If you’ve kept up with The Sunny Side of Things you know I love life on the road just as much as the next person. Assuming you also follow along on Instagram, you’ve seen a few of my summer trips to California, Florida and all around New England. You’ve also seen some repurposed and new content from past trips. And that’s because traveling is damn exhausting in every sense of the word. My travels have taken me to places like Bali, Australia and Cuba- places I used to dream of visiting. And it was finally all happening for me. But, winter of 2016/2017 was FULL of change. I just turned 25, I quit my full time public relations job, and ended a serious relationship. Some would call this a quarter life crisis but I like to call it like I see it: CHANGE.
Change is hard. Change is scary. But change is GOOD. I’ve never been through one transition that was easy. Whether it’s moving into college for the first time, entering a serious relationship, making new friends, your first day on your “big girl job,” or moving to a new city where you don’t know a single person. But all of these things make us stronger and make us better versions of ourselves. If there is no change then everything would remain the same. And newsflash: that is no way to live.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the word change. I pushed it aside, ignored it and ran from it even if it was staring me dead in the face. But it is inevitable. Am I okay with all of these changes I’ve gone through? Some of them yes and some changes I’m still working on accepting. Which definitely does not happen overnight. In fact, I don’t think there is any real timetable for change. I mean shit, for me it hit me head on last November but I was definitely feeling bubbles of it earlier on in the year. I wasn’t expecting to feel the way I was- unsure, unhappy and straight up confused- about everything in life.
And for me that was the toughest part. I couldn’t communicate the way I was feeling or why I was feeling the way I was. Which isn’t like me. Everything I do in life is about communicating, specifically my blog and in all of my relationships, so for me to be at such a loss with something I’m normally great at was foreign. Instead of communicating with my words I was communicating with my actions. “Actions speak louder than words”- agree to disagree on this statement. I am all about verbal communication so for me to communicate with my actions wasn’t effective. It felt like I was acting on impulse. But I literally couldn’t find the words to describe what was on my mind. I would open my mouth and nothing would come out.
Honestly, I was at a point where I was questioning if quitting my full time job was the right choice. I knew it wasn’t a logical choice but it felt right. Petrifying, but right. I had no real plan but knew I wanted to travel more, discover new things about myself, and meet new people. I knew I couldn’t sit behind a desk as just another cog in someone else’s wheel. It was an all-consuming thought at the time. It clouded my mind and I thought about it from when I woke up to the moment I went to sleep.
New year, New me
LOL at that title but it is so true for me.
So what did I do? Booked a one-way ticket to Australia and left everything behind. This made all the difference for me. I was away from everything I knew, everything that was familiar, I had two good girlfriends by my side, I woke up for sunrise nearly every morning, spent too much money on pretty food and coffee, got my feet dirty on long hikes, celebrated Australia in Byron Bay, swam the Great Barrier Reef, and was able to miss home for a little while. But most of all I was able to think and heal. Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself. And that I did.
When I returned, it was time to regroup, refocus, and get back to being myself. As much as it felt like I was running when I left for a month, when I returned home I realized that was what I needed. But, Australia was also the beginning of this burnt out feeling. Not while I was there but when I returned home. I was exhausted physically and emotionally. Having ended a relationship, with someone I thought I would one day marry, just before I left- I had all of those thoughts in my mind during the entire trip. While the break up was my choice, it was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But when I say this trip to Australia made all the difference, know that I mean I was able to get away from all the judgement, think for myself, heal and determine whether or not this life of traveling was meant for me. Spoiler alert: IT IS.
Side bar: I remember reading the quote “good things fall apart so better things can fall together” on Pinterest years ago and laughing, thinking “that’s not possible.” Well, shame on me I guess because that’s what happened.
Travel is like this never ending cycle that you are constantly sacrificing every part of yourself for- in love, life, and friendships. It’s something you always want more of. So naturally, I ignored my exhaustion and continued to travel. Which only made this exhaustion more intense and my sacrifices more apparent, as you can imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I love every single second that I get to spend on the road. But I was feeling lonelier than ever before and needed to take a step back for a hot second. And that I did! Here are the reasons you’ve been seeing content from past trips on the blog and Instagram all summer:
I wanted to be with my family
Traveling is hard. It keeps you from your loved ones! I missed out on a lot this winter, ie spending my 25th birthday abroad- arguably the birthday that is the biggest deal thus far in life. I’m a quarter century! HELLO. With a few trips here and there in New England, to Florida and California I was able to get close with my family again and do fun mother/daughter, sister/sister, aunt/niece things!
I think we tend to get lost in relationships. At least for me, when I am with someone I put everything into making that relationship work. Sacrificing major parts of myself. Which I’ve learned, is not the way to do it. You’ve got to be your own person before you can be someone else’s. I lost myself and recognizing that was like a slap in the face. I had lost touch with all of my girlfriends from home. Now I’m not talking just another friendship. I’m talking, inseparable-like family- kind of friendship. This was not ok. When I got home, this was one of my top priorities! Relationships are all about balance and you shouldn’t feel the need to sacrifice parts of yourself to make it work.
Meet new people
When you’re just passing through or home for only a few days, it’s hard to build real connections, put yourself out there and meet new people. So I wanted to spend the summer doing that. Happy to say, it went as planned. Sort of.
I needed to save money
Traveling, even for me, is damn expensive. I needed to be stateside to save some money. Yes, I live at home for those of you wondering.
A word that has an awful stigma. With traveling the way I travel, comes the constant pressure to always share new content and always be at the top of your game. Just like any other job, fair enough. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy and love what I do but I found the pressure to be way too much to handle and I wasn’t properly equipped with the tools I needed to deal with this on the road (as I had never felt anxiety like that before). I needed to step back and take some pressure off of myself. It was important for me to find ways to deal with the anxiety I was feeling so that when it happens again in the future I will know how to deal with it without completely shutting down.
Planning used to be my thing, I couldn’t leave the house for the day without of plan. This all fell to the wayside last winter. By allowing myself to be home, I was able to focus on longer term plans whether it was travel or new content ideas.
I wanted a routine again
Yep. Another adjustment. When you work a 9-5 you have a routine and you get used to that. Well, when you quit your 9-5 no one tells you that your routine is now non-existent. With working on the road, every single day is different- sometimes I’m working into the wee hours of the morning because I was out exploring all day. No complaints here! But I needed a routine to get things done again, to feel like a normal person! This summer, I posted up at Starbucks usually three times a week and went to the gym in the afternoon. Sort of like I would when I worked my 9-5. Working at Starbucks made all the difference because I was surrounded by people! Working for yourself gets lonely so this definitely helped.
I wanted to go to the gym
What? Yes, the gym. I’m one of those people that has to work out. Not only because I gain weight easily (UGH) but because it makes me happy. I don’t think I went to the gym once when I was in Australia and definitely not in Cuba. Granted, I literally walked and hiked everywhere but that’s not the same. Gotta break a sweat!
Enjoy the summer in Maine
Maine summers are hot but they are beautiful! I wanted to do fun Maine things including: country concerts, hiking, four wheeling, beaching it, eating lobster, enjoy happy hour with my girlfriends- so many activities!
I was feeling burnt-out and wanted to feel all the feels again
Traveling back to back is not only exhausting but you become a bit jaded and focused on creating rather than experiencing. That was an interesting thing to realize. On my trips I was busy running around taking photos and focusing on producing, don’t get me wrong that is my job, but the other side of it is the experiences. I needed to take a step back and regroup. Focus on the reasons why I travel. You know how they say, you have to be without something for a while to realize what it means to you? Well I needed this. I needed to be without international trips for a bit to really recognize what they mean to me and to recognize what types of travel and places I prefer.
I know this post was a little different from what I normally share but it is something I felt needed to be communicated. Being home for the summer, well at least stateside, made all of the difference. I might not have everything figured out just yet, but I know am on the right path. Have any of you experienced something similar?
But, I am happy to report I am gearing up for some pretty incredible trips these next few months. First up London and Morocco. Simply typing that gives me all the feels. I’m like a school girl who just laid eyes on her crush! Fresh eyes with good intentions- the road ahead looks promising and I am more excited than ever to get back out there and share this beautiful world with all of you.