Goodbye Italy, hello 30s

I should go to blogger jail for not updating this site since Venice. That was over three weeks ago.

That’s the thing about making travel and blogging into a career, right? You gotta stay consistent with publishing times and new content and social media and blah blah. But what if you’re only in a city for a limited time and you really, really, really wanna go looking for more gelato?

Balance has been the hardest part of this journey. 

I have a lot I want to write about. I still haven’t absorbed my life-changing Camino trip. I still haven’t caught up on Italy journaling. The last two months have been some of the best in my life. I feel like there’s an endless stream of creativity pouring from my veins and I just haven’t stood still long enough to harness that energy.

Where am I going with this? #VerbalDiarrhea

I’ve had a lot of time to think about my life and where it’s going, particularly during those long stretches of solitude on The Way. Maybe you’re tired of reading pieces like this. Everyone seems to be writing them these days. We’re all wandering around, lost and confused.

Candice in Capri

I love my career and I love my life, but it’s draining sometimes. I spend half my time chasing down clients who owe me money. I’m not writing the books I want to be writing because usually I’m just trying to scrape by. So for the past several months, I’ve been considering a huge career change and leaving the travel world behind.

But then the Camino and Italy happened. So many experiences overwhelmed me with joy to the point of tears. Wandering around the Trastevere neighbourhood in Rome, I thought, I wanna stay here and write novels. Walking into Santiago with my Camino family, discussing the highlights of our journey, I remember thinking, I live for this. Freedom, experience, and learning.

I’ve also been going through some huge inner turmoil over leaving Berlin. I had considered seeking my freelance visa and staying here for a few years, but in truth, I miss my friends and family and the Canadian dollar is destroying my savings account here in Europe. It’s time to go home.

The arrival of June 1st also means it’s my last month of living in Berlin, and my last month of my 20s.

I don’t mind turning 30 but I feel at a loss over where the past decade went. I spent the first half of my 20s at university, or working as a tech writer, and overdosing on fun with my friends. And I miss that. I’ve made beautiful friendships in Berlin but my lifelong friends are my life tether. The same goes for my family. Why do I place so much distance between us?

Goodbye Italy

Things have changed so much in such a short amount of time. I left home before one of my best friends became pregnant. I missed her entire pregnancy, and when I return, she’ll have a baby. I’m not okay with missing out on such a huge life event. I’m just not okay with that.

Ultimately, I belong in Newfoundland. Germany helped me to see that.

(Even if I don’t settle right away. I’m looking to Ireland —  or maybe Rome.)

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering where my life is headed, as I’m sure we all have. I have three weddings to attend once I arrive back in St. John’s, and they’re all some of my dearest friends. People I lived with for years. We couldn’t be more different — they have solid careers and homes. Kids. Loving partnerships. I’m almost 30 and I’ve never even been in love.

But I’m genuinely happy, for what might be the first time in my life. Living abroad has taught me more about gratitude in one year than my entire 29 years.

It’s hard to explain how this happened. When you’re surrounded by social conventions that tell you how to live, you end up feeling like a failure for not meeting those standards. I’ve spent a lot of time chewing on this, rather than enjoying where I am.

Happiness doesn’t have to come with a lover, a child, or a new house. And if it does, that’s okay too.

I am absolutely not ready to leave this freedom behind. I’m not even done exploring Italy — possibly the greatest place on earth — never mind the rest of the world. I haven’t tapped into Asia or Africa. I have barely begun scratching the surface.

So what next?

Well, I move back to Canada on July 1st. That means I’m going to live the last month of my 20s like the rest of it — a drunken glorious mess. It’s summer in Germany. There’s no better place to feel free.

When I move back to Canada I won’t be renting an apartment again. Not yet. I’ll finish writing my Newfoundland guidebook and I have three gazillion stories to write about Italy and Spain and Germany. I’m adrift and I’m in love with it, but there’s still potential for a career change.

I’m also broke as balls. You know what’s cheap? Not Italy.

Basically: I’m almost 30. I have nothing figured out. Life is amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be living. That’s what I’ve learned in the past decade.

  • June 01 2016

    I think “Ultimately, I belong in Newfoundland.” is the motto for all Newfoundlanders! Can’t wait to see your guidebook as heading back to the island is our usual vacation spot every year (of course until we move back!). I am going to Gros Morne in 3 weeks… any suggestions??

  • June 01 2016

    I LOVE THIS! First of all, can’t believe that we were actually born on the same day of the SAME YEAR. What a small world! So, I can relate to much of this, turning 30 myself.

    It’s funny you mention that readers could be sick of seeing the same rambling stories about travelers, and how we’re all lost and wandering around. I adore these kinds of posts, they are such a window to each individual’s soul. And when you think about it, every human on this planet is pretty much lost and wandering around.

    It sounds like you have a good plan for your months ahead. It’s never too late to completely change your life and career either. It’s all open for you. And I totally agree to not let anyone define you. Social norms? Bah. You’re living a dream life! (Me too! Even if we’re both broke AF!)

    xx Amy

    • June 01 2016
      Candice

      I KNOW, hilarious!!! Hahaha.

      And I’m so glad you say that. :) Sometimes I find it hard to be open about the struggles with my lifestyle because I lead such a privileged life, and I’m very aware of it. But yeah, I do love it when writers are honest too.

  • June 01 2016

    I’m turning 40 this year and I don’t feel like I have much figured out yet either. I think if someone says they have it all figured out they are lying to you and lying to themselves.

    But anyway..

    Whether you’re in Italy or Newfoundland, you will be exploring because you are an explorer! As am I. I don’t globe trek, but I never stop exploring the place that I live and by doing this I know a hell of a lot about Colorado!

    There will always be something for you to discover whether it’s in Africa, Ireland or your backyard. And because you are you, you will find it and share it in the most unique and funny way possible.

    Keep on exploring, girlfriend! I follow very few travelers via social media because quite frankly they all sound the same, but I’ll follow you as long as you keep on trekking, whether it’s in Canada or abroad because you have the gift of storytelling, which is rare.

    Keep on telling the stories and I’ll keep on being your Colorado fan girl, Candice!

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      I love that you’re such a fan of my writing, it means the world to me! Thanks Heidi!

  • June 01 2016

    You know, I really love this. Literally yesterday I was reading about your adventures in Italy. I sat on my couch with my dog, nearly 8 months pregnant and for a moment I wanted nothing on earth but to trade places with you and be free and single and wander around beautiful Italy and drink wine and eat pasta and just be careless and free.
    Of course that’s never how it actually is right? And the grass is always so so much greener.
    Anyways, I think it’s fine not to know what you want to do next. When I turned 30 I felt pretty similar, like I couldn’t really see my travel-rich twenties as anything cohesive or draw out the meaning in it. It was a great time, but what was the lesson?I’ll be 32 in October and I still don’t really know what the next step is for me, but I’m trying not to stress. I think that only comes with more time and just pressing ahead.
    All to say, growing up is hard dammit.

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      Ha! The grass really is greener, isn’t it?! Don’t be too envious, I’m broke as heck. ;)

      But yeah. I really went through that recently. I’m like, what am I doing that’s meaningful? Am I creating anything meaningful? I don’t know. Why do we have to be meaningful? Life is hard.

      • June 04 2016
        grace b

        Just want to chime in and say as someone who spent a lot of the last two years DEEP in the “new age/self help” rabbit hole — keep the rituals/stuff you like and forget about the rest! I can’t believe how much time I was wasted caring about my emotions and believing every thought in my head to the detriment of my own forward motion! So, I agree things don’t always HAVE to have meaning, they can just “be”. :)

        • June 06 2016
          Candice

          SO true.

  • June 01 2016

    You’re back to Canada on Canada Day – perfect timing wouldn’t you say? :)

    Although I am not a nomad, I feel the same way regarding all that life stuff. Many of my friends are getting married and here I am, single, traveling the world every chance I get. I have come to realize it’s all a matter of choice: they’re living their life and I’m DEFINITELY living mine – it’s all good!

    Happy early birthday, Candice! Enjoy the 30s, I hear they’re better than the 20s! ;)
    Pauline recently posted…The Long Way to Machu Picchu

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      Right?!

      Yeah, learning to shake free from those preconditioned notions of what “growing up” means is a challenge. But who wants to grow up anyway?

  • June 01 2016
    LC

    Haha it’s summer in England too and it’s 13 degrees and raining. o_0 You go gurl, party like it’s 1999!
    LC recently posted…Escaping City Life for Costa Rica

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      Hahaha sunshine in Berlin! Woot.

  • June 01 2016
    Jo

    Hi Candie,
    I just came across your blog and want to say I think it’s great. I wish I were turning 30 – my husband and I are in our 50s…we’re just starting to travel the world and it’s great (just a bit more exhausting)- we’re also broke (sorry to our grown kids) but that’s our dilemma and the older you get the more you realize you really need to live life in the moment. BTW we saw NFLD for the first time last year (Dec) and loved it and would like to visit again :) All the best from Ontario.

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      Jo, thanks for your wonderful comment, and thank you for reading! It’s never too late to travel, right? It makes me happy when people go for it.

  • June 01 2016

    Yes. So. Much. Yes. I know exactly how you feel; it’s how I felt when I knew I wanted to be back in Vegas after being an expat. So proud of you and excited for this next chapter!!
    Diana Edelman recently posted…A Weekend at Laguna Beach’s Pacific Edge Hotel

    • June 02 2016
      Candice

      Thanks D, and I’m so happy you’ve found contentment in Vegas!!

  • June 02 2016

    I’ve loved reading about your travels. I live vicariously through but I can’t wait for your guidebook. Newfoundland is on my bucket list but no plans will be made til I have your book in hand.

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      That’s so kind of you, thanks Julie! Okay, pressure is on. I MUST finish this book! Haha.

  • June 02 2016
    Hope

    I love how candid you are about the best and worst parts of being on the road. A lot of people only share the picture-perfect side of traveling but I always appreciate how candid you are about everything. Keep doing what you love–there’s no better feeing in the world!

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Thank you Hope, that’s such a wonderful thing to say! I value honesty more than anything in travel writing, so I’m glad to know I’m not alone

  • June 02 2016

    Thank you so much for this inspirational post!
    I really needed to hear this today.

    Happy birthday, you deserve it!

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Thank you, Dana!

  • June 02 2016

    I gasped way too loud when I read that you might leave travel behind. I’m SO glad Spain changed that. Spain is my happy place, and England, and probably Ireland once I visit for the first time later this year ;)

    You’re one of my favorite writers and I can’t wait until you move to Rome and write those books! But for now, enjoy home <3
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted…London Hotel Series – Part 1: Luxury Hotels

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Aww man, best comment ever! Hahaha I can’t believe I made you gasp. Thanks!<3

  • June 02 2016

    I love this post, Candice! I can relate to so much of what you said here – I’d like to think I’m just adrift and loving it as well ;). Looking forward to your Spain and Italy posts!
    Ashley recently posted…On One Year in Edinburgh

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Thanks so much, Ashley! I think it’s too easy to get wrapped up in what-am-i-doing-and-what-is-my-future. I mean, it deserves consideration. Just not to the point you’re too panicked to value the present.

  • June 04 2016
    Pike M

    Word! I reckon the eternal ‘figuring out’ of stuff beats saying (to others or yourself?) ‘I’ve figured it out and it’s xyz’, then having a crisis ten years down the line. Being honest with yourself is a hard thing sometimes, but it’s good in the long run.

    There’s no perfect way to live your life. Whether you roam or settle down, have babies or stay childless, etc, you choose some things over other things, and it’s a compromise. The important thing is to look deep into yourself and make your choices based on what you need, not on what others say you’re supposed to need.

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Ditto! You’d think in our modern times everyone would be a little more accepting of such choices, but I guess that’s not always the case.

  • June 04 2016
    grace b

    Hi Candace! I’ve been reading your blog for like a gazillion years and I couldn’t be more excited to keep reading! I too, have been craving being closer to family and some of my oldest friends (though they are only a 3 hour plane trip away) lately. Even though I live in a city I love I wonder if I went “home” (and convinced my fiance-soon-to-be-husband) again how I would interact with that landscape/community differently than I did when I was SO ready to leave at 22 (now 27). Also these days I dream about a stable job with a regular paycheck…kinda feels insane.

    Can’t wait to see more of your Canadian exploring! I’ll get up there one day…

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      Aww thank you Grace, and for being such a loyal reader! I miss my family and friends so much, even if it’s hard to say bye to Berlin. Berlin will always be here — moments with loved ones are precious.

  • June 06 2016

    Love this. Nothing like going far away to realize where home is :) And happy almost birthday, birthday twin!
    Caroline recently posted…Making Water Filters with Wine to Water

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      No kidding! And I forgot we were birthday twins, haha. Wo! :)

  • June 06 2016

    I love this, Candice.

    “Life is amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be living.”

    I’ve been thinking exactly this for the last few months. Why do other people’s pressures sometimes make us unhappy with our choices that we were perfectly happy making in the first place? Looking forward to reading what’s next on your adventures, whatever they may be.
    Laura recently posted…On Long Distance Love

    • June 06 2016
      Candice

      It’s a topic that’s worth exploring further for sure. Sometimes I think social media is responsible for so many of the reasons why we’re unhappy. And here I’ve made a life out of it! Hahaha. Thanks, Laura.

  • June 07 2016

    Happy almost 30th Candice. As someone who is almost 32 I can’t say I’m close to figuring out where I want to be, but you seem to be following your own bliss. More than anything that’s the only thing that will ever work for anyone.

    • June 17 2016
      Candice

      True dat! Thanks Alouise.

  • June 23 2016

    Hi Candice! I really love this post.

    I lived in England for school 5 years ago, and this May I was finally able to travel back and spend a lot of time in Ireland and visit friends in London. (These are Canadian friends who I met on the study abroad who have since moved back to the UK.) Going back to the UK and Ireland was on my list for so long that maybe I was romanticizing it a bit… my first week back in Ireland I was thinking that I should call Air Canada and extend my trip by a couple weeks at least. Then by the end of the trip in London with friends, I was having fun but I was missing things about Toronto (where I’m from) SO MUCH. Part of me will always want to move to Ireland I think, and it’s so hard to reconcile that side with the side that is infatuated with my own city and that needs to be near family and friends.

    I totally understand how you feel about needing to go back to Newfoundland. The wanderlust never really goes away, but it’s hard to miss things at home, and miss time with loved ones. If you ever figure out a happy medium please let me know what that is! Haha. Also if you do ever move to Ireland, take me with you. I swear to God, one or two years living back here at home and I’ll be raring to go.

    • July 03 2016
      Candice

      I’m back in Newfoundland now and I’m DYING to go back to Germany! Hahaha. Oh my goodness. Aren’t we complicated creatures?!

  • August 01 2016
    Frances

    I loved this post. I feel the same way about life– overwhelmed with joy to the point of tears, as you say, but also entirely confused and rather directionless, when it comes to a long-term plan. Figuring out where you belong and what you want– and moreover, accepting that your conclusions are okay, no matter what they are– is such a huge step in the right direction, whatever direction that may be. Also, I just came across your blog; I love travel, too, and have just begun to explore Canada! Cheers to summer birthdays (and turning 30 this year– me, too)!

    • August 02 2016
      Candice

      Thanks so much for your awesome words, Frances! Now that I’m back in Newfoundland, I find myself slipping easily back into my old lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I find my judgment often clouded by what others around me are doing. Happy explorations!

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