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Ahhhhh, traveling

Ahhhhh, traveling.

Traveling relaxes me. It helps me rediscover my center. It helps me think clearer. I feel calm when I travel (mostly because I always make sure I have plenty of time to arrive where I need to be).

Lately I’ve noticed that when I’m scheduled to fly somewhere, the travel process is like a blur. It moves both quickly and slowly at times. More specifically, it just kind of...moves. It doesn’t feel real. None of it does.

I feel like I’m floating. Everything is happening, but I’m at peace. I go with the flow.

I like this side of me. I like who I am when I’m traveling. I try to be that person all the time, but I find it difficult when I’m in one place for a long time.

I love where I’ve been living for the past four months. I’m grateful to have a job (one that I enjoy) and to be surrounded by beauty. I’ll be honest, though: the constantly smokey skies have made my “home” a less enjoyable place for me. Usually I’m captivated by the beauty, but most of this summer has felt a little grey and meh.

Part of that grey is likely because of the emotional stress that I wrote about last week. I didn’t take the time or space that I needed after finding out about my second friend’s passing. I thought I had a formula to handle grief, but I was wrong.

My stress (bottled up from not taking the time to feel) reached the “the-only-TV-I-want-to-watch-is-SpongeBob-SquarePants” level of stress. Something mindless that makes me laugh.

So I asked one of my bosses if it would work for me to take some time off. She told me, unfortunately, not during the time I mentioned. I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I had to cry. So cry I did, hidden away on the loading dock of our kitchen area. Nobody knew I was back there, weeping the tears I hadn’t wept yet for that friend.

I managed to pull myself together enough to get back to my job. When my other boss asked me if I was okay, I tried to pass myself off as okay, but my emotions had a different plan. My nods turned into shakes and my dry eyes turned wet. I told him that I needed to get away, to escape for a little bit, to clear my head and process everything. I needed a vacation.

He told me that he and the first boss I mentioned talked to try and see if there was a time that would work for me to get away. He said that they’d be fine without me in my current position—that, of course, they’d rather have me there, but they would be able to function and I should take the time I needed.

I checked-in with my other bosses (I’m changing positions in the same institution and had four different supervisors at once) and everyone was on board with me taking this vacation.

So, here I am, writing in the Denver airport, waiting to board my plane to Orange County so that I can see my (extended sense of the term) family, hold my five-month-old niece and hug my two-year-old nephew, visit with the family and dogs I used to live with, and feel the energy of the city that I mostly loved living in (Los Angeles).

I’m not trying to run away from my problems. I’m trying to be self-aware and practice self-care. Being around the joyful giggles of a five-month-old is rejuvenating. Being close to the beach is refreshing. And having a break from work is relaxing.

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Since arriving in California last night, my mind has been swirling with indecision. I miss it here. I love it here. I’ve wanted to live here since I was a kid. Seriously though--I begged my parents to move us to Los Angeles from Seattle. I wanted to be an actor. I was enthralled with the City of Angels.

I lived in Los Angeles for about a year and a half before moving back to the mountains in Colorado (a place I’ve called home for several summers). It’s the first place I’ve wanted to settle down and have as a home base since moving out of my parents’ house in Seattle twelve years ago. I’ve mostly been wandering ever since, moving from college to college to university and working different jobs in different regions.

I can’t help but wonder why I keep making plans that keep me away from California. If I love it so much, why do I do that?

I do know why--living here is expensive, and I don’t have the proper trainings or developed skills to earn enough to live here with any sort of comfort (aka not living paycheck to paycheck). It might be worth it, though. I’m sure I’ll have a clearer sense toward the end of my trip.

Actually, no, I know now. It WOULD be worth it. The energy of Southern California speaks to me. I truly connect with it. I want to be active when I’m there. I’m inspired to work harder on this blogging business and make something of myself. All the plans and ideas I had when I first started The Wandering Swami are flooding back to me.

I need to move back to California.

It won’t be quick, and it won’t be easy, but I can make it happen if my heart is truly into it (which it seems to be).

For now, I’m going to focus on being grateful for the few days I have here now and for the freedom and flexibility I have to travel and explore new places.

I’ll be in Colorado for two more months before driving to Austin and flying to and from Boston. Then I’ll leave Austin and live out of my car (and friends’ houses) while I meander around the Eastern part of the United States. I have 12 more states to see! I’m hoping to reach 11 of them.

The plan is unclear past January 1, but I know it will become clear when it needs to. For now, I’ll enjoy all the moments I can. And I’ll continue being grateful!

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