Today I left home. When I began traveling in 2017 I (over)packed for ten weeks of adventures which included yoga, paddling, and backpacking with my cousin. Little did I know that those 10 weeks eventually became 19 months and counting. I quit my job in June of last year when I decided I would stay in Asia. I had only been back to Panama in March for a surprise whirlwind visit to celebrate my grandparents and this time I was home for three months.
I think one of the main problems about choosing this lifestyle is that others assume you are on a permanent holiday. I freelance in outdoor education, which means I’m constantly looking for the next job and income. I came to Panama for a long period of time but I knew my last weeks would be busy working as a summer camp director. To my pleasant surprise however, when I arrived I was offered a job I could do remotely working for my mothers school. This meant that the moment I got home I began working two jobs…while trying to see my friends, and enjoy the company of my grandparents. More than once I got comments or complaints about not having enough time for people even though it felt as if I was tearing myself into pieces to be able to do everything. I love being home but it is also exhausting. It was something I felt when I lived here before – that no matter what I did I was always disappointing someone or time was never enough to do everything I wanted or agreed to. Even now, as I’m 11.000 meters above the ocean halfway to Miami to meet my nephew I feel it.
I didn’t see my friends as much, I didn’t go to the beach, I didn’t spend enough time with my family. And I wonder and try to work with myself to see what I DID do, the moments I WAS able to live and the things I learned and experienced along the way. It’s hard for me to not be beating myself up and it’s something I have identified and want to work on. I believe it comes in hand with that feeling of not being enough, of not loving myself, of not prioritizing my needs and self-care in order to please everyone and do everything. I have many, many friends, people I feel a deep connection with and whom I wish I could spend more time with but the feeling of it never being enough and it always being on me is tiring. I don’t have an 8-5 job, when I’m on program I work between 15-16h a day being 100% mentally alert and present. I work online which means I can do both jobs but it takes a toll on sleep and free time. I do not live in a permanent holiday and I don’t have the time as if I were. Yes, I travel, I move around, my office can be the jungle one day or the bottom of the sea and it’s something I enjoy and appreciate. But it is still a job, it comes with responsibilities, with worries of instability and the necessity of managing time wisely.
Again, I have a love-hate relationship with time…I’ve learned how valuable it is and at the same time it’s made me feel that there’s never enough of it. There is never enough time spent with family, never enough dinners with friends, never enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. And this conflict I have with time simply comes alive more when I’m home. When I agree to so many more things that I should, where life simply moves at a different speed and people live a different lifestyle. I guess that’s why I want to stay away at the moment…Because I know I am not ready to deal with the lifestyle and be able to make myself happy. So, I surround myself of people that have a similar mentality, that live a slow paced life, that force me to calm down and be present. I want to find that balance, I want to be able to be at home and not feel this numbing rush where it simply becomes so overwhelming that I kind of shut off…I feel alienated from reality and simply lose myself in the daily things and stress. I know what my parents – and others reading this – might think, “oh you milleanials just can’t deal with frustrations and stress” if that’s the label you want to give me then fine but how many of you actually manage to have that presence and that connection with yourself? If you can and you have found that thing that just “flows” and connects you then im happy for you. Me, on the other hand, can’t find it in the hustle bustle city life of events.
This text has shifted completely from what it was intended, I vented out a big frustration I’ve been feeling and in the end that’s what writing is for me…a window, an escape. So if you’ve read so far thanks for hearing me out and if I wasn’t able to see you or talk to you while being home please know I wanted to and that even though im halfway around the world a little piece of my heart is always with those whom I love and I’m only a phonecall away.
I start this new chapter of life abroad nervous, homesick but also excited about what’s to come. 2019 feels unpredictable and somehow my over-organized self feels OK about that.