Over the last six months I’ve felt torn. Torn between my need for stability, a little space to call my own, routine, family and good friends nearby, and a sense of community, and my need to be constantly on the move with little else on the agenda than the question “Where to next?” It’s a tearing that I’m happy to find that many people like me – people who have lived some form of a nomadic lifestyle at some point in their lives, whether that be a six-month backpacking trip or a longer jaunt with no return ticket home – have had at some point. It makes me feel better to know that most people who have set out to work remotely while seeing the world end up ‘settling’ again at some point or another, whether permanently or temporarily. It doesn’t matter how long you’re on the road for, at some point most of us long for something more fixed.
What I admire about these people is that through trial and error, they’ve been able to figure out what makes them happy and how to balance these two sides of themselves. And that’s the process I’ve been going through these last six months. I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life at this point in time – whether to continue with my journey or settle somewhere for a while, or a combination of the two.
A Year-Long Incubation Period
About a year ago now, my three-year relationship ended. This was no fling or ‘let’s see how it goes’ type of a relationship. It was a relationship that we both wanted to progress to marriage. We were building a life together, and invariably our plans included things like settling down, buying a place, and having a family. As I wrote in my post A Fitting Ending at the time, after a bit of soul searching, I was happy that we were choosing to end our travels and settle down. The stability-craving side of me had won.
When the relationship ended abruptly, I didn’t want to make any rash decisions as to what I wanted to do next. These major life decisions, if made in the right way, take time – after all, you cannot crazily veer from one side of the road to the other without causing an accident. I didn’t want to decide where to go or what to do with my life on a whim. So I followed my gut instinct, stayed close to home, and explored Europe as much as I could in between reading a load of books, doing yoga, and trying to figure everything out.
It was definitely the right decision.
Almost a year on, I would like to say I have all the answers, but alas, I don’t. But I realised that, over the last few months in particular, I’ve been putting way too much pressure on myself – pressure to have it all figured out and know exactly what I want. This, in turn, made me freeze with indecision. I allowed fear to get the better of me – fear of making the ‘wrong decision’ and then living to regret it.
Fear, I’ve now decided, can do one.
I’m the first person to tell my friends or family members that no life decision is irreversible (well, unless it’s a life/death type one). So what if you make a move and figure out over time that it’s not what you want or need? You simply reassess and make a different decision in order to move in another direction. Through trial and error, you’ll eventually end up on the path that you need to be on.
But the key is to keep moving.
So, What’s Up Next?
While I’m still torn to a certain degree between what I want, I’ve decided to put what I need first for now. The words that constantly come to mind are ‘stability,’ ‘routine,’ ‘fun,’ ‘community.’ And so my next move is going to be driven by these words and my current needs, because one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the last 12 months is to listen to exactly what I need and give myself that.
It feels damn good to get to know myself in this way.
I cannot reveal too much at this point, but what I will say is that over the next few weeks or so all will become clearer. What I can reveal is that I plan to be settling somewhere. I want my own place again. I want to put down some roots. I want to live among my books. I want to have fun. I want community. I want to have a routine and a local coffee shop. I want to join a writers’ group. I want to work on my book from my own desk. I want to do yoga in a studio where people know my name. I want a wardrobe that contains more than 10 outfits for a while.
Correction: I don’t want – I need.
The Future of this Blog
Now, what does this mean for the blog? In all honesty, I’ve been reassessing where I’m going with this online space that I love, and there will be some changes. For one, the ‘internal’ life journey I’ve been on over the last twelve months has been just as fulfilling (if not more so) as the ‘external’ one, and yet I haven’t been able to blog too much about it because it just didn’t seem to fit with what one would expect from a travel blog.
Without sounding too preachy (I hope!), what I will say is that I have learnt and grown immeasurably over the last year. I didn’t think that at the age of 33 it was possible to grow as much as I feel I have. I have discovered so many hidden depths and layers to myself that I had no idea needed exploring, discovering, and, in some cases, healing. My breakup was the catalyst to all of this – I’ve learnt to care for myself, have self-compassion, and how to ‘read’ what I need at any given time. Most importantly, I’ve learnt to be my own best friend.
My heart honestly brims with gratitude for all the lessons I’ve learnt, because I genuinely feel that thanks to these lessons the next chapter of my life is going to be the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling one I’ve lived to date.
And I want to share all of the ‘wisdom’ I feel I’ve gained with you. Not in a new-age, wannabe hippie way, but in a way that will hopefully help you to also grow or give attention to an aspect of yourselves that you’ve been neglecting.
Where am I going with all this? I know the blog has been very quiet over the last few months, but that will change in the coming weeks. There will be a new direction, and there will be more content other than travel-related posts – I just need to figure out a way to combine the two things I want to write about.
But, of course, there will still be all the travel-related content that you’ve grown to expect from this blog. I love travelling, and I will always be on the road as much as I possibly can be.
In short, there’s a lot coming soon.
Where To Next, Butterfly?
I’m leaving the UK tomorrow and I’m heading to Cyprus to see my family and eat my body weight in halloumi. And then I’ll be heading to my next destination, which I will be revealing very soon.
I must say, even though I know that I have a lot to do before I’ll be even remotely settled, I’m incredibly excited for my next adventure. To new beginnings!
What do you think of the new direction I’m taking? Do you have any suggestions on posts that you’d be interested in reading?