mailchimp popup cross column

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Time Flies When You Follow Your Dreams


It’s been one year since I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket for Scotland. Not long before my last day at work, a coworker told me that others were placing bets about me. 

“Oh really?,” I asked, “Betting on when I’ll be back?”

“No, betting on whether or not you’ll be back at all.”

Shivering in the Edinburgh cold and watching a light blanket of snow coat the city seems so very long ago. Yet, it doesn’t seem possible that it was over a year ago that I sat at my desk and fired up Excel and Outlook. Time has a way of stretching and compressing and fooling us with its trickery. 

Setting out, I had this naive hope that everything would magically fall into place by circumstance and chance during these twelve months. I would know what I wanted to be when I grew up and maybe I would even be heading on that path. I would have used the boundless amounts of time to complete my book and with any luck I'd be on my way to being a best selling author. My photos would be selling well on stock photo sites.  I’d be proud of that my (door) Knockers of the World book would be gracing coffee tables near and far. I’d have found where I belonged and building my future there. And... just maybe I would have met Prince Charming and be living happily ever after. 

None of it has happened.  None of it. 

All that time I thought I’d have? I was so wrong. As mentioned previously, time plays tricks.  Turns out full time traveling is a job in itself. Don’t get me wrong, and sorry Garmin, it’s a much more fulfilling job to be sure, but it can be exhausting having so much fun! Not knowing where I’m going to be sleeping a couple weeks from now and making sure I get the best value so I can stretch out my travel as long as possible takes way more time than it should.
Some things that I was freaked out about before I left home ended up being no big deal: 
  • Living out of a suitcase for so long.
  • Wearing the same outfits every day. 
  • Not knowing when I’d make money again. 
  • Not having a place to call home.
  • Not having a full social calendar.
  • Not being able to go shopping.
  • Traveling solo and being alone in a city of strangers.
Unexpected annoyances that I didn’t anticipate or thought would get easier:
  • Packing deserves a two-part complaint: 
    • Staying below the weight limit is always a worry. Absurdly, my belongings fluctuate in weight just like I do. 
    • Suitcase Tetris - sometimes things fit easily and other times, I have to sit on my suitcase and swear in order to get it zipped up.
  • Button-press-o-phobia - Yep, I’ve still got it.  Finding the best deal on lodging/car rental/airfare and getting the dates right and pulling the trigger takes way more time and mental energy than I thought it would.
  • Choosing where to eat - Everyone can agree this is an ongoing universal struggle.
  • How long to stay - It’s impossible to get right, it’s either too much time or not enough.
  • Not being able to find Cover Girl Makeup or good Mexican food. 

I have seen many amazing things and met many wonderful people. I traveled enough to circle the earth 1.6 times this year.  I visited 14 countries, stayed in 51 cities and met up with 26 existing friends and made countless more new friends. 

Things I’ve learned:
  • To say yes to more experiences and shrug off social anxieties and preconceptions.
  • Isolation brings along his friends depression and self-doubt.
  • House sitting rocks!
  • People around the world are more similar to each other than not.
  • Car rental companies are the worst swindlers of the travel world. 
  • It’s impossible to answer the question, “Where is your favorite place you visited?”
  • Yoga & meditation are wonderful salves to ease a turbulent mind.
  • Everyone is braver and more capable than they realize.
  • The things you have the lowest expectations for often turn out to be the most amazing.
  • Getting started is often the hardest part of any activity worth taking.
  • Your worst fears never materialize as imagined.
  • Being in an amazing place doesn’t guarantee happiness.
  • Positive attitude, an open mind and the knowledge that everything will be ok can get you through just about anything.
As might be evident from this list, I alternate between being in awe of my experiences and wallowing in self-doubt and depression and everything in between.  These questions plague me whenever I stop long enough to listen to my inner critic. What do I have to show for this year of travel? Am I being irresponsible in spending all this money? What am I doing with my life? Why didn’t I accomplish more?  What should I do next? When is enough enough? Am I hopelessly ruining myself?  How will life after this adventure ever measure up? 

I don’t have answers, I may not ever, but I’m still on the road to find out.  I’m not done and for now, I’m going to keep on rolling down that road, following my dreams with the knowledge that whatever happens it’s all gonna be alright.


PS - Regarding the question, "What's next?" I'm heading on a quick tour of Vietnam after my Thailand housesit is over. After that, I'm excited to be heading back to Europe. I'm really glad that I visited SE Asia a bit, but Europe still has my heart. I'll be in Germany for two more housesits in April, then revisiting my first housesit to care for Tiddles and Shindig for the month of May. I've got a few weeks in June where things are up in the air before I return to the United States for a family reunion in Oregon at the end of June. Following that, I'm excited to be housesitting in Slovenia for the month of August.  I'm happy to report that I've been able to stick to my budget more or less (sometimes more, sometimes less) and I have the luxury of keeping on my path.  Maybe the puzzle pieces I've been seeking (and more magic) are waiting for me in year two!

PSS - Regardless of all else, I'm so extremely glad that I took the chance to do this. This chance to live this dream. Insurance against regret.  A chance to prove to myself that I could. I am eternally grateful to everyone that offered me support and encouragement and the biggest thanks of all to Stacy James for giving me the courage to get started. Getting started was the hardest part. The rest has been easy in comparison. I highly encourage any of you reading this to take the risk and find what makes you happy, what makes you glow with joy.  In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Image result for life is short live it now

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for continuing to share your experiences and adventures! Here’s to year two!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am thrilled that your adventure has gone so well and that you are going to continue. I love following your travels (though Stacey still documents things better than you do.:) ) Keep living your dream, AdventureGirl.

    ReplyDelete