“I don’t feel thankful to the universe. It’s mean.” Yes, I actually said those words. I was in Buenos Aires, a city I dreamed of since playing ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’ as a child, and I was having a strop. Steve was in San Francisco talking about the splendour of the universe and I was metaphorically stamping my foot because I had no idea what to do with my life.
In fact, I was so clouded by trying to work out what I should be doing, and dwelling on what had happened before, that I had stopped being able to see what was happening right there and then.
The force of habit
That scene happened a few weeks back, during my five weeks alone in Buenos Aires, and a little over a month into our trip. Up until then, I had been caught up in the excitement of leaving but, when left to my own devices in the city, I panicked. What was I doing? Why had I left a respectable and coveted job? How was I going to make a living? Was I being grossly irresponsible?
I started to look for freelance jobs in work I knew I could do but didn’t like. I was re-creating a life I could have had in London. I was turning to safety and it was making me miserable. This wasn’t how the great escape was meant to play out.
Then one Sunday, as I stepped out onto a sunny autumn day in Palermo and shared some maté and Spanish chatter with my housemate, I looked out from my cloud of anxiety and rediscovered where I was and what I was doing. I woke up to the moment and rejoiced in it.
Leaving is only the first step
I’m here on this journey because I wasn’t satisfied in London. I had an inkling and an itch to explore. It was a risk leaving the UK and the secure path I’d safely paved, but that was only the first step. Once in the dream, it wasn’t a magical transformation into perfection. I may be in incredible surroundings but I still have my habits and anxieties, my past, and my concerns for the future. Having stepped off the pavement, the possibilities of what I could do are mind-boggling, and sometimes the temptation back to habit is strong – but my desire to find something else is stronger.
That day in Buenos Aires as I struggled with the biggest of questions – ‘what do I want to do with my life’ – and vented my frustration on the universe, I was caught in a muddle of impatience. The answer to that question can only come from learning what makes you happy right now. So my resolution is to learn to live in the moment. For me, that doesn’t mean not having goals or responsibilities. I still need to work and think about making a living, but my priority is to make sure that’s what I want to do, rather than what I think I should. So I’ve stopped trawling the freelance sites and have started work on my blogs and another idea I have been quietly thinking of for some time. It may or may not work, and it’s a risk, but right now, in this moment, it’s my dream and I’m granting myself the time to try and realise that.
So here’s to less tantrums and mighty thanks to the universe.
Have you had similar struggles on your travels?