For months, we were building up to this very moment. The moment we needed to confirm our plane tickets moving back to the USA.
Nothing could prepare us for how we’d feel when our departure from Austria became official. When our 2.5-year adventure of living in Salzburg and traveling Europe would come to an end.
I kept a journal specifically for this moment. So I wouldn’t forget how it felt and how we worked through this extreme emotional rollercoaster.
From hesitant, unconfident and sad to practical, reminiscent, thankful and excited. In just a few hours.
It all happened so quickly. And this is how we came out smiling.
Confirming Plane Tickets for Moving Back: A World of Emotions
When we decided to move to Austria, we planned to live abroad for 2 years, so we knew this day would eventually come. The day we would say goodbye to our new home. When we would need to look towards the next chapter of our lives and leave this one behind.
Earlier in our 2nd year, we even decided on a time frame for moving back, then a specific month. But knowing in no way prepares you for that final plane ticket purchase.
And as that timeframe started getting closer and closer, we knew we had to follow through, pick our date and confirm our flight back. That’s when it became most difficult. We started checking flights and simple searching became really emotional.
Were we actually leaving Austria? We just started to become really comfortable here. This was now our home. Would this adventure of ours really be coming to an end?
At one point we even knew the exact date and that we needed to book as soon as possible, but we kept putting it off. Until we pulled ourselves together and did it.
It was time.
At first, it was honestly hard for Erin to even purchase the tickets at all. He wanted me to book our flight and tell him only after I did. That’s how emotional it was.
But after a little pep talk, we both decided that we would click confirm together, hand in hand. After all, that’s how this journey began in the first place when we initially bought our plane tickets to Austria. It would only be appropriate for us to do the same for our flight back.
So I pulled up our flight information and for a while, we both just stared at the screen.
Were we really going to do this? Was moving back the right decision?
The self-doubt and confusion are unavoidable in this kind of situation. We weren’t leaving because we HAD to; we were leaving because we were choosing to. It’s impossible not to question yourself.
We are happy here in Austria and have built an incredible life. We walk outside our window every single day, breathe in the fresh Austrian air, look at the mountains and smile.
Were those smiles going to fade?
This country has become our home. Our 2 ½ years here has been the foundation of our marriage. Despite all the hard times, every single experience has been worth having. Every second worth living. Instead of wishing time away, we’ve been embracing it.
Looking at our flights on the screen was a realization that the life we’ve grown to love will now be a thing of the past. Even though it will continue to affect our future, it will still be in the past.
There is so much in Salzburg that makes us want to stay. But also so much back in the US that is waiting for us too. A life we’ve anticipated and looked forward to for entirely different reasons.
And we knew, deep down, that we had to do this. It was the right next step.
So, we looked at each other, looked at the screen, both placed our fingers on the mouse, closed our eyes, counted to 3… and clicked!
Our stomachs dropped, our eyes started to tear. And for a while we just sat there in complete shock, staring at the loading screen.
Booking Confirmed! We’re moving back.
Now we had the date and a flight. We were officially leaving Austria and moving back to the USA.
At first, we felt relief sweep over us. Even though it was hard and we were naturally hesitant, we followed through. We chose our next path and we chose it together.
But closing a chapter like this is overwhelmingly emotional and that relief very quickly turned into every other emotion. All of which hit us at once. We had to work through it all.
We stopped everything. Closed our laptops, put our phones on silent and spent the next few hours talking through our feelings.
Focusing on the positives.
Our conversation focused on the positives of this new life change we were about to take on. Being close to the family and friends we’ve missed so much. Continue developing our careers. Working toward other dreams we have. How settling down is a good thing, especially since we want to start a family soon.
We’ve been living our life at full capacity, filling every moment with something amazing. Now it’s time to slow down, reflect and appreciate all that we’ve done and everything we’ve learned.
The life lessons we’ve gained from living abroad will now shape our future and every decision we make. It’s time to put them to use, but in another location and in a different situation. Time to create the foundation for even bigger adventures to come.
But what’s to come is also unknown. And that’s also really scary.
Acknowledging the concerns.
Life will definitely be different post-move.
What situations and emotions will we face? Will we feel like foreigners in a country that was once our home? Will we get caught up in day to day life and forget everything we’ve learned abroad? Will we get worn down by our environment? Is this entire experience going to feel like a distant dream? Will we be as happy as we are now?
Even though we are moving back to the USA, we’re moving back to a new city and a new life. Where we’ll be presented with brand new and unfamiliar challenges. Can we do it?
Yes. We absolutely can.
New challenges shouldn’t scare us anymore and they won’t. After all, that mindset is what got us to Austria in the first place.
Appreciating what we’ve done.
Then, our conversation turned toward ALL the incredible things we accomplished together.
We set out with a goal to live here for 2 years and we exceeded our goal. All because of our communication, planning, foresight, hard work, dedication, and commitment to succeed. A commitment to turn our bucket list items into concrete goals. Putting in the time and effort required to accomplish those goals now rather than later. And living life to the fullest throughout the entire process!
We overcame every obstacle we faced, so we could live our dream life. The people we’ve met, the places we’ve seen. Every bit of this experience will continue to shape our lives forever. Every moment that was beyond our wildest dreams will be unforgettable. And the struggles only brought about strength and resilience.
That’s when our attitude completely changed.
The sadness disappeared and excitement, joy, and love all took over. We suddenly felt proud and 100% content with our decision.
Everything that’s waiting for us on the other side is positive. All that’s to come is just another adventure to add to our lives. If we maintain our confidence and optimistic mindset, along with our can-do attitude, life will be what we make it.
This (exciting) time back in the USA will be used to start our family and plan our next great adventure, wherever and whenever it may be. It’s time for new dreams and even bigger aspirations.
I looked at Erin with the fullest heart at this point in our conversation. Knowing that living in Austria has created a completely new level of love, respect, and understanding for each other. And I know he feels the same.
A level we would have never reached this early in our marriage, without these 2 ½ years abroad. Our foundation is rock solid and that’s something to be thankful for as well. We have a new-found comfort and confidence that we can accomplish anything we set out to accomplish – as a team!
It’s a crazy feeling but as we thought about our dreams, our accomplishments, and what’s to come in the future, buying that plane ticket became rewarding rather than depressing.
So, we poured ourselves a shot of our super special secret Schnapps and prosted. To us and to taking a bold leap into the unknown. To working together to make the impossible, possible. To our future, to our past and present and to all the joy that’s still to come.
Now, that is something worth celebrating!