Moving to Prague 1: Embracing the Unknown

In the first entry in her relocation journal, American student Chelsea Hicks looks forward to her stay in Prague with a little apprehension

In just a little over two weeks I will be crossing the proverbial pond and venturing eastward for a four-month stay in Prague.

Although I consider myself a traveler at heart, I've never been overseas nor have I ever truly submerged myself in a culture other than my own.

I've partaken of my fair share of adventures in the States -- spontaneous flights, cross-border road trips and the occasional weekend city exploration -- but actually leaving the country seems to be an entirely different cup of tea that, if I may say so, I feel entirely unprepared for.

Of course, there are the obvious necessities most people generally don't forget -- travel documents, saying one's farewells, figuring out where to live -- but what about all the other not-so-obvious aspects?

The past few weeks I've spent much of my time pondering the details of what I should be doing and thinking about at this stage of the game.

Should I pack my hairdryer? Probably not.

Should I contact my bank about my upcoming trip? Probably.

Generally, this fruitless and seemingly unnecessary endeavor leads to a thought process focused on the minute details that can wait; all the while furthering the procrastination of factors I should likely be considering.

This is where the stress comes in.

As much as I'd love to tell you that I'm ready, that I know exactly what I'm doing, the truth is that I have no idea what I'm getting myself into.

Aside from the incorrect pronunciation and repetition that comes with reading my Czech phrase book, I've had no prior experience with the language and, in fact, much of what I know about Prague has been taken from various travel guides, Google images and this website.

Sure, I've done my research and yes, I know a fair amount about the history, the food and the culture of Bohemia, but, all things considered, I am walking into this experience virtually blind -- a characteristic I am only beginning to realize the worth of.

Despite the unsettling feeling that comes with being unprepared, I have chosen to embrace what is unknown because, truthfully, it is only through our own means of discovery that we can really come to understand, and experience, what we only know through our skewed imaginations.

Obviously, we all have our own ideas and expectations of what Prague is and isn't, but, in an effort to maintain an open mind to whatever this city may present me with, I'm trying my best to avoid placing too grand an expectation on the image of Prague that has been created in my mind.

Soon I will packing my bags for what I hope will be one of the greatest times of my life (so much for limiting expectations, right?) and although I may not be entirely prepared, I can say, with confidence, that I am ready to breathe in the air and absorb fully every single experience that this city has to offer.

Hold on Prague, I'm coming.

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