On Crumbling and Coming Together

It’s amazing how everything in your life can seemingly fall apart and come together all at the same time.

This year hasn’t been my finest. In fact, I’ve tried writing about this month after month and just couldn’t muster up the courage – until now. I even lost all inspiration for writing, which is unusual for me.

It took me awhile, but I’m finally at a point where I accept this and can move on with high hopes for the next part of my journey. By that, I simply mean that I’ve finally let go of past experiences that were seemingly “failures” to me, as well as someone who used to mean the world to me.

I strongly believe that loss and setbacks allow us to appreciate the value of life that much more. Everything happens for a reason. On top of professional struggles and brash decisions, I dealt with personal heartache every day from the first of the year until recently. Sounds pathetic, but in reflection, I had to endure all of that pain in order to be strong enough for a new leap of faith.

Up until now, I was full of self-doubt and had no idea what I was doing with my life (I still kinda don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but I like to pretend that I do know, especially when I just bought another one-way ticket). I pulled away from all of my friends and family as a result, holing up into myself and trying my best to figure out what really made me happy while trying to avoid any stigmas of disappointment. In reality, the only person I was disappointing was myself – we are our harshest critics. I figured it would be easier to keep my problems and self-doubts to myself rather than burden loved ones.

And then, I slowly began opening up to my best friends again – the strongest and most beautiful people in my life. I reached out for support when I felt like I couldn’t take the hurt anymore, and when I felt like I was at a darker point than I’ve ever been. The acceptance phase took awhile, but I’m now on track again to continue my “soul searching.” I’m also about to embark on more travels that will push my comfort zone farther than ever before.

My next steps are so wildly unplanned, so bold, and so different from my typical choices that I’m even scaring myself. And yet, I know in my heart that this is the best decision I can make for myself right now, right here, in this moment of my life. Like many twenty-somethings, I just want to find my personal happiness. It’s taking me awhile to get there, but I know I will, especially with all of my overseas experiences combined. And my desire to continue seeing the world grows more intense with every day that I wake up, so I clearly know the direction I’m meant to go.

I’m going to be a vagabond. To a certain extent (won’t spill details yet).

“Vagabonding is about refusing to exile travel to some other, seemingly more appropriate, time of your life. Vagabonding is about taking control of your circumstances instead of passively waiting for them to decide your fate.”

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I’ve always dreamed about just being free. Free of the damn 9-5 cube life, free of traffic, free of any ties to a particular job or commitment. Just getting up, booking a ticket, and letting fate and fortune decide my path rather than my usual pre-mediated plans (i.e. planning a New Zealand move a year in advance). Jono knows what I’m going on about (check out his blog – it’s phenomenal and might even inspire you to take an around-the-world adventure as well).

When you’re a vagabond, you free yourself from all objects and you’re left with just yourself – and only yourself – to focus on while on the road. It’s a terrifying reality to discover who you truly are. And it’s also fascinating. Enthralling. For me, it has become an addiction. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t know myself unless I’m traveling and/or living abroad. I constantly crave everything that comes along with international travel: meeting new people, learning about different cultures, trying new foods (FOOD IS LIFE), and challenging myself beyond all measures. I’m at a stage where I feel like I can’t get any of that in America, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I’m perfectly okay to admit that. My love for the world far exceeds my love for my home country (at least for now).

Moreover, my recent setbacks allowed me to question my future on a deeper scale.

Am I spending my fleeting time on this earth wisely? If I were to die tomorrow, would I be fulfilled? What are my passions? What are my talents? What do I want to do with my life? What does happiness mean to me?

“Until you ask these types of questions, you have no chance in finding the answer. And when you do journey out, there’s no guarantee you’ll reach your destination; but you sure as shit won’t get there if you never leave the house.”

-Matt, giveliveexplore.com

See, the beautiful thing about life is that there are no dead-ends. We live in a world (and a generation) that presents us with daily opportunities to turn things around if we’re truly unhappy. Life goes on, and and you have to keep moving (or get eaten alive). Certain things are more difficult to persevere through, but it’s nice to know that all the hardships and hurt probably will be things you laugh about five or ten years from now. And without all the shitty experiences, how will you expect to grow as a person?

So, to the person who used to be my best friend and love: I feel sorry for you because of the person you truly ended up being. Your actions caused me to lose all respect and trust in you, and I’m at ease with admitting that. While I will always want the best for you, I’m happy to no longer be connected or be in contact with you. I want to thank you for empowering me to realize that I deserved, and will always deserve, so much better than you. There are far better things ahead for me, and now I no longer have to wonder, “What if?” You shattered my heart and hurt me immensely, but you also proved that I don’t deserve to be treated like I’m nothing. No one should ever be treated like they’re nothing! This was a major realization for me, since it truly marked a turning point in my maturity. Thank you for being an example of what I don’t want in my life and how I don’t want to be treated. Because of you, I’m even more empowered and bolder than ever to do what I’ve always wanted. I’m truly free of you now, and I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you to all my best friends who dropped everything and have been here for me when I finally reached out and asked for support. Thank you to my parents, who have continuously been there for me before, during, and after my crashes and burns; who have accepted over the years that I’m not the same person I was before I started traveling two years ago; and for wholeheartedly supporting (and never judging) when I texted in full-on distraught mode in numerous countries.

I’ve done a lot of reflection on myself as a person lately to know that I have the courage to grow into the woman I was meant to be – it just takes that first step to make it happen. It might take me longer than average to figure out my path to happiness, but I know that as long as my core friends support me, all will be well in the world.

Thanks for the quote, Jono :)

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