November 1, 2017

Three Months In: Sabbatical Recap

Last week I hit my three-month anniversary of landing in Australia. I intended to publish this post on the actual anniversary but I’ve been struggling with what to say about it. I’m not sure how I should evaluate my time spent because I don't know what I should have accomplished by now. Did I think I would have unraveled life’s mysteries? Would I be sure of what to do next, sure of what my life is destined for? Because those notions are shot to hell – this little field trip has done nothing to point me in a singular direction. If anything, there are more things that I find intriguing. A plot of land with mango and avocado trees, yes, I could work that! Live on a boat and run tours to all the gorgeous places the world has to offer, yes, I could do that too! I can tell though, the longer I stay away from the corporate world, the less I feel bound to it. So I guess that’s some direction. While working on farms and staying in small towns, I’ve been exposed to people who are living full lives and have never held a corporate job. Hell, I’ve met people who haven’t held a steady job for over ten years and are living their best life yet. I’m by no means heading in that direction, but it makes me look at the idea of the American Dream in a different light.

Pretty content in all settings!

Even though I haven’t figured out the purpose of life in the last ninety days, I’ve at least added a lot of stars to my Blonde Mapped page. I’ve visited seven main regions and countless more towns. I’ve only been traveling through Queensland so far and I am completely in love. There are no metropolises insight and I’m shocked at how I could love a place so much without a city just around the corner. Before I arrived I thought I would really struggle with adjusting to rural life, but it’s been easy. Life is slower and the days seem longer. Honestly, most days I have no idea what day of the week it is. I don’t recall a time since I've arrived that I've felt stressed! I literally plan my life a day at a time, typically booking hostels and trains out of town the day before. Four months ago I would not have recognized this version of me. Having nothing but time on my hands definitely helps though. If I miss a hike or a restaurant I’ve flagged, there's no reason to fret. I can extend my room a day and do it tomorrow. That is not a luxury I normally have when on holiday or in my everyday life back in Chicago. 

A few days ago someone who has been traveling for over a year asked me, “What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get home?” And I frankly hadn’t thought about it until then. Three months doesn’t seem like enough time to miss something – other than people of course. Living out of a backpack makes it very apparent how little people actually need. If I sit and think about it the two things I truly miss (again aside from people) are Class Pass and dancing. I miss having a regular workout schedule, but that’s definitely something I can manage here. The dancing is a bit of a different story since I’m usually in remote towns and living with older couples. But I do take the chance when I’m actually backpacking and hanging out with other travelers. 

Three months in and there is nothing I'm craving, nothing I'm homesick about (although I'm sure the homesickness will set in as the holiday season kicks into gear). I haven't thought about what I'm missing back home: American holidays, parties, events, birthdays. If anything I feel more determined and sure this sabbatical was what I needed to do. Honestly, I’m not sure how three months passed by without notice. Everything I’ve experienced so far feels as if it was tackled in a few weeks time. The more I contemplate the amount of time I’ve spent here, my mind wanders to the fact that I have nine months left. And then I start counting down the days and get panicky about what I’ll do when I return. So instead, I’m going to keep pretending time won’t run out and keep living one day at a time.

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