This is the first post of my new blog. First post since this new “chapter” of my life.
P.S. The picture is of me and my two homestay friends who are from the Netherlands. This is us (me, Maarten, and Fleur) in front of the Botanical Gardens (watch out for the carnivorous plants, Fleur!). We did some traveling together when we weren’t doing homework or language school or hanging out at the house.
Apparently my other posts got deleted from my computer because I saved them on my desktop and now I can’t find them anymore. 😦 So I guess I’ll have to try to rewrite my posts. 🙂
As an entry level blog post, I wanted to talk about what made me decide to quit my job and do a “funemployment” year off. As with many of my own decisions, there are mostly a collection of “moments”, or realizations that I had. I feel like I’m a fairly fractured person (in terms of my drives and desires) and that my energy, therefore, is often diffused, so making a big decision is difficult. Maybe not difficult per se, but that it takes time for my energy to slowly build in one direction (the direction of the decision, for instance) and then I can make the decision with at least most of my whole self.
Moment 1 – I had been working for about 2.5 years, and I finally felt competent regarding my new job (loan officer) and was reflecting on my life and how I could make it better. I asked myself what ways I could have a better life, a life with more joy, peace, and love. I concluded that I don’t have a sense of community (because my friends don’t know each other) and I don’t have many outlets for creativity. Regarding the second option, I made a list of general things that I could use as creativity outlets, such as woodwork, stone masonry, programming, close-combat fighting, writing, drawing or painting, etc. and I realized that these trades or skills would require a lot of time or money (or both). And with my current (at least at the time) life of seeing friends and family almost every night of the week, I would have to give up time with friends or family to learn these skills and I just didn’t want to give up on those cherished relationships.
Moment 2 – I was talking with a guy from church who I really liked over dinner because I wanted to get to know him better. I felt that his identity and priorities and values were what I would like to have when I’m older, so I asked him for some of his time. 🙂 He mentioned that a large part of his story is having these interesting experiences from when he was younger. He had taught sailing in Hawaii with his wife for a couple years, has traveled all over the world, and now works for himself. He has other experiences, of course, but the main point is that he felt his experiences living abroad and doing interesting things had changed him and made him who he is today. And he asked me, “So do you have any weird thing that you want to do?” I answered that yes, I have been wanting to live in South America (not visit, but live and learn the language and interact often with locals) for about 5 years (ever since seminary) and even though there’s not a particular reason for why I was wanting to go to South America, it was still on my heart. He then responded with “well, why not now?”
Moment 3 – Closely following my meeting with Greg (moment 2), I was reflecting on leaving soon (or soonish) and I had a realization that basically goes like this: I’m not getting any younger, I’m not getting any more single, I’m not getting any more less-tied-down, and I’m not getting any more prepared or skilled for this trip. So if I was going to go, now is really the best time to go.
Anyway, I talked with numerous people about the trip and felt it out (like trying an outfit before you buy it) and eventually I decided to commit. I gave my 3-month notice so my boss would have time to hire and train someone to replace me (she ended up hiring 2 people to replace me hahaha).
My plan is to start in Quito (I’m here) and move south (and/or east) through different countries: Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and in that order. They’re all easy for getting a visa (just ask for a 3-month tourist visa and you can get it). If you look at a map, it’s basically the equator (Ecuador is just south of Colombia) and then going south to the very bottom before going up and to the right after I hit tierra del fuego. I hope that this trip is all that I want it to be, but mostly, I feel that this trip is a long journey of unknown unknowns. I don’t know the ways in which I will be transformed, and that is both destabilizing and exciting.
I’m currently in the mountainous region of Ecuador but head to the beach/coastal region this coming weekend, for volunteering. 🙂