What Leaving It All Behind Has Taught Me
It’s been almost a year since I sold every last thing I owned and set out on the open road with no plan and no idea what the hell I was in for. It’s been the scariest, craziest, most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I’ve cried more tears in this last year than I even thought I could produce but I’ve also smiled in ways I never have before. Through the struggle and the hard times, I’ve learned lessons that have fundamentally changed who I am and made me a better and stronger woman.
I’ve realized the excitement of new cities and experiences wears off after a while. The euphoria of being free as a bird only lasts so long. Reality always sets in and eventually you have to dig deeper into the reasons you’re always on the move.
I’ve learned that “home is where the heart is” is far more real and true than we think. You will never be happy in any city or town until you’re truly happy with who you are and what you’re doing in this world.
I’ve learned that you have to break and hit rock bottom before you can truly see yourself for who you are the power you possess.
I’ve learned that the people who tell you the ugly truths as often as they build you up are the ones worth keeping.
I’ve learned that the art of patience and surrender is much, much more difficult than people make it out to be. Patiently waiting to hear back about a job when you have no money in your account and have no idea what you’re going to eat that day is humblingly painful.
I’ve learned that the darkest, loneliest times are often the ones we need most. The nights you spend in a new city and know absolutely no one and your internet won’t work so you can’t even call your mom to ease the loneliness force you to get to know yourself just a little bit better. Learning to love your own company and not needing to fill the void will allow you to value yourself in ways you never have before.
With that said, I’ve also learned that no matter how alone you feel when you’re somewhere new or on the road you are absolutely not alone. The more I talk to other backpackers the more I realize that we’re all feeling relatively the same. Next time you feel like you’re in this alone, smile at the person across the way in the cafe as you slowly sip your $5 coffee that you know you can’t afford. Start a conversation and you’ll realize just how much the nomads have in common and, even more so, how much we need each other.
There is no moment more powerful than standing in front of a raging ocean, while the waves lap at your feet, and saying to yourself, “I let go of everything that doesn’t serve me” and throwing it to the sea for her to wash away.
Being immersed in nature will recharge and reconnect you more powerfully than a good night's sleep. The experiences that are so rich you forget to snap a picture are the ones you’ll remember more vividly than anything else.
I’ve learned the power of trusting yourself even in the silliest of moments is more empowering than getting it right the first time. When Google Maps isn’t working or your battery has died and you have no way of knowing where you are- it’s these moments when you say to yourself, “I’ve got this”, and you find your hostel three hours later on your own and you feel ready to take on the world; after you sleep for 10 hours from exhaustion.
I’ve learned that it takes time before you truly feel comfortable somewhere and that sometimes it takes pure commitment to a place or an experience before you can get to the best parts.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that no matter what, no matter the distance or how long it’s been, your best friend and your family will always be there no matter what. Even if it’s just to talk you out of buying a flight home because it’s gotten too hard or too much. They know your courage and they know your heart. They believe in you and they will continue to be there forever and always.