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Dare to Move

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

–Chinese Proverb

Some called us crazy, some called us romantic, some called us trailblazers and others just tilted their heads with some questions and confusion.

The move from Houston Texas to Cascais Portugal took place on January 1st, 2021.

My husband retired in February 2020, I was working from home and all the children are grown and thriving on their own.

So, the question of why would we move, became a bigger question of why not?

In all of the research we had done on Portugal it was about quality of life, culture, cost of living, climate, and community. Every vision board that we had ever created together had an element of healthy living and a home on or near a body of water.  Everything was pointing in the right direction.

But why leave? Why step away from the comforts of our city and surroundings? Why leave everything we knew to be familiar? Why would we even consider moving to another country where the unknowns are beyond our comprehension and the miles would separate us from those we love the most?

The country was in a political upheaval, and we were living in the midst of a pandemic, we had to ask the hard question: Are we running away from something or to something? We both were solid in our answer.

A journal entry I found from years earlier:

“Know your comfort zone and then step outside of it…

Your comfort zone feeds your confidence, and the steps outside of it will fuel your courage and expand the view of your own possibility.  You will find a part of yourself when you become comfortable being uncomfortable.

The art is dancing in-between the two worlds. It is important to know that both will serve you if taken in instinct and truth.”

In my own words, our journey could be considered predictable by some measure.

So here we are, charting new territory by design and by default. When was the last time you went for a walk and got lost? Or could not recognize any name brand or any name in a grocery store? Or struggled learning how to dial a number on your phone that now has international access? Some days we feel like we are in kindergarten. And on most days, we have to pinch ourselves that we are living in a new country. Somehow, we stepped away from predictability and found the courage to say YES. A profound YES to a new way of living that feeds our curiosity and sense of adventure and nurtures the foundation of who we are as a couple.

We walk along the coastline in the morning and afternoon and trip over each other when I miss the right crosswalk.  We take trips to the Farmers Market two times a week, exploring new foods, and laugh at ourselves when we practice Portuguese with a Texas accent. Every day we navigate our way thru an unfamiliar town with beautiful anticipation of what is behind every next corner. And we have never been happier.

Not sure if we will be here 2 years or 20 years and it simply does not matter today.

What we know for sure:

We are going home to visit friends and family.

Friends and family will come and visit us.

We are taking each moment and each day as a gift.

We feel more connected, more engaged, and more alive than ever.

Are you willing to Dare to Move – in your own way?

Carolyn Lebanowski
She began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with particular expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. Carolyn is currently the Chief Operating Officer for First Unity Spiritual Campus and The Institute for Leadership and Lifelong International. These roles provide her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, her community, and herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic experience, drawn from real life, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Personally, I have nothing against living in countries other than mine. It has happened to me several times in the course of my life and each time it has been a great opportunity to grow, know, learn.
    Moving abroad can radically change a person’s way of thinking and make them see the world with different eyes.
    Certainly you can encounter difficulties for the language, the change of culture and mentality, difficulties in managing relationships with people who remain at home, loneliness, stress and costs to go home, costs in general, bureaucracy and organization, nostalgia for food , etc.
    But the advantages are many: it is possible learn a language well, you can find work or study opportunities, become more self-confident, independence and organization, constant learning, you open your mind and broaden your horizons. One even learn to appreciate your country of origin, and one can know many friends around the world.

  2. Congratulations and best of luck to you and your husband, Carolyn.
    Discovering something new together, making mistakes together, dusting yourself and each other off afterwards, thereby allowing yourself to be vulnerable together. At this stage in life where our normal roles as parents and providers change, a reset of the internal expectations may require lots of pokes from the external unexpected.

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