A Little Reflection … On Leaning into Uncertainty

Over the past several months, I have been quite pensive, and I keep harping on about this fact in each post. It has been inescapable; I mentioned it a few times, and glossed over it some, I tried not to overshare with you all … hoping, I guess, that I would just magically sort it all out. But, that’s not honest to the journey I’m on over here, and to recording what it’s like to travel long term. I talked about accepting that changes happen and acknowledging that perhaps it’s not wise to plan it all out; I was okay with that in theory a few months ago but I have sucked at accepting and allowing that to happen. Thing is, I have been at a crossroads because my goals and focus have shifted, and I’m being asked to lean into uncertainty, and simply accept unknown. I’m not good at that.

Victory monument, Bangkok, Thailand

Photographing Victory monument in Bangkok, Thailand

Major goals guided me in the past—I was crystal clear in my desire to travel five years ago. It was the single thing I knew for certain I wanted in my life. Now though, a new baseline has presented itself, and travel is the realized dream. Yes, I do I travel, and it’s wonderful and I am grateful every day of my life when I look around me at some new location, or nuance of a culture that suddenly clicks. I’m doubly grateful to have seen so many beautiful, inspiring sites. And I’m grateful I have the ability, the gifts in my life that allow me to sit and ponder this when there are other, weighty issues in the world. But all of that gratitude (and I pile it on in heaps every day) still has me at a crossroads. Travel is still in my everyday future—in structuring my life so I could travel, I have created a foundational basis that I love and value. But now it’s the foundation, not the goal.

The original title for this post was “On All the Persons I Have Been” because it fit the tone of my reflections—I find myself looking at the progression over the past decade and longing for the single-minded focus I have had at each other stage.

Most long-time readers know that I gave up my acting dreams when I left to travel—a trade-off I have never regretted. And there is still no regret. Zero. But there is nostalgia lately for the person I was back then, for the echoes of those dreams that sound back to me at the oddest times. The entertainment industry has surrounded me in the past several weeks, it’s enveloping me in its warm, alluring embrace, whispering about its shiny side—the stuff “big dreams” are made of. It started when I watched the beautiful film Beasts of the Southern Wild; an indie flick with so much heart and shot only with a shoe-string budget and conviction that the story needed to be told. I loved the film. And so, days later, when my friends here in San Pancho launched a Kickstarter campaign for a gorgeous documentary they shot on a topic I find so deeply intriguing, I found myself swept up in their passion … in this gilded siren call of dreams put aside that found their way back into my traveling world.

And it was like happening upon a long-lost best friend. You know, you’re in the grocery store and this person walks up—the one person in the world who knew your every dream, fear, and hope at the tender age of eight. Seeing this glimpse back into the industry was equal parts sweet, and bitter-sweet. It caused a frisson of doubt. What happened to that person I was … and should I return? Should I point my compass toward that siren call because there is comfort in familiarity, even past familiarity. I know that dream well and slipping it back on would be a simple enough choice.

And while we’re on the big goals, back to travel. The majority of the people on the road who cross my path are living their dream, they are on the road for weeks or months and the thrill of travel—the absolute freedom—is intoxicating. There is this high of excitement that courses through you in the early days of travel for having beaten the odds and seized the day.

Over time, though, something happened. I touched on it in a love letter to travel I wrote two years ago, and as I mentioned in my four years of traveling post, I shifted. Imperceptibly at first, but I have shifted. And travel no longer became that sweeping passionate idea, but rather my everyday reality.

And with these shifts and Shannons echoing in my past, I find myself in a sleepy town in Mexico wondering what the heck I am doing. I have jumped projects and passions over the past decade like a serial philanderer consumes women. College. Acting. Travel. Homeschooling. Book Writing. Book Publishing. Unknown. It’s like playing “one of these things is not like the others.” Some people thrive on uncertainty, but for me it has triggered a brief existential crisis.

Did I make a wrong turn? Why I am here and feeling adrift? What is this god awful uncertainty and why is it plaguing me? I looked at people surrounding me with their passionate ideas and focus and I felt vulnerable—I liked being like them, I knew how to deal with that type of single-minded focus. But this? This feeling sucks.

Once my friends here in San Pancho brought the industry back into my life, I realized I was lost because I wanted a clear-cut “next step.” I have long thrived on logical chains of progression and yet that is no longer working for me.

And my friends advise me, “Shannon, lean into the uncertainty, don’t force yourself to find the next step.  Lead from a place of balance versus single-minded focus. ”

Sunset in Sayulita

Sunset in Sayulita, Mexico as surfers catch the last waves of the evening and young children play in the sand.

This advice sounds foreign to me. To the persons I have long been.  To the girl who I once was, a girl so hyped up on adrenaline and naïvety that she packed up her life in a month’s notice and moved to Los Angeles for “The Big Dream.” That high fueled me for two years before I had the courage to shift dreams, to allow the bubbles of my long harbored dream to travel come to the surface. Those bubbles eventually eclipsed the dreams that had brought me to LA. Time and place I told myself, and now, now is the time to travel, to act on that dream.

So I traveled. Holy hell have I traveled.

And now, I wonder why I feel a tad unmoored these past months.

But now, I’m trusting in what has brought me thus far—to a lifestyle I love (the traveling) and to a career that fulfills my soul (the writing). In truth, I have no choice but to trust it because there are no big next steps except maybe that I learn how to relax—even taking moments to sit on the quiet beach here to watch sunset feels like I’m cheating, like I should be home, figuring out the answer to life and my next steps.

My plans, dreams, and focus still include travel; this blog will not change in that regard because travel is a part of my life, a daily part of my life. But I found myself boxed in, unable to share the travel stories you have followed for years because I wasn’t comfortable in the uncertainty, so I stayed silent. I felt like you all would castigate me for even questioning my life given that I was able to live a dream so many have on their list of “big dreams.” But honesty wins out, and in the days since I first drafted this post, already I find myself taking a tentative step toward that uncertainty and embracing that unknown. Accepting the lack of control and giving over to it.

And all those persons I have been? I am shedding those now and simply relaxing, perhaps for the first time in my life, into the idea that though “big passions” are needed at points in our lives, there are also gift in the unknowns.

sunset in San Pancho

A sunset in San Pancho as two little kids play in the surf in the Pacific Ocean

A Little Adrift was an unknown for me, an unexpected surprise as a community formed here over the years—thank you for your encouragement through the hurdles, enthusiasm for the big moments, and sticking with me through the changes and shifts as I grew up (and grow up) and continue to simply figure things out. It’s been a month of self-enforced exile here in Mexico, of down time to process and accept this uncertainty. And as I find and photograph my travels now, I feel more inspired than I have in at least a year to share the experiences of life on the road. For days now I have covered napkins with scrawled stories, and I bolt from the bed most mornings to write down anecdotes and ideas from my travels (it’s 5:45 am right now and a cup of hot coffee is at my side).

More travel dispatches coming asap, thanks for going on this angsty journey with me these past months. I think my brain is finally done hashing this all out—existential crisis (temporarily) averted  :)

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53 Responses to A Little Reflection … On Leaning into Uncertainty

  1. Erika April 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Just stumbled across this and it really resonates with me. I think that, similar to that person you were before you embarked on this, your dream is changing. It’s okay! It’s okay to have new dreams that suit who you are NOW, as opposed to who you are when you set out on your journey. Your life is calling you to be brave like you were before and to leap into your dream, even if it means going back to a more “stable” life or an industry that you’ve already been in. You want different things now — and THAT’S okay. You just have to let it be okay for yourself, too. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • ShannonOD April 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping in Erica and sharing, it’s really difficult sometimes to go with that flow sometimes, especially when it means a mental 360 from the direction I have been heading in for years. I still haven’t identified where my next big dream lies, but I’m working on it! Again, thanks for sharing your insights and advice, it’s easy to feel alone sometimes in these types of transitions. :)

  2. Lauren March 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Please don’t think the angsty stuff is what we don’t want to hear… it’s exactly what at least I want to hear. The name of your blog says everything. It’s a part of life, and it’s a part of getting to where you’re going. It’s also exactly the inspiration I was searching for at the moment, so thank you so much. I always look forward to hearing what’s really on your mind.

    • ShannonOD March 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      I really appreciate that sentiment — I really fear that in over-sharing people will leave if I just don’t post about the pretty side of travel; it is heartening to know that it resonates with where other people are in their own lives. I hope you are well and have a wonderful weekend Lauren and many thanks for sharing your own thoughts here :)

      PS: I sometimes kick myself for choosing my blog title because it’s a bit ironic that being adrift brings me the most angst!

  3. Erica Johansson March 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Shannon,

    I love your honesty here. Your post reminds me of something I wrote to myself last year when I faced an unknown future with no definite plans (still do!) and needed some reassuring words.

    “Be grateful, patient and see everything as chances for growth. Have faith in yourself and embrace the present moment. Do what you can with what you have where you are. Every day. You will receive new answers when you need them. Embrace uncertainty with a smile trusting the best is yet to come. The Universe is looking out for you.”

    • ShannonOD March 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi Erica, thank you for sharing those beautiful words; I think gratitude is a big part of accepting the uncertainty — of looking at it from a place of thanks for the chance to grow and see what unexpected opportunities lie within the unknown. I’m working on the embracing and trusting that the Universe is there for me. I hope you have been able to move through your uncertain times and are well. :)

  4. Stephen Schreck March 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Love this post Shannon. It must have felt good to get all of that out and not feel boxed in anymore :)

    • ShannonOD March 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      It feels like something … still debating if that’s good; I hate being vulnerable — I like to pretend like i have it all figured out! Thanks for reading and commenting, lovely to see your face in the comments here :)

  5. Mary Richardson March 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    I go through something similar every few years myself. It’s okay to have all these different loves and former identities. Trust your gut feeling about where you need to be.

    • ShannonOD March 22, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Thank you Mary, sometimes I look around, and it’s easy to assume that everyone else has if figured out in their own heads based on their actions–but increasingly I am seeing that is not always true! I appreciate the support and for sharing your own experience :)

  6. Keith Jenkins March 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Fab post Shannon. I can totally relate to the idea of shifting dreams and facing the unknown. My motto whenever I find myself in this situation is to face it head on (the uncertainties) and go with whatever feels right to me. No doubt there will be ups and downs but that’s all part of the experience isn’t it? :-) Enjoy the journey!

    • ShannonOD March 22, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Thank you, it does help to know that others have been in similar places and found their way out of it. It is a part of the journey, and as you said, I’m doing my best to listen to my gut and do what feels right! Thanks for weighing in here Keith :)

  7. Lauren Heineck March 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Shannon I love your honesty and I believe this truth resonates with so many people. It’s hard to give up control, to let things happen to us as the universe desires, not at our own call. Especially when all of the media and social pressures around us make us feel that we have to be a certain person, in a certain place or doing certain things. It’s extremely difficult to let go, to see where the tide pulls us, but it seems like you are in a magnificent place – near the ocean – to wait for your wave. Hang tight.

    • ShannonOD March 22, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      These are hard lessons to learn, and you’re right, a lot of it is social pressures I think — trying to keep up with where others and society think I should be at in life right now. I really appreciate the support Lauren, and hope you are well on your own journey. This town is lovely and a great resting place in between things should you also need something along these lines! :)

  8. Hariram March 15, 2013 at 2:37 am #

    “I looked at people surrounding me with their passionate ideas and focus
    and I felt vulnerable—I liked being like them, I knew how to deal with
    that type of single-minded focus. But this? This feeling sucks.” I used to feel the same way too until I found out that deep down everyone thinks the same about everyone else! But I do agree it makes one feel very vulnerable. And as you mentioned, this blog is endearingly community as it can get. All the best Shannon. Carpe Diem!

    • ShannonOD March 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Heh, good point Hariram, I know that uncertainty is something that every suffers from, and that it’s easy to look at others and point roses on their life. I guess I just remember when I was fully invested in a new project, and I miss that feeling. Thanks for sharing here and I hope you come back, I do love the community! :-)

  9. ShannonOD March 15, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Thank you for sharing that link Jeremy, transitions can be so hard to process through when they come on with such disparate outcomes. Though I remain steady in my desire to travel, it can be so tiring and I get worn out a lot. There is a balance in long-term travel, in finding places to stay and live as you know — though there is no doubt you could be happy either way, perhaps the answer is in picking the next destination that resonates as a place for you to continue healing through the past pains and live in the present moment. For me, there were many messages loud and clear from all those in my life that I lacked balance in my ability to live in the moment and trade off working too much — perhaps there are messages friends are telling you from a place of love. Hope you are doing well and I look forward to seeing where your path takes you :)

  10. Akila and Patrick March 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Beautiful post, Shannon. Like you, I’m realizing that dreams change . . . and sometimes, taking the time to relax and savor the uncertainty is a beautiful thing. I am swamped in uncertainty right now, too, and trying to decide what’s going to be the next step in my career and life. But, I’m trying not to let it get to me and live in the moment and it seems like you’re doing the same . . . and that is what being a little adrift is all about, isn’t it?

    • ShannonOD March 15, 2013 at 1:37 am #

      Thank you for weighing in Akila, I know that you have been facing similar uncertainty (though for very different reasons!). And it’s funny, because in looking at your situation I can say that savoring this uncertainty and the moments before the baby comes is one of the joys of that experience — in that regard I should take my own advice though too, to look at where we both are as gifts, and live in the moment and accept them. And if some of the uncertainty is the blog, know that though 1) your blog title is versatile and 2) though it started as your travels, we followed you and Patrick, your journey, and I know I would love to follow this new path as well :) So many huge hugs, hope these last days go well until she comes!

  11. Jeff Johnston March 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Shannon, I discovered this article, and your site, through a tweet. I look forward to catching up on your travels.

    Thank you for baring yourself to us with this article.

    I’ve been a mobile writer since I took a job as technical writer for a virtual company based in Canada. I began that career in Canada, and its current incarnation resides in Cuenca, Ecuador (if you ever make it down here…).

    I’m getting itchy feet, and an itchier soul.

    I began a blog about being a mobile writer in preparation for the day that I head out on the road. I had a teenage dream to visit every country in the world (just over 150 at the time, now well past 225, if Wikipedia is to be believed).

    That day will begin soon after my dog dies (I made a promise to her, and to myself, that I wouldn’t pass her off to another person the way that her first owners did).

    I may be a bit of an odd duck since I enjoy uncertainty. Moving to Ecuador was a piece of cake for me (friends and family thought I’d lost my mind). Dealing with Ecuadorian bureaucracy has been fairly easy on me, far easier than it has been on my American wife, whom I met here in Ecuador.

    Everything is so much easier when I don’t expect things to be a certain way. Since it often turns out to be an “uncertain” way.

    • ShannonOD March 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Jeff, thank you for sharing your own journey, it does sound like you’re a bit more in touch with that openness to experience that is beneficial on the road. There are moments where I can live from that place, but with some of the changes in the past year, it all emphasized just how little control we all actually have — that always sends me into a tailspin, I like control. :) But alas, there is always a time and place to learn these things! Have you followed Chris G’s blog? Next month he hits his last country, that was his goal as well http://chrisguillebeau.com) and he shares some of the ups and downs of that journey (some countries are hard to get into!).

  12. flipnomad March 14, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    nice post Shannon… something that I can relate to as of now… I was able to finally achieve what I thought wanted… that is to travel for a long time… a few years back, I so wanted to make this happen and now I’m on my second year already on the road… and now I’m feeling somewhat at a lost… to borrow your “blog name” i feel “a little adrift”… I don’t quite understand it yet though… living a life of uncertainty did challenge me to rise up from all the trials that were thrown my way … but sometimes i miss the feeling of just being in the status quo… of just being steady and not thinking about where the next online gig will come from… or where will I go next… I love traveling and I still do… but lately I’ve been asking myself… now that I have done what I set forth to achieve… what do I do next…

    safe travels :-)

    • ShannonOD March 18, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      I think no one really tells you that when you buck the trends you have no path to follow, no one else to look to and think “ah yes, see what they did, this is next for me” — I know there are challenges in the traditional life too, that it’s not all roses, but there is a certainty in the choices because so many others have made them. You have traveled, we are in such a similar spot, and the good thing is that whatever we next choose, we have achieved a major dream, and that isn’t something everyone can claim. :)

  13. Bessie Crum March 14, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Keep up with the leaning, love! You’re on your journey, unlike anyone elses, and all the feelings of confusion and longing are a part of of that journey. Or at least that’s what I think a wise Vipassana guriji would say!

    Sharing the message is part of the journey. Write! Whether for you or for us. Hugs!

    • ShannonOD March 15, 2013 at 2:05 am #

      Hah, you are so right — Goenkaji would be having me tilted sideways into this uncertainty and I wouldn’t be able to have aversion to it! Thank you so much for being a good friend this past week, it was so good to chat with you and catch up on all that happens as our lives move on from where they were just a single year ago (SEA for both of us). I am so happy glad you both in a positive new phase of your own journey. Looking forward to living int he moment with you this summer! :) xoxo

  14. Joanne March 13, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    LEAN! Love, LEAN!!! Did it occur to you that perhaps “the answer to life and my next steps” is merely being? Maybe this next step is spending some quality time with yourself simply being. I know you have done a lot of that over the years that you have traveled, but perhaps never really without another purpose. Maybe this is the universe telling you that it is ok to not drive yourself, and to simply be in the moment? Either way, wherever you are, you are surrounded by love – never forget that! xoxo

    • ShannonOD March 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      Easier said than done Jo!! You know I like plans. And details, and control. And I know those don’t always, or even likely very often, work for me, but I am trying to use this town and this time as me as a way to practice just living in this moment. Concentrating on the now, and thank you, thank you for the love and support. I do know that no matter grand conclusions or not that I come to, that beyond all that, I have you guys and a family to come back to :) xoxoxooxoxoxo

  15. Linda Wainwright March 13, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Lovely post, and, as you know, I have missed you! However, I totally understand what you’re saying. It does sound as if you need to learn to relax – it ain’t easy, it isn’t really in my make-up either, but it is important. I also find that whenever I take time out (even, say a meal with friends) at the back of my mind I’m turning over all the stuff I should be doing, rather than winding down and going with the flow. Once you’ve slowed down for a while it helps clarify the world, even if you return to the old habits afterwards, you need the time to focus. **and here is where I should take my own advice!**

    The other thing it took me years to figure out was that, in your case, you can be more than one Shannon. My own neuroses made me feel I had to choose between being a city dweller or a country girl at heart. Everyone else seemed so certain, so polarized. Age, eventually, taught me that I can love both, and I can stop feeling unfaithful to one place when I am in another! Does that sound crazy? Ah, now I just remembered you’re a Capricorn too – so that’s maybe where it comes from!

    The way you’re feeling now kind of reminds me of how I felt when my nest emptied. Being a mom was a huge turning point in my life, and I during those years I didn’t once angst for ‘other’ me.

    The thing is that, as you say, you’ve formed a community here. That’s one of the reasons I love your blog. It’s personal. You are, in your own words, a storyteller. It isn’t a long list of ‘been there done that, and here’s how I did it,’ so whatever you do and wherever life takes you next this community will be there, waiting axiously for your next chapter….can’t wait!

    • rishi March 13, 2013 at 6:11 am #

      “Age, eventually, taught me that I can love both, and I can stop feeling unfaithful to one place when I am in another! Does that sound crazy?”

      This is very well put and hits hard personally. I wish I could be in 3 places at one time. Every new locale I visited and I wanted to settle down there, which I did in my imagination- I lived a life in a different timezone, at different stages of life.

    • ShannonOD March 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Linda!! :) Why do we do this to ourselves is the question–I know that there is value in allowing your mind to completely let go of the stress and worry and sink into the moment, but it’s hard to let go the idea of go-go-go. That we should be doing things, creating, working, etc to be valuable. I had a conversation after writing this with some friends here in Mexico, and we really started to dissect the “American Dream” and how it has created this myth all over that working constantly is honorable and “right,” and not doing that is lazy. It’s hard to escape that cultural indoctrination I think, but as you said, there is a balance between the two sides, it’s not a choice of one or the other, but shifting when life shifts, as it did when your children left home (I was the youngest of five and the last to leave, so I saw my mom struggle through this transition as well).

      I think it’s funny that you mentioned that we are both Capricorns, the planning and logic side is a strongly associated with our sign, my best friend is very into astrology and she says I couldn’t be more typically Capricorn — sounds like you might be too!

      Thanks for the support Linda, I do really appreciate and you sharing some of your own personal journey here, hope you have a wonderful week :)

  16. Rishi March 13, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    Again, a very thought provoking update, Shannon.

    I am a scriptwriter, an avid cinema tragic and hoping to make my own films in the future. To me movies are art and art is life. It defines life. I lived for movies, and any great film I’d see would make me giddy for days. Then a few months prior to now, I was going through a psychedelic phase- refiguring life et all. Perhaps I was sick of pop culture, the Internet. So I stopped watching films altogether, ignoring everything for 3 months.

    Then, by accident I saw Lincoln. Spielberg’s direction and Day Lewis’s performance again brought out those similar sensation of joy. This is what life is about…creating, and enjoying other people’s company. It was a situation which again made me reevaluate my priorities, like you write here. I think there is immense joy in anything as long as you have the desire. There are many distractions, many societal expectations, but ultimately does anyone know what is truly fulfilling? We all have phases.

    And as much as I cry about natural wonders being so more fulfilling than man made ones, I realize how enriching it would be to view and celebrate such art forms as the Taj Majal or the Sistine Chappell.
    Sorry, I think I got a bit off topic.

    Rishi

    • ShannonOD March 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Hi Rishi, Lincoln was magnificent, and it is likely also one of the things that put me in this frame of mind. Movies have the ability to take us on a journey, it is for that reason that I can’t leave them behind — it’s the sum total of the passion that created them, the passion of the actors on the screen, and a good score–when those three things meet there is something so beautiful about what is created, that I will watch 100 “good” movies in search of one that lights up my soul. I think art can speak to the beauty of nature; though films are man-made, they are created to speak to the human experience, to this journey we are all on, and for that it’s an art-form that will always ride through the decades, the ability to tell and communicate stories is ingrained in the people we are right now.

      Thank you for sharing Rishi! If you haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild, and if you are back to watching films, I think you really might enjoy it :)

  17. John Mathes March 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m eight days into my first extended travel and very much enjoying the experience and spontaneity. The uncertainty of so many things is a challenge and this post and its honesty, is perfect timing for me. Thank you very much!

    • ShannonOD March 14, 2013 at 2:18 am #

      Congrats on leaving on this trip, those weeks leading up to travel were so filled with a mix of emotions and feelings — I hope you are enjoying the road, finding new foods, friends, and cultures and loving it, no matter how shiny people paint travel, there are down days and lonely days on long trips, just as in life, but so many wonderful new memories. Though I don’t even remotely have life figured out, if I can ever help in any way or be a sounding board please don’t hesitate to email me :)

  18. Victoria March 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Wonderful! I was looking forward to reading this and just did so with a cup of capomo and a brownie from Paraiso. It was the perfect accompaniment. Thank you! Honest words are always the best to read. See you later alligator.

    • ShannonOD March 14, 2013 at 2:20 am #

      Thank you Victoria, I have really appreciated you friendship here (and tolerance of the angsty Shannon). Hugs and looking forward to seeing you soon! xo

  19. Rika at Cubicle Throwdown March 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Leaning into uncertainty is a GREAT motto!

    • ShannonOD March 14, 2013 at 1:22 am #

      I know! It was Jodi from @Legal Nomads that mentioned it in this context and it just resonated so much. I want to post-it note it all over my house :)

      • Jodi E. March 19, 2013 at 3:37 am #

        I’m totes making it into a t-shirt :)

  20. Jeremy Branham March 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Shannon, if there’s anyone who knows how you feel it is me. Trust me. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote my most personal post ever – Travel confessions of a mid life crisis. I honestly feel caught between two different lives and two different places in life. I’m looking back at my past and the person I’ve been while looking ahead and not knowing what to do next. At times, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with travel. When I travel, I am such a different person than what I am at home.

    I’m not at a “buy a sports car and go crazy” phase of life but there is a lot of uncertainty. That not only exists with what is ahead but who I really am and where travel fits in all of this.

    I am sharing my mid life travel post because maybe you can relate and understand – http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/blog/mid-life-crisis-travel-confessions/

  21. KGG March 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Welcome to … ‘the trail’ … it gets better; this unknown/uncertain space.

    • ShannonOD March 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks KGG, I have hopes that better is on the horizon, thanks for weighing in on this and reading :)

  22. Paul March 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    What you’ve described here is a beautiful example of why life as a traveler is so great. Pushing one’s personal boundaries, to the point of not knowing what’s coming next, is scary, but so fulfilling. Whatever’s next, I’m sure it’ll be another great adventure.

    • ShannonOD March 14, 2013 at 2:14 am #

      Thank you for that sentiment Paul, I do love everything else that travel has brought into my life, so I am trying to have faith that these next unknowns will be as wonderful as what has come already! Hope you are enjoy your own travels and I really appreciate you reading and sharing your ideas here :)

  23. Rebecca Adler March 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    This is probably one of the most honest posts I have read in a long time about long-term travel. I have only been traveling for a little more than two years, but the road is growing lonely and I have definitely had similar thoughts myself as of late. I have been waiting to read a post from somewhere about this topic and you have done it wonderfully and thoughtfully. I had wanted to write something myself, but I felt like mine would have come out bitter and angry, when, truly, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had over the past couple of years. I just feel a little lost now that I have realized the dream. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone. And I hope it makes you feel better to know you aren’t alone in that feeling either :)

    • ShannonOD March 15, 2013 at 1:49 am #

      Two years on the road is a very long time, and I know just how lonely it can be — which is often so funny because you are rarely physically alone, but it can get wearying and wear you down as the feeling intensifies. Have you slowed down any? I had to stop and start landing in places for 5+ months so that I could gain friends (real friends) and routines that took me out of the the travel funk — that worked until recently at least. There is also a time to accept that the journey is in a completely new place, or that one part of it is over.

      Bitter and angry has happened for me too, that it has happened for sure, and though I don’t think I posted those ones, I did write them, ones where I was just sick of it all and denouncing everything. If it helps to have the ear of another traveler, I am happy to arrange a Skype — though there are a lot of us travelers out there it can be hard to find others who understand the place you particularly are in. Have a wonderful weekend Rebecca, and hope you find balance in your travels :)

  24. Kate March 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Girlfriend — enjoy Jalisco and relax. Live in the moment — it’s a beautiful one! You’ve got the rest of your life to worry about the future… :)

    • ShannonOD March 14, 2013 at 2:11 am #

      Heh, I can just picture the oral delivery on that advice too. :) I have long been a planner, so that’s a tough one, but if anywhere can get me to learn to relax and live in the moment I think it’s this pretty little area of Mexico.

      • Kate April 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

        Agreed. Loving seeing your photos from SP. Such a wonderful little town! I have a Jalisco itch already, and I was just there in December! :)

  25. Toni March 12, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I really can resonate with this post at the moment Shannon. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now and am currently dreaming and planning of my 4 year trip to Australia/New Zealand this October and whilst i am very excited to be heading towards my dreams, it also feels strange to think that I will be living and achieving my dreams on a daily basis.
    Despite this, my plans are full of uncertainty and whilst I am normally a planner in life, I am hoping to learn to lean into uncertainty myself :)

    • ShannonOD March 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Thank you for sharing where you are at in your own life Toni — your upcoming travels are the things dreams are made of, but then that level of change can really cause profound shifts in yourself, and as you acclimate to your new situation. I hope the planning goes well, it’s nice to know there are others who understand the confusion of transitions, and if I can ever help you plan for that NZ/Oz trip, let me know! :)

  26. SpunkyGirl Monologues March 12, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Shannon, I just love this article. Beautifully written. I can’t wait to hang with you today and PV and chat more. :) Pam xo

    • ShannonOD March 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you Pam, I know you’re transitioning here too, so I look forward to chatting with you more about it :)

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