Mental Space Reflection in Santa Marta, Colombia

When I was preparing for funemployment and indefinite vacation, I was worried that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and all of this unfamiliar freedom and spare time.

As it turns out, I still have plenty of work to do.

Before I get started, I do want to acknowledge the privilege of mobility that becomes evermore apparent as I travel the world, the lessons that I’ve learned and the opportunities that I’ve had thanks to my parents, the continued growth and opportunity that I’ve had thanks to my teachers, employers, and colleagues. Though I did not “strike it rich” with the acquisition that I was a part of, I have been granted the discipline for saving money . Throughout college and even as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow, I was able to keep expenses to a minimum and squirrel away/invest money. It only got better once I started making a tech-company salary.

In my initial post about this journey, I mentioned my need for plans and structure. I wasn’t exaggerating and the need oftentimes becomes debilitating. The struggles that I’ve faced in life can hardly hold a candle to the struggles that so many others in the world face, but they are mine. This journey is hardly a self-reward for “striking it rich”, as many have assumed, but more a journey of healing and discovery.

When it comes to “vacations”, if I am given the opportunity to run the itinerary, I get a little carried away with adding structure and organization: Google Sheets, Calendar, TripIt, etc. Possibly a great “problem” to have. But I also get really stressed out about sticking to the plans and making sure everything runs smoothly.

Stress. Not conducive for a “vacation”.

I set out on this trip with a goal to relieve myself of this stress by having a minimal day-to-day plan, though apparently that wasn’t enough.

I tend to get very frustrated when information is limited, vague, and unorganized — which is was what I found myself dealing with when it came to the trip to Las Gachas in Guadalupe, Colombia.

Rational me knew it to be a part of the adventure of discovering a path less traveled, but irrational me grew frustrated at the inefficiency and the unknown. I felt that I didn’t have all of the information I could have had when finding a bus to get to Guadalupe. The bus ride was long and got me car sick. Then, everything came to a head when I tried to use Google Maps to attempt to find our hostel upon arrival in Guadalupe.

My first night, on my own, in Cancun. I hate taking selfies so I gave myself one quick shot, thus, the grainy texture and the table in the foreground.

It was late.

It was raining.

It was Easter Sunday.

I was trying not to barf.

Everything was quiet and empty.

Google Maps had the wrong location.

With the help of some locals, we eventually found ourselves on the right path and eventually safe and sound in our room, but to add a little cherry on top of the already long day, the hostel we’d booked turned out to not be exactly as-advertised.

So I cried.

In the grand scheme of things, I knew everything was fine, but it really felt like it wasn’t.

In the couple of months leading up to my trip, I was so slammed and overwhelmed with everything: wrapping up work, quitting my job, packing up my life, saying goodbye to my friends, parting with my best friend, etc. So many people asked how I was feeling and the easy answer that required little explanation was always, “So excited to be done!” which was certainly the underlying sentiment, but really, it wasn’t so simple. I was holding onto a lot. Throughout this time, I was overcome with extreme waves of emotion: sadness, fear, excitement, nostalgia, stress, panic, anxiety, relief, and then eventually a numbness that washed over me in the final couple of weeks.

I do an unfortunately great job of collecting and bottling things up. It only takes a little thing to knock my bottle and send it into a cascading explosion. At the very least, I’ve taken the first step in beginning to relieve my need for a concrete plan by embarking on this journey without one, but I’ve obviously got a lot more work and release to do.

…who would have thought that vacation and relaxation would take so much work. 🤷🏽‍♀️

After writing out the bulk of this post, we were sitting at dinner where our placemats were covered in “Astrológico Gastronómico” horoscopes. After reading those (and finding out that my cusp baby profile states that I either like eating a really healthy, balanced diet as a Virgo, or I indulge myself with sweets and desserts as a Libra — I’m the latter, for sure), I started reading horoscope profiles on Google for fun.

This is listed as the challenge of being a Virgo:

Virgo’s Greatest Challenges

Virgo’s desire to have everything be perfect can manifest in frustration when things don’t live up to those (sometimes unrealistic) expectations. Besides occasionally leading to fights with friends and partners, Virgo’s focus on perfection can cause everything even uploading an Instagram photo to take forever. Learning to go with the flow and accept good enough is a constant struggle.

I, in no way, believe in or subscribe to daily horoscopes, but I have to admit that sometimes the zodiac descriptions are pretty spot-on.

You can be a non-believer all you want, Charlie (lol), but this is exactly what happened.

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