Where were you last year, and what were you doing? How were you feeling? And seeing where you are now, how far did you come?
One year ago, exactly in August 2015, I was living in London and working in a terrible 9-6 job. It was terrible because it was a toxic environment, a place where not only you don’t feel like you’re progressing – in your career and as a human being – but you feel like you might be getting dumber every day, or may start to, if you carry on hanging out in this environment. On top of it, it was not a job “in my field”, which already adds terribility 1 to the situation even if the environment was great. Why do we stick out, then? “Because we need the money”? The truth is, the payment was shit. So not even money was a plausible excuse to stick around.
Speaking of toxic environments, the relationship area of my life wasn’t exactly “at least giving me something to be happy about”. No. One year ago, exactly in August 2015, I found out that my boyfriend/best friend was a psychopath. I’ll leave the answer to the invariable “oh, wow, what did he do?” for a different post (but if you want to know more about real-life psychopathy and even get help dealing with or realize you may be being abused by one, I recommend the life-saving website psychopathfree.com). But the point is, I had been psychologically abused for 4 years, and it all came to an end in an apotheotic and health-destroying finale.
I didn’t even have a safe space where to retreat to at home, since that precise month, as my flatmate was traveling, she decided to treat the house like a friggin’ AirB&B and invited a whole family to come stay in the house, for what initially would have been “2 weekends” and ended up being 2 full weeks. A whole family, with their bonds and their intimacies… and their vacation rhythms. Talk about feeling cornered in your own house.
I was putting up with it because it was part of a plan (except for the relationship bit, which was just something that happened to me) that I devised to have a completely different 2016, and ultimately, shake the cobwebs off my life.
Here was the plan: I needed to stay in this job 2, in London, for a year, to save money and go backpacking around the world, an old dream. I also wanted to redesign, resume and reinforce my artist career, add some entrepreneurial venture in the mix… and oh, finally, I wanted to learn how to play guitar – and piano (instruments that I did own and had been LITERALLY closeted for YEARS).
Now, a year later:
– I have currently traveled for 5 months around 6 countries;
– I’m working in an exciting artistic project in a 7th country, by the way, Australia, which happens to be my lifelong DREAM-COUNTRY;
– And what do you know, I have played guitar in front of an audience twice! Once whilst busking in Malaysia, and the other in a gig organized by Indonesian musicians (was I good? Of course not, I had been playing for less than year. But I went there and did it, WAY BEFORE I ever dreamt I would have the opportunity to, and this is what is magical about working towards the goals you’re really passionate about. Plus, it’s this jumping into the void of stretch zone, the one that comes right outside the comfort zone, what makes us develop faster into our full potentiality, whatever it may be).
– Apart from it, the travels turned out to be a journey, more than anything, where not only I lived incredible experiences, but even learned incredible skills along the way (DRIVING A FRIGGIN’ MOTORBIKE BEING MY FAVOURITE!).
Since during the travels many people have come to me to ask me all sorts of questions, from “how does it work, quitting your job and setting off to travel?”, “how much money do you need to save?”, to “is it safe for a girl to travel alone?”, to “what’s the best budget hostel in Bangkok?”, “what kind of shoes should I take on a trip like this?”, I’ll be sharing the best – and by best I mean practical and useful – of my experiences with you. And of course, the “hilarious”, “hilarious now-but-then-it-was-terrible” and not-so-glamorous stories, after all, it’s all part of the journey, and there’s no such thing as a rant-free or witty-observation-free life, no matter where in the world we are.
So enjoy the journey, and feel free to ask any question, tell your own story, or just say hi. And if something you read here inspires you to fulfil your dream, whatever it may be, feel free to reach out and count on us! After all, you are Free2Exist!
* I’m not the ultimate dream-realizing guru. I too am on this journey, with a bunch of dreams and goals of my own, and making progress in overcoming the issues and bad habits that have been, for years, preventing me from making them happen. I still have a long path to go. I’m sharing my thoughts on the process because this year, what I have marked as a concrete and great achievement, is finally the start of something I am proud of, something that I planned and worked hard to get, and this work has been producing good results.