Lessons I Need to Learn Before Travel

Maybe it is just because I had such a horrible commute, where 5 miles can take me 1/2 hour minimum, but I have been having lots of personal realizations while driving.  Last week I realized that I am having a problem turning perceived threats into real threats because I do not trust my judgement.

Later in the week I realized the reason I do not trust myself:

Lesson 1

I do not trust myself because I was conditioned to not feel my feelings.  I was always told a young lady does not get angry or sad or too happy or…  And I was also told girls that go to college read these types of books and do these types of things.  So when I got mad I would cry instead.  If I got too happy and too much energy I would work.

Lesson 2

Once you are well conditioned to ignore your emotions this it leaves an underlying sense of anxiety at every change of circumstance or decision that would normally involve you using your emotions.  Eventually you even re-pattern from this, you stop trying to access your emotions for daily tasks, you just do as your told or what a responsible person would. Different people react to this differently.  Some people abuse drugs and alcohol.  It also leads to bad food choices because we try to choose to what makes us happiest out of the choices that we can control and do not involve too many emotions.  I was a classic over achiever which leads too…

Lesson 3

I use measurements to define myself.  My weight, my height, my degree, grades, internships, research grants, how many medals you have, how many scholarships you have, how many solos you have, being first chair, how many vinyasas you can do, how advanced your practice is, how many miles you can run, how many times you work out, how often you work out….  Recognizing this is helpful, it is harder to rely on it when you realize it does not really matter and those things are not really important  to you.  After you start realizing this you can start getting into what your real emotions are and stop with the measurements.  You can find out what really makes you happy and who you really are.

Lesson 4

You might have done so many good things, Realized your dream for travel, sold everything to realize your passion, lived week to week in different arrangements to save money and avoid a lease, and a myriad of other incredibly gutsy, emotion and passion driven actions…but there is always more.  Also, these old habits really do die hard.  You restart doing it before you even realize it.

Right now everyone around me is moving on in the “right” direction. People are getting married, having kids, getting advanced degrees, advancing in yoga and even getting certified in yoga training, losing weight, etc.  All these things I have either struggled with, do not want, or are not the right time to be in my life at this moment. I need to let this go before my travels turn into how many cities I saw, how many continents I have been to, how little/much I spent, how much more jet lagged I am, how many frequent flier miles I have, how good my pictures are, how often I blog…. you get the picture.

Lesson 5

“Do not give up what you want the most for what you want in the moment.” is a quote off of a magnet from my friend S’s ‘fridge. I cannot give into buying a ticket and just leaving when it is not what I want most.  What I want most is to be able to travel without having to worry about a job (if one does not show itself up right away) for at least a year.

I also cannot be around the type of people I was before who think people who can live their dream are “lucky”.  I also cannot give up my health for crash diets or over-use or injury.  I need my feet and stomach for travel.  I also cannot be around people who focus too much on measurable things instead of qualitative things that are not necessarily measurable with numbers.  This is so hard for me as an engineer.  I like numbers, people I know like numbers.  And people in yoga seem super obsessed with weight and place too many chips on their physical appearances.  Maybe since so many people in my family have died, become disabled, or got cancer this year, I can see how fleeting that really is.

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Roll with the punches…but what direction?

So, I have been sitting at work reading travel blogs for a while because business is very slow.  In consulting it is like slow torture.  Your billable percent slips lower and lower yet there is nothing you can do about it when you are at a certain level.  I am not allowed to market nor do I have a PE (professional engineering license) to do so.  When I finally give in to the fact that I am not going to make it, I make plans.  I am leaving this job where my most common work task is to make copies.  Yes, that is right, they pay me a lot of money to make copies.

Now, some people in the world might say.  Wow, pay me lots of money to make copies and reading blogs, sounds cushy.  Not me.  I am not that type of person.  I am the type of person who needs to feel intellectually or physically stimulated, preferably both at the same time.  Pressing the “copy” button does not count.  I feel the need to be doing something that makes a difference or is productive.  I want to be cultivated skills that will be able to break me out from the pack and be able to be successful so that I can carve my own path.  I am not going to get that by making copies or surfing the internet.

However, today I was given enough work (only HALF of it copying and scanning) to get me through June at least.  However, I was beginning to think June was my estimated time of departure.  I have not applied for my visa yet, nor have I bought my ticket yet.  I am not quite to my savings goal.  So I could stay.  If I stay until August I could take more classes this summer to defer my loans and prepare for graduate school.  If I stay until October I could get my PE and probably be sponsored full time in many countries because I have a degree in Chemical Engineering and work in Environmental/Water and Wastewater Engineering.  But that is the slippery slope I have been on for the last 5 years.  I will just work a few years to pay off some of my loans, get some experience, and figure out what I want to study and where I want to study for my masters or if I want to get a PhD instead.  Always next year, and the next year it always seems more impossible.

So what is the answer.  Push back a few months?  If I go in August it will be right before my 28th birthday.  If I want to do Australia and New Zealand for the entire year then I have to leave by then because I got the impression New Zealand cuts off at the day you turn 30 (Australia was inclusive of 30, I suppose I could reverse the order).  But if I work until August/October I can make that much more money, especially if I get my PE. If I quit in June it would be mid project which is kind of rotten.  But its business right, would I be afforded the same thought if they were going to let me go?

So.  Here I am at a crossroads, a test I am sure life is throwing at me at an opportune moment to test my on the fly decision making and flexibility.  I am willing to roll with the punches, but I am not sure which way to roll?  Which path do I take?