It has been a while since I’ve checked in. Consistency does not seem to be my middle name these days. One of the problems of constantly living in the moment is picking and choosing what moments are worth living in and what moments I need to save for someone else. Technology has the power to connect us but sometimes I like to withdraw and unplug to gain perspective. Maybe that is not the best quality for a blogger to have but we’re all a work in progress…right?
When I last updated you I was living at a hostel in a small beach town in Northern Australia. I was participating in my self-proclaimed detox and doing sunrise yoga on the beach in the morning and exercising every afternoon. I spent my days reading, exploring the beaches and hiking areas or laying by the pool. I spent my evenings working at a local restaurant that needed extra help for the end of tourist season. It was a very simple lifestyle but my favorite part about it was the friends that I made there. It was a living/working hostel so most of my friends were there semi-permanently to complete their farm work for their second year visa. I spent so much time with these individuals they quickly turned into friends. It was much different than staying at a hostel and meeting a fun crew for a few nights. We bonded and did everything together and I truly miss each and every one of them now that I am in Sydney on my own. I especially miss my girls who did my detox program with me (shout out to my most loyal students Shona and Sibell) you ladies gave me such motivation to keep going and helping you helped me! I miss having my little minions to terrorize daily. You reminded me why I became a health and fitness coach in the first place! And my roomie, Amy, who helped inspire this blog post. This one is for you girlfriend. Can’t wait until you move to Sydney so we can do it all over again!
In Mission Beach, I woke up every single day like clockwork at 6am and marched down to the beach to do my yoga. The first sunrise took my breath away and I knew that I wanted to start my day like that for as long as I was living at the beach. After a week or two I found myself focusing more on my yoga practice than the sunrise. I stopped taking photos because I was used to the beauty. But then one day it hit me, and I was in awe at how symbolic the sunrise is for life. Every single day there is a gorgeous sunrise but most people miss it because they are still asleep. Even if no one is there to watch it, the sun still rises just as beautifully. If you are lucky enough to see it, you may become jaded to its beauty, but the truly wise take time to acknowledge its beauty every single day. Life has so many beautiful moments and opportunities but people often miss them because they are subconsciously sleeping or they take the splendor for granted. Ask any happy person why they are so happy and I guarantee they will have a simple answer. When we appreciate little things it gives us room to welcome big blessings in our lives. When we focus on the basics and acknowledge how little we need to truly be happy, a whole new freedom opens up in front of our eyes. If you choose to watch the sunrise or you choose to sleep, it still rises. Beauty is everywhere and it is up to us to not only go out and find it, but to go out and appreciate it. Not once, but continually, as a habit not a happenstance.
After about a month of living, boot-camping and working in Mission Beach my boyfriend came to visit from America. I had been anxiously awaiting his arrival and definitely knew a lot of life decisions rested in the time ahead. If you know me personally, you know that I like to overanalyze and over think EVERYTHING. Traveling and living in countries as laid back and carefree as Thailand and Australia have really helped me combat that tendency but unfortunately I can never be completely cured. The time spent with my boyfriend was very thrilling and comforting but also very emotional. It was such a nice experience to share my love for traveling and Australia with him and give him an idea of why this place has also captured my heart. Ultimately there are a ton of emotions that surround our circumstance but needless to say I am so happy that he came, that I met him and that I gained affirmation that following my own dream is what is best for both of us. Everything happens for a reason and I don’t claim to know all of the answers. For this situation, I don’t even know all of the questions. But I’m keeping an open mind and an open heart because from personal experience it tends to lead me in the right direction.
My heart led me to plant roots in Sydney. After a lot of overanalyzing, I am going with my gut. So Sydney, it is. For all of the traveling I have done in the past two years, it is seldom that I have been completely on my own. Once Nick and Jackie left I moved right to Mission Beach where I already bonded with a few friends and quickly bonded with everyone else living at Scotty’s. I felt very much surrounded by comfort and support despite technically being on my own. My first night in Sydney by myself, I felt anything but comfortable. I try to embrace being alone. I honestly enjoy my alone time. But something about a foreign big city makes you feel very insignificant. You can walk in the wrong direction, take the wrong bus, walk in circles, blow money you don’t have, cry, scream, and run; all without anyone noticing. You can choose to talk to strangers or you can choose to talk to no one. You can fill your day with adventures or you can choose to do nothing in your hostel. I refused to let the fear of loneliness overcome me and forced myself to embrace the liberating independence.
For the first time in my life I went out to dinner alone. Not like a casual sandwich shop but an actual restaurant. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir and the fish special of the night, barramundi with some delicious sounding side dish that ended up being like two specs on my plate. I usually feel bad for people eating alone at restaurants. But I was perfectly content. I spoke to my waiter and I consciously did not allow myself to take out my phone. I sat at the table alone and enjoyed the company. Learning to love yourself and stand on your own two feet, especially when you are half way across the world is an incredibly empowering feeling. I am comfortable enough with myself, and what I bring to the table, to sit alone and not just because I have to, but also because I want to. I felt like a proud, strong and interesting woman. I wondered what people thought about me. And then I realized that I didn’t care. I sipped my wine, and I ate my meal and I decided in that moment I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather be on a date with: me.
Many people have questions for me about what I’m doing in Australia, when I’m going to come home and “get a real job”, how many more countries I plan on moving to, or if I’ve found myself yet. That is by far my favorite. For every person who thinks or thought that I am traveling because I need to find myself: NEWS FLASH I am traveling because I FOUND myself and I found that what satisfies most is not what satisfies me. I’ll repeat that for emphasis and just because it has a great ring to it. What satisfies most is not what satisfies me. I believe we should support what we love instead of criticizing other people’s journey or life decisions. I know that I am taking a road that many cannot take, do not take or do not want to take. I don’t need you to approve of what I am choosing to do with my life. I don’t need you to understand it. I write in hopes to better understand myself and allow you to be part of the process in hopes to inspire you in one way or the other. Thank you to those people who do understand me and who consistently celebrate me, encourage me and inspire me. Thank you to the ones I meet traveling along the way that get it in a way no one else can. Thank you to those who make it possible, especially my parents, who relentlessly believe in me no matter how crazy the plan sounds.
I truly believe that ignorance and close-minded views are poison to creativity and happiness. I dare you to open your mind. I don’t need to find myself because I don’t know what career path I want to take. At least I’m honest about it. I don’t need to find myself because I don’t live in America right now. I think you are much more lost than I am if you are sitting in a cubicle 9-5 working a job you hate. Just because you are doing what society deems is “normal” does not mean you are on the right track. Or maybe you are. Only you can determine if you are lost, found or somewhere in between…happily entwined in a detour. I am not saying everyone should travel the world. I love traveling the world. It has taught me more than any other experience, but it is not the answer for everyone. I believe that you need to ignore what society tells you is normal, ignore what your parents or friends think is acceptable, find what you want to do and chase it. Or in my case, find what you don’t want to do and keep trying things until you find what you do want to do. I don’t judge what you do nor will I ever. I think we all have our own poisons, passions and pasts and it takes a long time to figure out which is which. I don’t claim to have all of the answers. In fact I have very few. But I embrace that. I learn something new everyday. I also am forcing myself to restart again and again, which is wildly entertaining but also has its downfalls. At this point I am in a new city, with mere acquaintances and one or two new friends. I currently have come to the point where I have to wake up everyday and search for a job because my travel funds are coming to their final straw. I feel like a tiny fish in a huge pond but I am up for the challenge. I chose this detour and I have to deal with the struggle not just the reward.
I know that wherever I am going, it is going to be beautiful. I am coming to know myself inside and out and my happiness is not something I can put on the backburner. I need to feel alive and I refuse to accept anything less. Instead of searching for all the right answers I will continue to search for new horizons, meet new people; share my story and my struggles and my triumphs. I will continue to open my mind and my heart and my MacBook because everything seems to make more sense when I put it into words. I sat in the airport a few weeks ago with my boyfriend killing time browsing through the book section. I picked up a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and I started reading the first few pages. Elizabeth Gilbert simply speaks to my inner nerdy philosophical writer self and I couldn’t put it down. Within 20 minutes I had to buy the book (even though I already had 3 books in my two backpacks) because I felt as if she was speaking right to me. I dog-eared a page in the book and I keep revisiting it when I feel discouraged,
“Let people have their opinions. More than that-let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business. Lastly remember what W.C. Fields had to say on this point: “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” Actually don’t even bother answering. Just keep doing your thing.”
To those who do get it, keep chasing it and living it. To those who don’t, try opening your mind. I promise there are lots of roads to happiness, and the best ones have detours. As a foreigner in a new city, I get lost every single day but I manage to find the sunrise or the sunset and embrace the uncertainty. The beauty is waiting for you but you have to go out and find it. Sort through your poison, your passions and your past but don’t forget to have a good time. I found a beautiful detour and I can’t wait to see where the road leads me.