I’m sure I’ve already written about this need I had in the past to plan my entire life out, or at least have landmarks I wanted to reach by a certain age. It’s funny how things change as you get older, and you realize that life isn’t a simple sequence of events that follow a particular order.
Really the fact that it doesn’t is a beautiful thing. As I get older and continue to travel I’m coming to enjoy the beauty of adventure and possibility. But it still continues to shock me how much a person changes in such a short amount of time when abroad.
I’ve only been in Gijon for about 6 weeks now, and yet I find myself changing in ways that I did not expect to change at all. For the better, of course, but I’m shocked at the direction in which those changes are leading.
Before I left my “ideal” job and broke off from following the steps of career, family, repeat, I struggled a lot. As with many of us who decide to take the plunge to live abroad and break out of the typical cycle, the internal struggle you go through when deciding to do so is a deep one. Last year, in a town that I enjoyed being in, though minimally, the same question continued to re-surface, and I was so focused on my career, and getting into a classroom in a school that I had envisioned since I was a little girl. A typical career as a teacher, and what I was doing last year was not a typical teacher job. At all. Though I managed to learn what my mission was there and fulfill it to the best of my abilities, I still wondered what my plan was and questioned if I was doing the best thing for my life and career.
Coming back to Spain for a second year and being in a city in which I am so unbelievably happy has shed light on so many situations for me, and in the little time that I’ve been here, I find myself maturing at warp speed.
Take for instance the fact that I am beginning to feel settled, and to feel that I want to feel settled and perhaps lay down roots. Don’t get me wrong, I have such a deep passion for travel, and that will never change. But now there’s not that incessant need to do it all immediately. I’m more patient, and more willing to take my time. I’m learning to appreciate the fact that, though technically I am working and living in a new place and it’s beginning to feel routine and a lot less like travel, I am indeed still traveling. This is my life now. Travel by means of daily living. Every day is an adventure, even if it is a routine, because I’m still in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language. That being the case, I’m OK with the idea of not leaving Spain on international weekend trips this year. Will I want to take another big trip eventually? Yes, but now, I’m just enjoying my city and my new home, even on those days when I feel bored.
I can tell you with complete honesty that I was not expecting this change to come about. I spent all of last year and all of this summer, and even as recent as September and the beginning of October, drooling over the thought of what I would do after Spain next summer. Perhaps a year in Chile, so that I could backpack throughout South America and work in a forest again, get my hands dirty, hike the Inca trail, see ancient ruins. And while those are definitely still on my bucket list, I feel like a portion of my incessant urge to travel has been watered down.
I think a lot of my urge to travel was probably fed by boredom and unhappiness with where I was. I don’t want to say that I traveled to flee from my problems, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t travel to distract myself to a certain extent.
When I got back from Costa Rica three years ago I knew that something had changed within me and greatly impacted my viewpoint of the purpose of life and what kind of life I wanted to live, but I was swept up in the NYC rat race before those seeds could come to bloom.But now they’re blossoming like crazy, and as I respond to my father’s question of what’s new by sharing that every day something is new, that I’m working enough but not too much, that I love both of my jobs, that I also have time to write and play my cello, and that I’m meeting fabulous people and developing new friendships to treasure, I realize how fortunate I am, and I realize that this is the purpose of life. To enjoy it. To find that balance and treasure it. And now that I’ve found it, I’m OK to stay here and maintain it. There’s no need to drop everything once again and cross the globe. I’m OK with the idea of settling down in once place and using that as a base for shorter trips. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m ready to start making my new home, wherever that should be as I have no idea yet. Haha, that’s a whole other internal struggle, worthy of a series of blog posts. But hopefully that answer will come to me gradually as well. And I hope that when it does, I will have the wisdom and the strength the make the best decision for my life.