Welcome to my online travel journal. Today is the first of September and I’m just days away from embarking on the biggest travel adventure of my life (so far).
An alternate name for this blog was “I don’t know what I’m doing”. By way of introduction: I grew up in America. Over five years ago I moved to Switzerland for a job and ended up staying for love. I’ve been living with my boyfriend for over four years now. We have a fantastic life in Zürich – good jobs, a lovely apartment, wonderful friends. We have been very happy together, and I’ve been very happy with my life here in Switzerland.
But starting last year, something began to feel like it was missing. Where before I had delighted in the smallest details of my life overseas, I found that the sparkle had gone out of even the nicest experiences. Somehow, I had gotten trapped in a never-ending cycle of ‘shoulds’ and obligations. My time no longer felt like my own and I felt increasingly that my true self existed more and more on the outskirts of my own life.
I’m still not entirely sure how this happened. I had a very demanding job that took a lot of time and energy. There are certain aspects of Swiss life that can be a bit rigid (Sunday means stores are closed and doing laundry is forbidden, for example. And making plans with friends and family, you usually have to get into their calendar at least a couple of weeks in advance, if not longer.). I also have a tendency to over-commit myself in a need to make others happy. All of these things probably contributed, but even when feeling stressed, I could still see the good in my life – I just no longer felt it. Maybe it was simply time for a change. All I know is that one day in December I was on my yoga mat in class and this voice inside me said loud and clear and totally undeniably: something’s got to give. The seed was planted and my heart started to move towards change. Easter weekend, my boyfriend and I were sitting at the station cafe by our apartment when we decided.
Traveling the world is something we’ve talked about doing since we met, something we’d thought about individually even before we met, but for various reasons, we hadn’t been able to make it happen – until now. We’ve chucked our corporate jobs, given up our apartment and are saying our goodbyes to the people we love. Friday I’ll be taking a one-way flight to India (boyfriend will meet me there three weeks later). The first three to four weeks of the trip are planned. After that we’ll just make it up as we go – destination, activities, duration all up to how we feel and where the journey leads us.
As I can’t say why my life as it was wasn’t working anymore, I also don’t know what I hope to do or find out there in the big world. Like I said, I don’t know what I’m doing.
I don’t know how long or how far we will travel. I don’t know how I will react to the lands and cultures I have never experienced before. I don’t know how we’ll spend our time. I don’t know how I’ll handle being essentially homeless. I don’t know how the travel will affect our relationship and if we’ll come out the other end stronger as a couple or ready to go our separate ways. I don’t know where we’ll land when it’s over, where we will live or how we will earn a living. But, I do have hopes for how it will feel (honest, open, relaxed, joyful), and I know that every step taken since December has let me feel more like myself, more honest, more open, more relaxed, more joyful. And even though I don’t know what I’m doing now, I do know I’ll figure it out along the way.