In early October 2013, I received the email that every college senior hopes for. It was an offer letter from my first choice company. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. The offer opened a whole new world. It wasn’t just an offer, it was an offer for an international mobile position. I was asked to expatriate in West Africa. Two roads stood before me: the well-worn safe route of taking a job in the US or the uncharted territory of being an expat. Sorry I could not travel both,
Two weeks. Two weeks to give them a decision. Two short weeks to choose. Two weeks to decide if I wanted to move to a country I had never heard of. Two weeks to research Equatorial Guinea. Two weeks to decide if wanted to work on an oil rig. Two weeks to decide if I was leaving my family, my friends and moving six thousand miles across the Atlantic. And be one traveler, long I stood.
This wasn’t my first experience making a life changing move. I had already made one when I choose to attend college in Florida; five hundred miles away from my hometown in Tennessee. This was taking leaving home to a whole new level. My parents’ home would no longer be an eight-hour drive or three-hour flight. It would become a 24-hour voyage across three continents.
And looked down one as far as I could. Was I willing to make the sacrifices? Was the opportunity enough to justify the move? Was I willing to live and work in Africa? A good friend asked me a question. In ten years, do you think you are going to regret not taking the job and making the move?
And having perhaps the better claim. It was a resounding yes. I was a fresh college graduate in the perfect position. Because it was grassy and wanted wear; No husband or kids to worry about, no house to sell, no apartment lease to break, and no furniture to deal with. It is never going to be easier.
At the end of those two weeks, I accepted the offer. Oh, I kept the first for another day! I knew that if Africa didn’t work out. I could easily come back to the States and take a different road.
I have spent the last six months working in Africa and attend training in Europe and Asia. It has become clear that I selected the right road. Yet knowing how way leads on to way. Some of my friends ask me when I am coming back. To those who are close, it means to visit. To those who aren’t, it means permanently. I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh. So here I am sitting on an oil rig, just north of the equator and 12 miles (20 km) from mainland Africa writing the first post of my travel blog. I hope to share with you my past, present, and future travels and adventures. I took the one less traveled by. When I took the road away from Tennessee, I never imagined that it would lead to Africa. Yet here I am with no regrets and an amazing adventure has just begun.
And that has made all the difference.