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.
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?
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.