve been struggling with the thought of leaving the familiar embrace of Europe. I know there are brighter + bluer skies, tangerine hand-painted sunsets, and all the things tropical paradise dreams are made of just waiting for me in Japan. That doesn’t make things much easier. Leaving here feels like I’m leaving a part of myself behind.
Doing things for the last time is the most bittersweet part of the whole process. Things as simple as the last time I will eat a kangaroo burger from Red Lodge Steakhouse, or getting a burger & lobster from Burger & Lobster (I REALLY, REALLY love that place so go eat there, okay?!) make me so sad to leave. I’ve gone to more pop punk shows than I can count and I have made so many incredible memories with my truest friends. I’m really going to miss the ability to hop on a flight to Norway for $20 on a whim or the ability to spend a weekend in France, Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, or Wales. It’s so easy and inexpensive to travel here. I’ve been able to see 24 countries on a measly Air Force paycheck, which is a massive accomplishment for me. Heading home from Morocco hit me (and my stomach) like a ton of bricks- it was my last adventure before I left Europe.
I have made so many incredible friends, many of which have moved away already but the memories live on in the places and things around here. I have learned so much about myself and this has shaped me into the person that I am today. Leaving England feels like I’m leaving part of myself behind for that reason. I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life here. I moved here as a naive 18 year old and will leave as a far wiser 23 year old… well, as wise as a 23 year old can possibly be. I’ve learned how to be independent and self sufficient. I’ve learned how to be happy alone. I’ve learned how to love and understand. I’ve learned how to overcome differences and be happy regardless of the situation I find myself in. I’ve learned far more in the past 5 years than I learned my whole life. The company I have kept have molded me into a person I think is worth knowing. I am so thankful to have known them, no matter how short of a time they were in my life.
It’s not all sad! There are so many things that make me super happy too. I’m so excited to meet my amazing husband after 4 months of being apart, who moved there back in June. I am looking forward to being reunited with my best friends. There will be so much more to do in the general vicinity of Okinawa, as well as exploration of Asia than there ever was in Suffolk, England. There will be more than enough good food, great friends, and adventures in store. In addition, I will be adding Asia to the list of possible Secret Getaways, so expanding my business will be a wonderful outcome. I can’t wait to meet new people who will shape me, push me, and inspire me. I can’t wait to do the same to them. I am looking forward to being able to wake up and surf or dive before work and enjoy Japanese culture. Knowing that I can still be connected with my friends via the internet is a massive plus, the best ones never really seem to be disconnected for too long. I am ready to move on to greener pastures and grow as a person.
I guess you could say leaving here feels like I’m leaving part of myself behind but only because it’s meant to be replaced by bigger and better things in Japan.