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Transition period (a personal story)

I recently came back from an incredible 18 day trip traveling to North of Vietnam, Japan and Seoul in South Korea. This was one of those covid interrupted plans, finally coming together. We only had two week holiday time and our travel plan was ambitious.

On the paper it was very well planned, but as things were delayed, we were side-tracked with longer lunch breaks, overwhelmed with simply getting from a place to place,

or enjoyed some leisurely shopping time,

we were falling under mounting pressure of squeezing in everything that was on our list.

I could feel how it was taking a toll on my body, but I wouldn't admit defeat.

There were some nights with 4-5 hours of sleep. I was just getting increasingly more tired, consuming more caffeinated drinks (we were in the right place for the best matcha in the world ;)) and finding every opportunity to nap.

I remember arriving to Osaka palace – a photo seen online so many times – finally I am here – all across the world, seeing this sight with my own eyes. I was so tired and overwhelmed – I laid down on a park bench and fell asleep for almost an hour.

There were days when as the alarm went off, I thought I will just stay in bed, I don’t care about seeing anything.

I knew it will take time for the emotions to settle, for so much more to come up, and now, a few weeks since I am back home, indeed scrolling through my camera roll, is bringing up so many emotions, and a thought "why did I not enjoy and appreciate it more? Why was I not jumping in overwhelm from this opportunity to be there?"

A sense of guilt almost that I didn't make the most out it, that I didn't appreciate it a much a I should.

I love to travel! Travel is my thing!

It has always been my passion, my blood line, my ultimate goal and dream in life,

but with every trip I am becoming increasingly aware that this part of me, the traveler, might have to die. Or change, transition.

Here is the thing – I love travel because it inspires me! Being in a new environment immediately takes me out of my comfort zone. It feels like new pathways are formed in my brain, as I am trying to make sense of the things that I am seeing. Life is very different in other parts of the world. Everyday things we do are different, and the brain is actively trying to look for the familiar, in order to ‘feel safe’.

I love to travel, because I learn so much. To form your own opinion about a culture, rather believe what youtube or news is telling you.

I love to meet and hear stories from other travelers, try different foods, and see with my own eyes places that I have admired from photos. Travel feeds my curiosity!! It satisfies my craving for freedom! It enables me to learn and grow.

My creative mind thrives when I travel.

And if the is one thing that anyone learns while traveling, it is to be more empathetic and compassionate.

When you travel, you are reminded at every step, what a tiny place you occupy in this world.

But there are other aspects that have come to surface over the last few years.

What is important to me to feel good:

Quality sleep, regular exercise routine, healthy food, ability to express myself creatively (through writing or video making) and learning and reflecting (through books, podcasts, videos).

When I travel, all of those things are on pause. And I feel how much it affects me.

Quality sleep can be very challenging when staying in different hotels (you never know the pillows, blankets, air quality in room , and of course the late bed time, and general lack of sleep..)

Exercise routine suffers when days are packed with travel activities, healthy food isn’t always available, and trying local food is simply part of "immersing in local culture"– often this includes fried food, meat, sugar, gelato washed down with few more glasses of wine at 11pm.

And of course, the creative expression along with learning is on pause, because so much is happening when you travel, days are long and overwhelming.

I love travel, but I recognize that what I value is not something I can include in travel lifestyle.

Is this perhaps the most beautiful part about growing older – really understanding what makes you feel good?

Happiness is not the ultimate goal,

But filling days with the things that make you feel good – maybe that is.

When I was in Bali, I met some backpackers, carrying all their belongings on bags that they can barely lift – travelling around the world for 6 + months.

I don’t know when exactly it happened to me, but a gradual shift over time is what took me to this place of feeling absolutely terrified from the idea of backpacking the world.

To wake up in new country every week, swim with dolphins, visit 'the most beautiful waterfalls' and swim in a crystal clear water off a remote island - it sounds wow, but I felt so good about my life in Bali. Waking up in the same bed every morning, and filling my day with the things that make me feel good.

There is no closing paragraph in this thought, because I am still in a transition period.

Trying to understand how I feel, how to move forward.

To hold on to something that has defined you for so long or to let go,

to enter a new and very different life.


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