4 Years Post Travel
Heard of the travel blues? That doesn't even begin the describe these last four years being back home. Four years ago, I embarked on a journey to live in Switzerland and my plan was to do that permanently. Prior to leaving for Switzerland, I was studying Forensic Psychology in college and my dream was to become an Italian Citizen so I was able to move and work abroad. It took me five or six years to do that. I went abroad with a one way ticket to Switzerland back to Interlaken where I had visited and backpacked six years prior on my two month backpacking trip. I had no job lined up, no place to live and no plan but to get back to Interlaken and see all the people I haven't seen in years and putting all my faith in "It'll all work out somehow." My old travel friends and I picked up where we had left off. It was like I never left. A few months in, I found it difficult to be by myself traveling, working and trying to make it work. I was a different person than who I was when I first went when I was eighteen. At twenty-four, I didn't want to party and drink every single day. I struggled trying to keep up with everyone else and fitting in. I began missing my family back home and questioned if this was the right move.
After a few months, I decided to move to Italy for something different. I met amazing people along the way who later became good friends of mine still today. We had a girl's trip in Cinque Terre, ate and drank like Italians do. I had a job lined up, or at least so I thought, to do photography for them and manage their social media. Like in many instances in traveling, things get lost in translation. I arrived and realized it was a work for me, you live here for free type of exchange. With not an exuberant amount of money, I knew I would be in trouble at some point if I didn't make a decision on what to do. A major set back of getting sexually assaulted while I was traveling in Italy cemented my decision to go home. Exhausted, heart broken, and at my wits end, I was heading back home. My soul broke that day as I traveled back home, feeling like I've failed and didn't try to stick it out. Hindsight is always 20/20 right?
I came home and traveled a little bit more to Costa Rica because once you get that travel bug, you can never cure it. Eventually, I knew I had to try to do the "real world" thing, I fell back on my degree from college and starting working in my field. I met a wonderful man and moved from New Jersey to New York where I've been living for the last three years. I love where I am and the home base I've created here. But three years of being in my field of study (Mental Health), I've realized it's not for me. Now I'm back in the cycle of not knowing what to do in the real world sense but my soul does. I'm at the point where I can't hear about traveling or watch my favorite traveler's show, Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown because the pang of knowing I'm not out there doing what I love breaks my traveler's heart. Traveling and writing has always been a passion of mine and I've yet to figure out how to make that into a career let alone have stable income from it.
Two years ago I began working on a dream on mine. I love writing on my blog and sharing my travel stories but I can't write every single detail because it would be novels long. Speaking of novels, I decided to write a book about all my travels over the years, the trials and tribulations it took for me to travel, I open up more about my personal struggles with anxiety that has at times held me back from exploring the world and how I pushed through my obstacles. I also have a non-travel related project for another book about anxiety for young kids on how to handle their stress with the increasing mental health issues rising in schools. I have other projects for my blog, which includes a private community of travelers and people who are on their spiritual journey to come together in one place and inspire each other. I also plan to make travel friendly products from clothes, jewelry, passport covers etc. so if you ever bump into each other around the world you'll know you're not alone no matter what part of the journey you are on.
While I am very excited about all these projects, we all have that small part of us that is afraid to fail. "What if this doesn't work out either? What will I do then? Will I make enough money to pay my bills?"
Is this deja vu or have I been in this predicament before? In my years of traveling, I've encountered many difficult situations where I had use my instincts to figure out where I was going. Everything always worked out in the end even if I didn't see it. Right now, I don't see it. But I have to use my instincts to navigate where I'm going. And everything will work out.