Expat Life

Finding the Courage to Get Lost in Adventures

There have been those who have called me brave for making this move overseas. And I suppose to some extent, it does require a good amount of confidence to leave behind the familiar and do something completely different than you’ve ever done before. So a strong sense of adventure, I will claim, but bravery? That’s pushing it a little. I came here with the safety net of having the people I love the most with me. The ones who strike out all on their own, now those are the brave ones.

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

You want to hear just how brave I am? Up until a month ago, I wouldn’t even travel outside my little Chiswick comfort zone if I were by myself. I was so afraid of taking the wrong tube, or getting so lost that I couldn’t even find the tube, that I refused to go anywhere that I couldn’t walk to unless I had someone else with me. And then I met Tina. Or I guess I should say, the situation arose where I needed to meet Tina. And I was going to have to get there on my own.

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

I had only taken the tube by myself once before, and it was likely that experience that traumatized me for so long about traveling through London on my own. That first time I ended up more lost than I’ve ever been before, walking around for over an hour in an area where there were very few people (and even fewer who spoke English), and without a mobile phone to make a distress call from. So it goes without saying that I must have been really excited to see Tina if I were willing to risk that experience happening again just so I could meet her.

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

And yet, this time I made it to my destination without incident. No wandering in and out of fabric stores and Indian restaurants hoping someone could get me where I needed to go, and no wishing I’d worn more sensible shoes due to the extreme amount of “lost walking” I was doing. I actually got somewhere all by myself. (Insert dramatic wipe of imaginary sweat off of forehead.) And it offered me the opportunity to meet one of the coolest girls I’ve ever met.

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

I felt an instant connection to Tina, but I have a feeling her warm personality makes everyone feel that way. We spent an afternoon exploring London, taking pictures, and chatting like we’d been friends for ten years. And like the Americans we are, we made a point to search out the closest Mexican food. (Gigantic stuffed burrito from Tortilla? Tell me you could turn that down.)

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

While we hung out, without her even realizing it, Tina taught me an important lesson. You see, Tina is almost as new to England as I am and she doesn’t even live in London, yet she was willing to make the journey up here to meet me. (And I’m betting she didn’t practically send herself into a panic attack over traveling the distance to get here either!) She’s lived all over the world and knows an adventure is well worth the risk. That’s something I’m beginning to realize as well, thanks to her. With the possibility of only three years here in England, I can’t afford to let an experience pass me by because I’m too afraid of getting lost, or just too afraid in general.

Finding The Courage To Get Lost In Adventures

Ever since that day with Tina, I’ve been hopping on tubes and buses and navigating the city like a pro with minimal incidents. I’d still rather get lost with someone else by my side than be lost alone, because everybody knows that’s way more fun, but that fear I spent the first few months living here with has all but disappeared. Sometimes it just takes meeting someone braver than yourself to help you find the courage to get lost in adventures.

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  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    November 22, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Lovely thoughts Sarah! I was driving with Brent last night to somewhere new and I happened to be driving which doesn’t happen very often. I took a few wrong turns and he was getting irritated with me. I turned to him and told him it wasn’t a big deal…I make at least two wrong turns EVERY time I am going somewhere new. I never really realized it, but it is true. Such a great thought of not letting getting lost keep you from experiencing new things. I am always grateful to get to my destination, it is worth the stress of finding it. I am now happy to blame it on my sense of adventure and not lack of driving skills! :)

  • Diana Bockus
    November 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Yea!!!! Go you! I would be just as nervous as well but it’s all about breaking the barrier!

  • Gina
    November 5, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    I was exactly the same as you. It took me all my courage to get on three different tube lines to go and meet Selena for lunch near High Street Kensington that first time we met. I was a basket case but I just knew I had to meet her. Like you and Tina, we hit it off right away and she made me feel “braver” by being so encouraging of my expat experience. I found out that when she first moved to the UK she was petrified of the tube and shared a lot of my same fears. I saw how she now was navigating her way around London like a pro and it gave me the boost I needed to have the confidence to push myself to go everywhere. Bit by bit I have become more and more accustom to it all and I even took the DLR train yesterday. I am loving reading your blog and watching you evolve in a lot of the same ways I did. It is an incredible adventure we are on and having new amazing {and brave} friends makes it all the more wonderful. I am so happy that you and Tina met. There are such great rewards that happen when you push yourself to be braver than you think you are able to be. So happy for you ~ since I know exactly how it feels.

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      I love this comment so much. Thank you for sharing your story, too. It makes me feel better to know that not every expat comes over here confident about all aspects of living in a new country. I think most of us are excited to be here, but the actual logistics of living somewhere new can be a bit of a downer sometimes, especially if it’s something that scares you. Knowing that other people were once in the same boat, but eventually got used to it is such a relief. That’s what I like about blogging – sharing all of these experiences will remind those who’ve been here longer what it was like in the beginning, and those that are newer have someone to tell them that, yes – they WILL be okay. ;o)

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    November 5, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    You do have to be brave to be an expat (and let’s be honest a little crazy) but congrats for stepping outside your comfort zone – and into London!
    (Ps. I’m super glad you did!!)

    • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
      November 5, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      Ahem, after over 7 years in London I still call Mr Kiwi for directions when I get (blimmin lack of UK street signposts…)

  • Anna
    November 5, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    It’s so easy for people who are used to something to be able to say it’s easy but I can just imagine how you felt when something is out of your comfort zone. I might be a whiz on London’s tubes but I would freak out so much if I got lost on the Paris Metro and I do freak out if I’m anywhere unknown alone… and don’t get me started on driving. Good on you and good on Tina. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the tea!!

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      After spending a few days in Paris, I can say with confidence that I’d much rather be lost on the tubes in London than the Paris Metro! That one was twice as confusing! {Although I’m sure the longer you’re there, the more it makes sense!}

      I can’t wait to meet up with all you fabulous girls either!

  • Must for Wanderlust
    November 5, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    I love these photographs :) Tina sounds amazing! I used to be absolutely terrified of travelling or getting lost anywhere solo, but then I met Paris & had to except the fact that I would be lost everyday without choice. It took me about 6 months, but I wasn’t lost a day after that! Totally worth it. x

  • Sara Louise
    November 5, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    How wonderful! You should be proud of yourself for getting out there and exploring your new surroundings, it’s not easy, I know. It took me ages before I felt comfortable driving around France by myself. It’s all about baby steps :) x

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      Driving. That’s a word that nearly gives me heart palpitations when I think about doing it here. I would never put the good people of Britain’s lives in danger like that. Ireland drives on the left and France on the right, correct? That would be a weird transition…

      • Sara Louise
        November 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Correct – so I went from drivng on the right, to the left, back to right again. It’s taken ages, but I’m finally comforable doing both

  • Nicole
    November 4, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    First of all, you and your mexican food!! I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a map on a wall in your house with all of the local mexican places posted on there with push pins or something :) I know it’s probably scary, but I could think of a lot worse places to be lost than London! But I’d still probably have an anxiety attack if I got lost in a place where almost no one spoke English. You ARE brave my friend!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    November 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    This is a great post. I can totally relate to the fear of getting lost in London. My first few weeks here were crazy. Let’s just say Google Maps and I are very well acquainted ;)

  • Connie Weiss
    November 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I’m so proud of you!!

    I felt the same way navigating San Francisco with the kids. I was a pro by the end of the week!

  • Jo
    November 4, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Very cool! Glad to hear that you are now getting out and about on your own! Can’t wait to hear all about your new adventures

  • Mrs. Match
    November 4, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Great job finding that courage to get out an explore. I would be pretty intimidated as well. And how awesome to meet such a cool chica to go exploring with!

  • Keith Wynn
    November 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – your blog inspires me in so many ways. Maybe one day I’ll move overseas like I dream of doing :)

  • Stacie Stamper
    November 4, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I don’t think that I have ever used public transportation! So glad you have the hang of it now.

  • Katrin
    November 4, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I think you are very brave. :) Great that you got to meet her! The picture of you guys is so fantastic!

  • Ashlee - I'll Love You Forever
    November 4, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Love this post! Beautiful pictures, you both are gorgeous! I am so glad you that met Tina and had an enjoyable day together. I would be so nervous doing all of that on my own, way to keep up the adventure spirit! :)

  • Emmymom
    November 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Yea!! Glad you were able to brave it. I think I would be afraid to ride the tube by myself too, unless I had very precise exact directions written down about what I was supposed to do.

  • Mandy Southgate
    November 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Fantastic post. In a way, moving to London has made me confront my biggest fears and I’ve done things I would never have dreamed of doing before. Getting in front of a video camera was probably my biggest achievement in that respect.

    I do hope you feel ever more comfortable. You’re right, the chances are that we’ll all land up ‘home’ eventually and I certainly don’t want to miss a thing.

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      Oh, man! That would be a big one for me, too! My major in college was Broadcasting, but I stuck to the radio side of things. My level of confidence increases significantly if there isn’t a camera in my face! That is a BIG deal, Mandy! You should be super proud of yourself for that. Is this something you do for your job here?

      • Mandy Southgate
        November 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Oh no! It was a one of thing to tell people why they should come to London for the Olympics and to show them a bit about ‘My London’. I took them around Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market. It was scary!

        I work in accounts and will be able to call myself an accountant in less than 6 weeks!

  • Miwa
    November 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Thanks for sharing this, Sarah! I would never have guessed that you get lost when you’re out on your own. It really does take a lot of courage to wander around by yourself in a new city or country. I don’t know what I’d do without Google maps and my iPhone!

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      Oh, somehow I manage to get lost just about everywhere. Even in places I’m pretty familiar with. It’s one of my weird quirks, I suppose. :o) I do feel MUCH better now that I’ve got a phone and can use my Citymapper app and Google maps. It makes me feel much better having a backup plan if I do find myself lost again!

  • Diana Hoyos
    November 4, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Lovely pics and love the filter that u used on them.

  • Erika
    November 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I really enjoyed this! :) It’s stuff like this that can be the most daunting about traveling, but I find that if we have something we really want that’s out of our comfort zone, we’ll get brave enough to go get it… eventually. :)

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    November 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    If you only knew how I was having my own little panic attack at taking a train into London all by myself!! I knew I had to meet you too. So glad we made it happen and you’re feeling more and more comfortable getting out and about. I have to admit though, I’m already hyperventilating a little bit at going into London on Saturday for the blogger tea. ;) I have to go home by myself in the dark!! Ack! But I’m not going to let an awesome opportunity pass me by! Can’t wait to see you again so soon!

  • Alex Fahey
    November 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    I’m so glad you guys got to have a little date! I remember the first time I took the tube by myself. It was a little nerve wracking but so exciting at the same time.

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    November 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I was like this as well when I first came to England, such a good point though, I think it does take a lot of courage to go out on your own in new places. It’s then that you find the best things though :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 8:21 AM

      I’ve always liked doing things on my own, so I think it came as a bit of a shock to me that I didn’t feel comfortable doing something as simple as taking public transport by myself. I am so glad I’m past that now, because you’re right – you do find the best things when you’re brave enough to explore on your own!

  • Tammy Chrzan
    November 4, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    I’m so glad that Tina had this wonderful effect on you, because London is wayyyyy too magical to not get out and explore! I found that after a couple of trips on the tubes it was pretty easy to navigate, but still…. I’d keep a cell phone with me at all times! I can’t wait to meet you myself!! Mucho love, Tammy xx

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 5, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      Now that I’ve got my mobile phone, I’m fine because I can use my Citymapper app or Google maps and get myself to my destination with minimal pain. And if worse comes to worse, I can call Cory and tell him to come find me! ;o) Before I had a phone though, it was pretty scary!

      • Tammy Chrzan
        November 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        PS I love the sepia look of Big Ben, you’re a wonderful photographer!
        Tammy x

  • Stephanie
    November 4, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    I love this! Courage is such a good word for you right now while you relish and enjoy all your adventures!