‘Holy crap. I can’t believe I’m doing this’.
That’s basically been on repeat in my head over the last couple of months, as soon as I remember I booked a flight and accommodations in Europe for the next 3 months. I can NOT believe I finally made the decision to travel indefinitely for a year, and it’s actually happening 🙀.
For the longest time I would think about dropping everything and traveling the world. It felt like such an overwhelmingly exciting thought that I attached my happiness and dreams to. But finances, fear and a little too much caring about what other people would think got in my way.
It’s been just over a year since I quit my corporate job to go rogue, and although I naively expected the road to be much more stable, I’ve learned some invaluable lessons along the way. Could I have done this a year ago and survived? Probably. But I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and there are some personal experiences I had in this year that I think made things a lot clearer for me. I consider this last year a planning of sorts. There are habits, perspectives and different insights I needed to acquire and build up before taking off to enjoy this adventure to it’s fullest. As I continue to sort through them and put them into practice in my own life, I’ll start to talk about it here. I’ve always enjoyed blogging for that reason – to share thoughts on what I’m going through in life, in the hopes of connecting with other people who have had, or are maybe going through similar experiences. I still don’t think I’m 100% ready for this, but when are we ever really ready for anything?
As excited as I am about taking off on this adventure in just a couple of days, I want to talk about the not so glamorous part of following your dreams too. Sometimes I think following your dreams, or even traveling the world is idolized and glamorized by other people making it look so much effortless and blissful than it really is. That’s not to say that there aren’t those moments in between but there is so much more grit, and in return, satisfying accomplishment, in following your dreams. Try to keep that in mind when you decide to totally go for it. Don’t let simple obstacles fool you into thinking you’re the only one who has a pile of shit to clean up every other day, because you’re not. Everyone else who is following their path is doing the exact same thing – whether they share that with the world or not.
I spent the last week in North Carolina packing up my apartment and holy wow. Right when I started packing I felt pretty invigorated and stoked for my new plans. Then out of no where, I started to feel a total sense of sadness that I wasn’t expecting. I had a lot of memories in this apartment and in this city, and although I wasn’t here for long, it was so sad to slowly pack everything up and be reminded of all the memories I had forgotten about. Some good, some bad and if I’m being honest, some that were particularly hard to move past. It felt like the more I packed up, and the more empty my apartment became, the more real it all became. It is such a strange feeling to essentially feel two feelings at once – loss of the past, and also complete excitement for the future. Although it was challenging to pack up my stuff and say goodbye to that chapter, there was a piece of me that thought it’s what I needed in order to really close that book and open a new one. Truth be told, I think I had cleverly avoided it for awhile. Not that this next chapter of my life won’t be just as great as the last, but it’s always tough to say goodbye. So although it hurt like hell, I feel satisfied for going through it knowing it’s what needed to happen before fully embracing this new book.
From packing up my apartment, to driving out of North Carolina and back into my home state of Michigan, I have felt ALL the feelings over the last several weeks. It was so much more uprooting and emotionally challenging than I ever thought it would be. I have found some reassurance in the thought that this is probably part of the purpose for it. Moving is always stressful but I think there are probably more specific reasons as to why it was particularly tough for me this time around. I’ve moved quite a bit in my life – between LA, NYC and NC I’ve definitely been uprooted before and felt the stresses of moving (umm, hello to the shingles outbreak I had in NYC 🙄). But this time, it completely turned me inside out and although I can name a handful of reasons as to why that probably is, I do think it’s part of the bigger learnings that this journey will entail. I will say that to not have an apartment, or essentially a place to call home was the strangest feeling I’ve felt so far. It’s great to feel like you have an apartment of our own or a space to call yours that you know you have back pocket if you need a crash landing, but I think putting too much weight into those comforts has prevented me from growing as much as I can. I’m starting to think there may be some beauty in completely shedding that subconscious feeling of home that’s actually just hinged on material items. I still someday want to build another home for myself, and although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding comfort in that, I was putting WAY too much of myself, my worth and my comfort into a material item. It’s interesting to see who you really are when you shed yourself of that.
So bring it on, world! I’m a little terrified but also super stoked to continue living past my comfort zones and finding out what I’m really made of. For this next adventure, I think I’m most excited about being somewhere new and discovering a new place, meeting new people and having unique experiences along the way. My love for photography has continued to grow over the past year and I’m also looking forward to capturing each new place in my own creative way. Aside from that, my expectations are basically non-existent. I really have no idea what to expect. I’m essentially following a feeling in the hopes that the specific reasons as to why I’m doing this will become more clear with each step forward I take. What seems like insurmountable uncertainty ahead is a foreign concept to me and I’m learning to take in stride.
Over the next few months I’ll be in Amsterdam, Paris, Budapest and Prague. All cities that I’ve never been to but have heard such great things about. Since I’m originally from MI, I’m used to spending the holidays and most of the winter months in cold, snowy weather. Living in a warmer climate like North Carolina over the last few years has made me somewhat miss spending winter bundled up by the fireplace. But I’m sure come Spring I’ll be jonesing for warm weather destinations!