It´s Tuesday! Which means I´ve got another interview lined up for you today with someone who is embracing life outside of their home country. While anyone who´s moved abroad has experienced homesickness at some point in their journey, many of the global citizens that I´ve featured in this Tuesday interview series have the luxury of being able to go visit the place they once called home when homesickness gets particularly intense. But what about those who´ve left their country because it was no longer a safe place to live? For whom going home isn´t an option because ¨home¨ no longer exists? I´m excited to introduce to you Alessandro, who left his home in Venezuela at the age of 20 and has been living abroad ever since. Read on to hear his story and learn why this psychologist thinks that mindfulness abroad is so important.
Hi Alessandro, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Venezuela and lived my first twenty years in that beautiful country, sadly today circumstances are not favorable to travel back and visit friends and enjoy the myriads of beautiful places that the country has to offer.
I left the country when I was twenty years old and moved to Miami, Florida, USA. I spent 5 years there in which I learned English (well sort of, Miamian English probably) trained in Karate and majored in Psychology.
Soon after I graduated, I met a wonderful woman, who is now my wife and mother of my two sons. When I met her, I said to myself I had to move again if I wanted to try to see if the relationship could work. Now that I look back, I’m happy to have made the right choice!
My family and I are now living in Madrid, a city which we both fell in love with and decided to invest a big part of our lives. I work as a clinical psychologist, and besides being passionate about my work I love the outdoors, mountain trails especially.
What motivated you to move abroad?
I moved two times, the first time was out of fear and the second was for love.
Where all have you lived abroad? What place was your favorite and why?
Every place had its magic and its ups and downs, so I guess my favorite place is where I find myself at that moment. Right now, it´s Madrid.
What’s the most difficult part about living abroad? What’s the best part?
This question is more relevant for first time movers. For me, since it was such a long time ago, I remember the sense of longing. Missing a place where you “think” you feel safe. After awhile either you outgrow the eeriness of being a fish out of water and start caring less about what others might say about the way you are talking, and what they might say about you, or you move back where you came from. I met many friends who couldn´t adapt to the new country and returned.
The best part about living abroad is how enriching the experience is, and how many opportunities it gives to grow and mature as a human being.
What have you learned from living abroad?
I think the most important lessons are about adaptation and letting go.
What is your secret to keeping a positive attitude while living abroad?
To live the here and now, letting go of the past that represents where you came from, and letting go of future, the worries about how well you are going to do in your new home.
What´s the best place you´ve ever traveled to?
The Ecuadorian rainforest and Tibet.
Do you have a bucket list? Would you share with us a couple of things on that list?
Learn to listen to yourself
Then learn to listen to others
So the universe may listen to you.
Can you share one experience abroad that´s been truly ¨blogworthy?¨¨
One is about a trip in the rainforest of Ecuador. I spent three weeks living with an indigenous tribe called Shuar. It was mind blowing! Deep inside the rainforest with no electricity, sharing and learning a lifestyle completely different from my own made my consciousness expand to contemplate new horizons about our planet and the people living in it. There´s so much to share about the experience, but I guess the most important lesson was to have learned how to appreciate life. Humbleness and gratitude filled my whole being and that inspired me to give back to society what I have received. Sometimes I dream of going back and experiencing that place once again with my family.
Do you watch TED Talks? What´s your favorite one?
Yes I watched many TED Talks. Right now I cannot think of one, maybe one of a scientist talking about parasites controlling their hosts, it was spooky! Zombie roaches and other parasite tales.
What advice do you have for people who are considering moving abroad, but are feeling doubtful?
There is no advice because every person that is considering moving abroad has already connected with the energy and the intention to seek new opportunities. No advice, just wishes of love, peace and happiness on their path.
Thank you again Alessandro for sharing your story and wisdom with us! If you´d like to learn more about his organization, Bonkora, dedicated to helping individuals achieve their full potential via Mindfulness-based Hypnosis, visit his website.
Do you have a story to share? If you´d like to be featured in a future Tuesday interview, don´t hesitate to get in touch with me!