We have been absent for the past two weeks.
Or so it seems.Why? Basically, we’re getting our shit together and I’m doing my best not to crumble.
The month of February has been a bit of an overwhelming one. Our original plan when we left the US in October was to visit Bali and then move to Bangkok and get teaching jobs. We would settle in, save up, and visit as much of this side of the world as possible. After spending a month in Bangkok, we realized it wasn’t the right fit for right now. With no real backup plan other than to keep traveling, we moved to Taiwan. We’ve been rolling with the punches ever since.
Now, our 90 day Taiwan visa is coming to an end. We need to make some major decisions: either we move somewhere completely new or plan a trip out of the country and return.
This raises the question of work: where and what do we want to do? It also raises the issue of our teetering bank accounts. How much leeway do we actually have to move somewhere new or just to even go on a visa run trip?
On top of all of that, we have so many ideas for this blog. Blogging has really become important to us and an incredible creative outlet. I’ve been fighting even the notion of putting in on a side burner. But where to find the time for this among everything else?
Cue my first mini freak out.
I have certain personal attributes that make me a bit of an anxious person.
I like to research all possible options and outcomes for certain situations, especially when they are life changing. I also enjoy documenting everything via spreadsheets. In the past week, I have planned 6 separate weekend and week long trips that we could take to do this visa run.
I’m not an itinerary kind of girl – I like the spontaneity of picking a restaurant on the fly or dropping everything and biking to the beach for the afternoon. We are, however, on a tight budget.
So going on a trip involves looking at all the costs involved, including transport to and from the airport (super expensive in Melbourne, by the way!), hotel costs, bus transfers, ATM fees, etc. You can never account for everything, but even a little bit of researching goes a long way when you’re on a budget. For example, we realized 3 days in Singapore is almost the same cost as 6 in the Philippines. That’s double the beach time or half cost if you only have 3 days! That’s bananas. (Honestly, someone should hire me to be their travel agent: I’m trip organizing fiend!)
Researching does, however, take a LOT of time. The past week and a half has been solely dedicated to researching our options via 12 hour days at the computer. And, of course, more options means more decision making. Also, not my strong point.
Needless to say, it’s been a bit exhausting. Cue my next mini freak out.
Commitment Phobe and the Future
I’ve come to learn several things about my personality. Being a terrible decision maker is one. Another is that I’m a bit of a commitment phobe, especially when it comes to jobs.
Nothing is forever. I know this and yet, I still manage to panic when I’m looking for jobs. A full time job takes up the majority of your week. And I really believe that work should be something you enjoy doing versus something you dread doing. I know it’s not always possible. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. But, on the rare occasions that you can choose, I think we would all prefer something that would help us grow, rather than stunt us.
The thought of signing a one year teaching contract partially freaks me out. I love kids and helping people. I’ve never been a teacher before, although I have been a youth leader. I would hope they would have similar guidelines. And, yet, I’m afraid I won’t be a good enough teacher to truly help.
We’ve also been toying with the idea of getting Australian working holiday visas. This sounds awesome in theory, but Australia is also MEGA expensive.
And at the opposite spectrum is something I already love doing: writing, photographing, and blogging. The Road To Here Blog has artistically inspired us over the past few months. I don’t want it to end.
Can you feel my indecisiveness and phobia creeping in? Cue… you get it.
This is where the world of ‘what ifs’ takes full command and I stop being able to hear my gut. This is when I start to get really down on myself for feeling lost.
This is all fear talking.
Kicking Fear to the Curb
So, this is where I have been living for the past few weeks. It’s been a whirlwind and, in effect, taking the wind out of me.
There are amazing joys to traveling and moving abroad, but there’s also behind the scenes aspects that are similar to living back home. Where to live? What job to apply for? How much money can we realistically spend? Basically: what to do next?
I think a lot of us experience similar thoughts and feelings in our 20s (and 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s…). Most of us are constantly in transition or lacking transition, and in consequence we can end up feeling stuck. At least, that’s how I felt when I was living back home and now also when I’m halfway around the world! The key is dealing with it and spinning these times into something positive.
I let fear in and allowed it to suck out the fun behind all of these huge life changing moments! I mean, I’m talking about traveling the Philippines… This is in every way a blessing, and in no way should create stress. How did I forget this?
Dealing with Stress
Eric is really wonderful at remaining collected when we’re dealing with serious situations.
Honestly, I don’t know how he does it, especially with me drilling away on the keyboard and then breaking down in a corner somewhere when it all seems too big, too much. At the base of it all, though, is his ability to always remain present.
Sure, you have to sometimes look into the future, but if you let it get too far away from you, it can become overwhelming. We’ve also learned (after our stint in Bangkok), that you can’t always plan the future or have it run the way you want to. So, why go through the stress of planning everything out so far in advance? It’s all much more manageable to plan a little, but then come back to this very moment. Otherwise, you miss the very moment you are living in.
Eric’s other best advice to me has been: do one small thing at a time. He’s a wise one.
I consistently make huge to do lists, but often times they’re filled with big tasks. Then the list becomes overwhelming. Instead, we find, it helps to break those big to-dos into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of “figure out trip,” I should write down, “research flights to Philippines.”This might make the list seem longer, but crossing things off every hour instead of every three days makes the list seem way more attainable.
My soul brother, Michael, once gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever learned. I was going through a very difficult time of feeling stuck several years ago (crazy pants, right?). He stopped me and said, “Empty your backpack.”
Now, I wasn’t physically carrying anything. But my heart and mind was.
Many people I know (myself included) take on way more than is physically or mentally possible. There’s just so much we want to do or sometimes it’s because we have to. Sometimes, it just becomes too much. If you’re a position where you can, this is the moment to reevaluate what you’re carrying. This is the moment to be honest with yourself and let go of what is truly weighing you down. Often times, it will not be easy, but it will change everything for the better. The first step is often to just be completely honest with yourself.
Eric and I have taken some time this month to reevaluate what we’re doing and where we are. We are crazy thankful for where we are and the gift that has been this past year! I don’t think I ever realized a life like this could be possible. And I am in every way appreciative of these opportunities.
In this way, we also need to be more honest with ourselves and realistic with how much we can take on at this moment.
This is why we have been absent and I apologize terribly for it. All I have wanted to do is write, share, and redesign the blog, but I just couldn’t do it all on top of the other researching and planning. At first, I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to just keep on writing, even if it wasn’t great. I felt embarrassed. How can everyone else keep up, but I can’t? I’ve gotten really down on myself the past month.
Then, I read this quote:
I have let comparison and fear rob me of my joy. How sad is that? That’s not who I am. It’s time to be honest with myself.
We don’t like half assing anything. And we’re not about to half ass something as important to us as the Road To Here Blog is. Rather, we want to bring you the best content and in the best way. Despite my want to keep up, I’m not keeping up. And writing content that is lackluster doesn’t help anyone.
This is where the excitement comes back and fear gets kicked to the curb. Cue the confetti! Cue the dancing unicorns! Cue the ice cream falling from the sky! Because we are relaunching the blog.
We hinted at this several weeks ago, but I just got so excited about Love Day that I couldn’t step back yet. Now as the universe seems to be nudging me hardcore, it’s time to step back. But, just for a little.
When the Road To Here Blog returns in the very near future (we’re not talking a 6 month break here), it will be bigger and better for your fulfillment. It will be worthy of your reading and, hopefully, will have a happy place in your inbox.
Thank you for all of your support thus far. You have absolutely no idea how much we appreciate each and every one of you checking in on our blog. You are what makes this worth it. And if it that’s cheesy to write, then I’m straight cheesin’. Because I mean it. You are unbelievably, magnificently, cosmically amazing. Please know that you have helped us in a positive way.
We’ll talk soon. Real soon.
PS Yesterday we got thrown a life changing curve ball (pun intended). Everything that I’ve been researching towards may, again, be completely changed because of this. Cue my next mini freak out. In a good way, this time. Promise.
You’ll just have to check back soon to find out what…