I Wish There Was A Guidebook For Life

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I have to write these posts periodically or I lose my mind. They’re not aimed at anyone in particular, I just need a place to get things out my head. (Also more posts about Sri Lanka will be coming soon…).

This year has been a nightmare. I feel like I always have 101 thoughts whirling around my head like a tornado. Being in education was easier. There was always some kind of clear cut goal, a deadline, and someone to guide you along. Since graduating there has been no-one to tell me what to do. And wow, you don’t realise how immature you really are until you finally have to go ahead alone.

My mind has bat back and forth between ideas and visions. As detailed on a previous post, when I returned home in October I had dreams to temp and save enough money to continue travelling. But the longer I stayed at home and worked the more settled I became. I met a kind and lovely Frenchman who reminded me how wonderful it could be to have a relationship. My idea of returning to South America began to disintegrate. But then, as the months went on and the temp work continued to be fairly uninspiring, I began to think of wild ideas of travelling across Venezuela, Colombia, anywhere that wasn’t my city. I got through the dull days imagining all the fantastic things I could be doing back in South America. I became self-absorbed, dreaming only of escaping, forgetting those around me. I put strain on the relationship carelessly talking about going away for months on end as though it was no big deal. I sometimes would have moments when I had doubts about what my goal really was. Sometimes I’d feel like I was wasting my time, that I should be getting back on track and focussing on my true goal, of developing a career in design and illustration. These months have been frustrating. I am someone who likes to have goals, but god, my head will not let me pick just one.

It wasn’t until I travelled to Sri Lanka for two weeks with my mom that I began to realise what I’d been doing this year. I’d become more confident, perhaps too much, and what I had thought was independence was actually me becoming selfish. Whilst we travelled from place to place I thought practically about what I’d been doing. I’d been temping in odd jobs to earn thousands of pounds, with the only goal being to blow it all on a two to three month trip. What was the point in it all? Travel is amazing but there is no point if it is just meaningless, if it is just an addiction and nothing more.

Because I think that’s what it has become to me.

I saved for six years for my dream trip of travelling across South America for three months, and I did it, and it was life changing. I will never forget that true feeling of happiness that night I watched the endless lightning play across the sky, alone on that overnight bus in Argentina. I will never forget the wonderful people I met from across the world. The trip cost me almost £7000 in savings and I will never regret it, because it helped me grow from a shy girl into a confident ‘woman’. Everything I did was new and exciting and I have amassed enough stories to fill a lifetime. If I were to continue to do what I have been doing for most of this year since, it would defeat the point of that dream trip. That was meant to be the big one. Spending this year’s earnings on another trip would be cool, yes, but for what? I would lose my relationship, I would delay beginning my career even more. I have delayed moving on and growing up for too long. Travel is a sort of escapism and I have only just come to realise that is all it was.

I’d become addicted to feeling like I was a ‘somebody’ if I travelled.

Since returning from Sri Lanka I have changed my view on everything. I have decided against anymore long term travel, at least for the foreseeable future. I want a meaningful life. But now I have this view, my job has become frustrating. Before I was ok with bumbling along, making money for a future trip. Now all that seems pointless. Yes I’m making regular money but it is doing nothing for my chosen career. It pains me that it has taken so long to realise all this. I think I needed to be away from it all to finally gain a different perspective. Realising now that all work experience I’ve done in design is outdated, and so is my work, I need to go through a massive overhaul. I’m looking into making my job part time so I can search for placements in design studios. I need to rebrand myself, promote myself,  build contacts. I need to do all the things I should have started doing months ago.

Onwards and upwards!

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