For the most part I have adapted quite well to my new life abroad, though from time to time I have moments where everything feels super surreal. Having done what I did—selling all my things and moving to another country without knowing anyone or the language—is crazy, sure—but it was my crazy dream and I did it! 

Almost a year ago exactly I was frenetically scribbling in my journal about how badly I wanted to move to Europe and travel the world. I didn't have any idea of where to start. I got discouraged before I even got started. I got started and then I hit a lot of dead ends and brick walls. The only thing that kept me going was the fire burning inside of me. 

Though I am not afraid to pat myself on the back for the courage and tenacity It took for me to take this gigantic leap--I am not so naive to think that I couldn't have done this without my incredible support system (well maybe I could have but it probably would have taken me a lot more years of planning and by then I’d probably have another dream entirely.) The truth is that I followed my dreams because of the love of one amazing woman, my mom. 

My mom recently spent an obscene amount of money shipping me a birthday package from the U.S. to Germany. Included in the package were some pajamas, a framed picture of her, my sister, and I, and two checks--one to cover the cost of my visa, and one to treat myself to something nice. It's not that she wants me to stay--in fact, it's the quite opposite. She just truly wants me to be happy. Did I mention how much I love this woman?

I hope that I can one day inspire someone to pursue their dreams just by loving them--or maybe I already have and I don't know it yet? 

When a Fire Starts to Burn, Disclosure

Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media

Images by Michele Finotto, Flickr

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