I have found myself in many extremes in the last seven months, but this one is, perhaps, the most unexpected.
It started back in January when I made a decision that completely changed the course I had been on. I was originally planning on heading to Australia from Bali and keeping myself busy (with a job) until my Northern Irish boyfriend, Mike, finished his job and met me. However, we had already gone three months without seeing each other by the time I was leaving Bali, and there was no departure date in sight from his employer, a public entity not known for its swift hiring process. We decided we’d rather see each other rather than to wait another 3+ months to be together, so I switched everything up and, as of January 30th, have been back in Europe.
Coming from a long stretch of constant movement, constant exploration, and never getting too comfortable in one place, I can’t stress how wonderful it feels to be in a real home again. It might not be in the USA, but Mike’s little cottage in a village of outside of Belfast is the perfect respite I needed and didn’t even know I would have.
It’s strange to think that 1/4 of my year will have been spent in a location completely out of the way of where I thought I would be. I’ve been given three unintentional months in Northern Ireland, which (so far) have proven to be a blessing in disguise. I showed up without any warm clothes, as I ditched all my warmer layers in Sweden (thinking I wouldn’t be back in this type of climate – especially not in February). I wasn’t sure how long I’d spend here – originally my flight was only for a three week stopover, but I’ve extended the length of my stay twice since then. And now Mike and I will be on the same flights to Sydney – starting the new adventure together just feels right.
This lengthy rest period has offered me so much, but it’s also eighty days I didn’t plan on being unemployed, eighty days I didn’t plan on being in the winter, eighty days semi-stranded in a village with nothing much to do. In most situations, I wouldn’t be able to handle this much isolation and free time, but I am thrilled with it. When in anyone’s adult life do they get to have multiple months to rest and just be without any major financial repercussions or responsibilities? It’s such a rare opportunity.
As a result of all this openness, my brain is spilling over with ideas, thoughts, and feelings about what I have just done and what I’m doing. However, since I arrived in Ireland, I’ve been completely unable to communicate about what I’ve experienced. And the thing is: I need the release of writing now – I crave it. And my blog has become my home away from home, moving along with me. I’m able to go to it anytime and focus on that space, giving me a little break from being in another country, culture, or out of my comfort zone. My difficulty communicating for the past six weeks has been really off-putting for this reason. I want to keep building this digital home and to share all the crazy stories I’ve been holding onto, but I just can’t seem to access them like I could when I was on the road.
I’ve attempted to write almost every day in the past months and have only been successful conveying a thought a handful of times. At the moment, I have about twenty posts swimming in my head at once. I’m not even exaggerating that number – I have a list and about six of them half finished. However, anytime I sit down to write, my idea gets fogged up with other information, doubts, distractions, and a general lack of motivation. As a result, I’m only collecting concepts and not getting any of them communicated. It’s maddening.
There are plenty of reasons for me to have complete and utter writer’s block. One is that I’m exhausted – I traveled solo, with my guard constantly up, for five months straight. During that time, I spent no longer than two weeks in a single location (and staying that long was a rare event). Another reason for this difficulty is that I am in a real home again – I am cozy and back to something a lot closer to my previous life than I’ve found anywhere else. I’m back in my comfort zone and, as a result, I am not in need of the same amount of real-time processing and synthesizing of experiences. And the third reason is that I am in love. I’m finally with the guy I met way back when and we’re finally living in a real, day-to-day relationship with all the mundane details that come along with that. And I’m soaking them all up – from doing the dishes to teaching him family card games – I am so content that it’s hard to want to leave that mental space and go back to being alone or uncomfortable, even for a moment.
I keep getting signs that this is a time of rest. A time which should be enjoyed and not ruined with “shoulds.” However, I don’t know how to just be for almost three months straight.
I find myself in this exhausting, silly cycle – I try to write, open five documents trying to convey the same concept in different ways and fail at each one; I stay up half the night stressing about it. I try doing other items to keep myself busy, but I ultimately feel like a bit of a failure each day that I don’t get a concept communicated clearly and I’m beginning to get frustrated by my new ideas, rather than inspired and excited.
I try to work against this though. I have begun to meditate daily. I’ve tried to work yoga into each day (with about 50% success). I take long walks and keep my eyes open for spots to sit and enjoy my beautiful surroundings. I try to disconnect from technology and write in a notebook. I try reading a book to get out of my own head. I try going to coffee shops, like I did when I blogged throughout the other thirteen countries I’ve been to. I try new types of exercise, like doing laps in a pool. I go to my boyfriend’s parents house and chat with them for hours. I’m not sure how to regain the clarity I felt while I was moving around, because none of this seems to be helping.
Mike’s mom, Doreen is continuously giving me faith that the fog I’m in right now is meant to be; that this energy I’m building is meant to be used for something later on. Instead of my old habits, I am supposed to be tapping into new outlets, resting, and enjoying the simplicity of the way things are right now. And, most of the time, I am able to keep this in perspective. I know that if I don’t take advantage of this moment, I’ll always look back and think how silly I was – how you can always find something wrong.
Re-entering my comfort zone also means that leaving it, even mentally, is a heck of a lot harder than it once was. I wish I could tie this post up with a bow, like I normally do with my posts, but unfortunately I can’t do that. I’m still in the midst of it – a place I don’t normally share from. I hope I’ll be able to unlock the memories and stories from the past three months that I have yet to share, but until then, you get an abrupt, unsatisfactory ending.
What do you do when you can’t think or communicate clearly?