I went on one of my regular walks late this afternoon and noticed the changes on my route from when I first arrived in September – the greener grass, the fuller pine trees, the different flowers… Noticing those differences made me think about how long I’ve been here now, over three seasons, and made me feel nostalgic about the past four and a half months in my new home away from home.
With my five months as an au pair nearly up, a lot of family and friends have been asking when I’m coming home. Good question…Lately I’ve been thinking about “what’s next” and how I’m going to go about making all the must-do’s happen while also not overextending my travel time to a point that will make my Mom go crazy and leave me in debt to whoever has to save me when I go broke.
But it’s also liberating – having more countries and experiences ahead in your ideal plans with only the task of figuring out how to make it all happen for yourself stopping you.
Of course the positive feelings don’t come without fears, though. I have had feelings of homesickness and have feared being too carefree during a time in my life when a lot of my friends are racing toward their dream careers and placing themselves in an adulthood where they are comfortable. But I always end up back in a conversation that assures me that the adventuring I’m doing is not wasteful but rather inspiring (as cliché as it sounds) – inspiring for myself and others. Inspiring because it’s a reminder that life doesn’t have to be the rat race we make it out to be a lot of the time and that taking a path contrary to what a lot of other young professionals are taking at the time doesn’t mean you’ll never be a young professional but that you’re just taking a different route.
Anyway, my point is that life is happening and things are starting to get interesting. With James having been here a few weeks now, reality has set in and both of us are figuring out what the next several months of our 2017 will bring. I move out of my host family’s place after the first week of February (a week later than originally planned bc I was asked to stay an extra week) and then it is on to the next adventure which I believe will be a bit of travel and then a new backpacker job in the city for a couple of months to save up money for Southeast Asia. It is a surreal feeling planning for more months of travel instead of my trip home and essentially building lives in all these different countries. It’s not a study abroad program or mission trip – it’s real life. Every job I pursue, the length I stay, where I live is all up to me. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the necessity of both being prepared and going with the flow. It seems no matter how prepared and eager you may be, you can’t get what you want when you want it in the real world. Timing is everything and it can be completely out of your control. It’s not “Okay as long as I get this done way in advance then I’ll get what I want,” it’s “Alright I’m eager and want to know I have a job in a few weeks but there’s only immediate starts available,” So, you go with the flow. That’s the part I’m still learning is part of the process. I definitely have much less anxiety dealing with uncertainness though then the first time I tried to get an entry level job back in Orlando. With some confidence, determination and preparation, I’ve found it all works out. You just can’t put so much pressure on the timing.
So here’s to the new trials and adventures to come! Another chance to learn and explore- bring it on.