What am I supposed to do now with the broken pieces of my life? I don’t know.
In 2015 I was working a nine-to-five cubicle job and living the corporate life; it was a confusing time in my life. Seemingly, I had everything I thought I needed at the time: a cozy apartment that felt like home, a good job with a steady income, a stable routine, and a tight-knit group of friends. However, despite the apparent security and comfort of my life I felt lost, uninspired, and unsettled. Unsettled because I have always been a dreamer and an artist at heart and there is nothing more unnerving for someone like me than a routine centered around a nine-to-five office job.
I needed a change and not just any change, I needed a life-altering change. One that would rock me to my core, push me out of my comfort zone, and flip me inside out and expose me to who, I was sure, I was meant to be. I desired the freedom to explore, fly, create, and play with my dreams; I wanted to jump from country to country, discover, and learn. I wanted to be fearless and push my boundaries like I never had before because I knew that at the end of the road, wherever that might be, I was going to be a different person. I was going to be the truest version of me.
It never occured to me that I could fail.
Let me take you further back to when I was eight or nine years old, it was then when I began to daydream about traveling the world. I fantasized about being an adventurer, I had a thirst for knowledge and history and one day I was going to walk the quaint, narrow streets of Italy and experience the majestic presence of the pyramids of Egypt. I had no doubt, it was an innate feeling, at that tender age I knew that one day I would visit these countries and travel the world.
So, in 2015 I packed my belongings and left everything I had ever known behind: my home, my friends, my financial security, and my comfort zone. I drove to my parent’s home to drop off my things for safekeeping and to say goodbye. It was done, there was no turning back, I had a plane ticket to Amsterdam booked—my first stop—and my backpack packed. I was ready to walk into the unknown.
For the next three months I backpacked through Europe, including Italy of course. I then flew to Uganda, Africa where I volunteered at an impoverished orphanage for three months. After Africa I flew to Cambodia to volunteer as an English teacher for young kids in a small village. I was not following an itinerary, I was simply allowing things to unfold, however that might be, wherever that might take me I went with the flow. I visited many other countries in between these and after two years of mindless traveling I knew that I did not want to stop. I was determined to find a sustainable way to keep traveling, to keep discovering myself, and to keep pursuing that illusion of finding who “I was meant to be.” During this time I began to think of and plan different ways that I could generate an income that would sustain my nomadic lifestyle. I have always been a creative person, therefore thinking of ways to make a living was not going to be a problem. I had what felt like a million and one ideas.
Well, I failed at every single one of those ideas.
Teaching English abroad? I failed. Teaching English online? I failed. Becoming an Instagram travel influencer? I failed. Using Upwork, Fiverr, and similar platforms? I failed. Finding random, odd jobs? I failed. Becoming a freelance writer? I failed. And so forth, it was almost two years of failed attempts. Why did I fail? I don’t know. Did I not try hard enough? Is it me? Is there something wrong with my character? What am I doing wrong? Am I quitting on myself if I don’t keep trying? I don’t have the answers to these questions but they have been lingering in my mind fervently.
Presently, I am writing this while sitting at a cafe in Central Europe, with a return flight back home booked and an almost empty bank account. This is it, this is the moment that I never anticipated, this is the reality that I did not know would hit me like a tsunami of cold water. What next? When it feels like I have been stripped of my sense of self, been left blank and without color, and full of uncertainty. What next? I don’t know.
I left everything to travel the world and I failed. However, I must admit that life gave me exactly what I asked for: a life-altering change, one that would rock me to my core, push me out of my comfort zone, and flip me inside out and expose me to who I was meant to be. And who was I meant to be? No one other than the person I was in 2015 and no one other than the person that I am today. The acceptance of this has been my biggest lesson. What began as an inner journey of self discovery unexpectedly turned into a journey of spiritual awakening and I have nothing left to do but to attempt to gracefully lay to rest on my sense of “failure.” Where I will remain open to witness the broken pieces of my life remain broken until they organically and without disturbance fall into place.