In October of last year - seven months into the pandemic and five months after I was laid off from my job - my partner, 1/2 of our puppy pack (our doodle puppy went to camp) and I took a socially-distanced road trip from Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
We needed to get out of Texas. After months of self-imposed quarantine, we drove 12 hours to the 'Land of Enchantment'. I still had to work throughout the entire trip. At the time I was on a contract with Facebook. It was hard work, but I learned new software and got to meet a great group of folks. It was also flexible so I could work from anywhere ('anywhere' that a pandemic allows you to be anyway). It was intense, though, and I was still putting in long days - even on the road.
We spent most of our time in a modest La Quinta suite, occasionally looking out of our window to see mountains on one side and THE MALL on the other. No...it wasn't the resort vacation of my dreams, but it was something different than the four walls of our tiny home in Houston.
So I was on the road … working for Facebook, working on DESIGNxHUMANITY, and in true 'Nyla' fashion, I also had an interview scheduled for a permanent position.
A few weeks before the road trip, I opened a LinkedIn message about an international opportunity from a connection I made the year before.
I have always been curious about working internationally. At this point in my career, I figured I'd have to find a magical, unicorn job that would allow me to travel occasionally. I wasn't sure how to go about successfully finding a job overseas, but I sent it out into the universe that I would like to do it eventually.
Well, as usual, the universe listened.
After a hotel room interview at 7 am, and a few more interviews with the team...I was offered and accepted a role that required me to move across the world in the middle of a pandemic.
So much has happened to ALL OF US in the last year. This isn't a post about all I've accomplished in the last 365 days. It isn't a post about resilience or about grit or about succeeding in the face of adversity.
This post is about the reality of trying to keep things going when the world around you starts to fall apart.
My last post was about dealing with the grief of losing my best friend to a drunk driver in July of 2021. Amy was an essential worker, on her way to work in a pandemic, when she was killed. So many of us have been affected by loss this year, and dealing with grief on top of everything else continues to be difficult. I responded to everything by kicking into overdrive. I became something I never imagined I would be - a workaholic. I don't recommend it, but it hasn't all been bad. I see what happens when you focus intensely for as little as 6 months. Your life can and will change - whether you're ready for it or not.
With all that has happened, I was elated to have the opportunity to start over. So I said yes to leaving everything I know and moving to a country- sight unseen.
On Tuesday March 9th, I arrived in The Netherlands - my new home. (AHH!) I am one of Inter IKEA Systems' new Culture and Learning Designers. I'm excited to share this journey with you all as much as I can. I'll be updating my social media and YouTube channels with my expat journey in The Netherlands, too.
So far, it hasn't been easy. It's hard to say goodbye, to leave the comfort of home behind (even if I was ready for a change). It's scary and uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. It's also exciting, and hopeful, and new.
At times I have fallen apart completely, and there have been times when I look at myself in amazement like "Damn, you're really doing this girl."
As I onboard at my new job, acclimate to a new country, culture, and way of life...I know that life keeps marching on no matter what. I find comfort in that now. Knowing that I can jump in and out of the rat race at any time.
If you have questions about the process of moving abroad or working internationally, keep an eye out for part 2 of this post where I'll go into the details of packing up my life, the visa process, and moving overseas during a pandemic.
Hi! My name is Nyla. I am learning experience designer, nonprofit co-founder and peer mentor. I have a podcast, I create digital planning and tracking tools for new instructional designers, and work out loud as I grow in my learning and development career.