Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going?

I coined a little saying in the past three months. I was here, there, and everywhere…but (as you may have noticed) not on this blog. I first came up with this phrase when trying to explain to others what I do (or don’t do.).

 

Traveling, working, blogging. Choose two. 

I have tried, in vain, to do all three. I admire those who can do it all, and more. I’m just not one of them.

Well, what have I been doing then? And why should you care? Dear reader, let’s catch up. Since it has been a while, I sat down to write this post and asked myself the same questions I often heard on the road:

Where have you been? (Though if you follow my live updates on Instagram, you may already know.)

 

Answer: Hawaii >> Thailand, Bali >> Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy.

All fine places! I can hardly believe the places I’ve been, and I can’t wait to share why they’re all so special.
Over the next couple months, I’ll be sharing my favorite stories from each place, starting with a roundup of what I learned from one month in Europe, and the best eats, stays, and experiences I found there (Good stuff, guys. Get ready to get planning.)

Another answer: I’ve been focused on writing elsewhere.  I’ve been at conferences. I’ve also been investing in ‘honing my craft’ a.k.a. taking writing classes and learning from mentors and other photographers and bloggers.  I’ve always (well, most of the time) been a stickler for quality, and ever since I discovered my dream job is actually sustainable I’ve wanted to be as good as possible at it.

Alternative (but totally true) answer: Off in foreign countries seeing places almost more beautiful than my mind could process, eating far too much good food, and drinking all the wine.

And finally, if you’re just here for the pretty pictures, I hear you. Scroll down.

Where are you going next?

Answer: (The always unpopular) I don’t know. But I do know I need to be home for awhile.

And it wouldn’t be me writing if I didn’t also stop and ask/answer…

What did you learn?

When you’re traveling, working while traveling or freelancing to pay for the rent you’re not using (bitter much?), plus updating social media when the wifi gods allow, there is simply not enough time to do all three. (Or as a friend corrected me, there’s not enough time to do all three well.)

So guess what? I’m not going to be traveling for a little while. Sure, if an invitation to Bhutan or Ethiopia lands in my inbox, I may make an exception. But I want to be back here, on the blog, writing for me — writing for you. So in so far as self-driven travels go, I am taking a break.

I can hear it now…you’re tired of traveling, poor you. I realize it is quite the first world problem but it’s honest. And it’s what this blog is about, after all: finding and keeping balance, and sharing honestly about it. Before that…

 

 Here’s what I’ve been up to, and a preview of what’s to come:


 

Kauai Napali Coast

El Caminito del Rey

 

 

 

I traveled on and off for a year. I didn’t travel at all the year after that. I then got to the point where I felt guilt at having adapted this freelance lifestyle and not at all utilizing its greatest benefit. I set the goal of adding more travel into my life, preferably for professional opportunities, but I didn’t know what came next. I knew how to manage three or four weeks of vacation, but I am still learning how to manage the wild west that is freelancing.

So did what I always tell you all to do: I started saying ‘yes’ more often. I began traveling to Asia on a whim, booking an extra flight just because, stopping an extra week in a place just because I hadn’t been there yet. And it was unbelievable. It filled my soul. I loved nearly every minute of it.

Yet with only two and half weeks at home in the past three months, I began to feel out of balance. For me, that meant that even though I was in the South of France, traipsing through a new city in Provence — or in Liguria, eating fresh pesto pasta in the city that created it, or deciding which flavor of gelato to eat for breakfast — I wasn’t fully enjoying it. I didn’t take it in, and to top it off, I felt guilty about that. I was moving too quickly, sleeping too little, and feeling irritated more than I was being elated. That isn’t fair or fun for anyone or any place.

A slower pace of travel is something I could better adopt from my full-time traveler friends. I keep insisting I’ll slow down, but as a part-time traveler time is always the biggest challenge. The difference is whereas before I felt constrained by a few weeks of vacation time, I now sometimes forget this is my job. When working as a travel writer, sometimes you have to keep going to get the story. As a traveler, sometimes you have to keep going to get to the airplane that is going to fly you home. The last few weeks of this past trip, I needed both.

Travel or no travel, it’s always an exercise in remembering to tune in to our own desires. I’m not saying you should follow every little hat tip or pursue your every whim, but even on the busiest of days or the fastest of trips…

 

Take the time to pause, listen to yourself, really decide who you want to listen to other than yourself, and make conscious decisions. And then own them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s travel, work, relationships, home…too much is never good. Balance really is the key. If you’re struggling with feeling unbalanced from either too much or too little of anything in your life, it helps to step outside of it for a bit. And so my friends, I give you the simplest message I took away from my most recent trip:

 

Step one: Travel when you want to.

Step two: When you don’t want to, don’t.

Optional step three: (Cherish that you have the freedom to decide.)


It really is that simple.

Me? I’ve got some friends to catch up with, some routines to partake in, and a hell of a lot of writing to do. So that’s where I’ll be.

Welcome back to the blog! Stay tuned for stories.

And you? Where have you been and where are you going? Share in the comments below!


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15 Comments

  1. Loooooooove this post and so happy you’re back to blogging!! Except seeing you in real life filled a hole no post ever could 🙂 as always, you’re so wise beyond your years, twin!

    • I’m glad I’m still better in person than I am online!! Still, glad to be back at it in the blogging world. Here’s hoping it sticks this time…thanks for encouraging me to keep writing and, as always, to keep it real!

  2. Amy, Using Our Words

    Wow, based on those pictures I’m guessing you’ll have plenty to keep you writing while you find a balance at home and wait for the travel bug to bite you again. I look forward to reading about it all!

    • Thanks for following my journey and semi-crazy attempts at balance! I may have already booked another trip…you never know with me! 😉

  3. Great post Anne . thanks for sharing

  4. Julia

    Excited to read your upcoming posts, especially of Croatia and Germany!

    • Thanks for reading, Julia! I have a lot to share, especially for Croatia 🙂

  5. Met you in Rome on that food tour…happy to see you again here. Will check in to see if our paths will meet again. I;ll be in Paris in the fall, Bhutan in the spring.

    • Hello again Jane! Mmm I want to do that food tour all over again, right now. Haha. Paris is divine and I’m dying to visit Bhutan. Looking forward to following along!

  6. Anne I love this. So inspiring and what an incredible journey. Love following along!

  7. You are right 🙂 Travel when you want to.

    When you don’t want to, don’t.

    • Sometimes it’s the simplest answers we need to hear, isn’t it?

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