History Catches Up

IMG_8926It’s hard to forget where you came from.  And sometimes it’s scary to also.

In my case, where I’m from, what I’ve done, and the life I lived up until leaving home in August – it’s all been pretty great.  I’m incredibly lucky.  However, I have one of those personalities that causes me to constantly be wondering what’s out there or who I’d be if {insert circumstance here}.  As a result, I question, I test, and I analyze the heck out of myself trying to get even an inch closer to a life that’s fulfilling every day.  This curiosity is 100% why I’m on this trip.

IMG_8874A couple of weeks ago, my sister and her fiancé visited me to travel Vietnam and Cambodia and they were the first people from home I’d seen in a very long time.  Seeing them was, in many ways, so wonderful and thrilling – I was able to let loose and lower my guard, play the silly card games only my family knows, and to visit one of the places I was most nervous about, Cambodia, with the comfort of family to debrief with.

However, during their visit,  I experienced something I didn’t expect.  We spent three nights on the island of Koh Rong Samloem at Lazy Beach – a little resort with simple bungalows, a beach surrounded by jungle, no internet, and electricity from 6pm to 6am to use for fans and lights.  Perhaps it’s because I had fewer escapes, perhaps it was the harsh reality I saw in Cambodia (which I’ll get into in a later post), perhaps it was remembering the feeling of being in the day-to-day lives of my family and showing them a snippet of my crazy lifestyle, but whatever it was – it hit me like a pile of bricks.  I became extremely anxious – more anxious than I had been at any other point during my whole trip.  I found myself conflicted – wanting to slip into the little sister role they both knew me as, but also wanting to honor the person I’d changed into during my time traveling.  This push and pull left me confused at who I had become and how to reconcile the differences while remaining totally present for their visit.

IMG_8884At the same time, my typical open travel plans had started making me more nervous than they used to and I began to feel the desire to wind my trip down but didn’t really know where to start.  Another stressor was the realization that the decisions I was in the process of making about my future would surely impact the rest of my life – most notably, my presence (or lack of presence) in the lives of friends and family.  I’m lucky to have such a supportive and understanding sister, because I was able to talk openly about my worries throughout these off days without guilt or judgment.

These feelings came as a complete surprise to me, as I’d been feeling totally confident and happy with my travel and myself up until that point.  It was a tough time, but once I worked through it, it was fruitful enough to get me into a new phase, of which I am still unsure how to label.

The longer I’m away, the more I’m able to distance myself from the definition I had of who I am.  I was scared I’d never want to move back home after this – and maybe I won’t.  I wasn’t sure what I’d want to be anymore when I quit my job – and I still don’t.  The way I defined myself before was a lot more concrete but it also was incredibly limiting.  I didn’t give myself license to change into something vague and unclear.  Now, I can say things like “maybe I’ll be a yoga teacher, maybe I’ll be a photographer, maybe I’ll be a writer, maybe I’ll be a CEO” and I don’t feel the need to preface it with a “this is never going to happen, but…” statement to whoever I discuss it with.  The unknown, which used to terrify me, is now a comfort – a world of opportunities to snatch up when the time comes.

Even things as small as habits feel questionable to me now.  I used to be the first person to make a quippy sarcastic comment or, in general, always had something to say.  I no longer feel the need to talk so much or to bring comedy into everything like I used to.  I’m not sure if that’s just because of my circumstances or if it’s just a way my personality has changed, but whatever it is, it’s ok for it to be different.

IMG_8290I’m not planning to make a proper New Year’s Resolution because frankly, it feels like it could be July to me – time has become irrelevant.  But, in general, I do want to focus on keeping this openness in my life, especially once I get back into a schedule.  My family isn’t holding me to any certain behaviors, so I don’t need to act any way but how I feel is right at that moment.  It’s an odd feeling, re-learning yourself with people from your past, but it’s also a great gauge – showing me that there’s clearly been something happening over the past months.

Forgetting where you came from is hard, but I think sometimes it’s necessary to become the person you are meant to be.



  1. Allison says:

    “I found myself conflicted – wanting to slip into the little sister role they both knew me as, but also wanting to honor the person I’d changed into during my time traveling.”

    One word: Yup.


  2. Rebecca says:

    “The longer I’m away, the more I’m able to distance myself from the definition I had of who I am.” I really like this and feel like the more you get out of your comfort zone it pushes you to be a person you never knew existed. It’s both amazing and scary. I really liked your post and you have lovely pictures!


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