After a 40+ hour journey, I have finally made it to Bali! I can’t wait to share with you my adventures thus far, but this post is not about that. This is about goodbyes, tears, and unexpected emotions.
It all started on my trip back from Seattle at the end of July. I was having a lovely conversation with the lady next to me on the plane, who was also a teacher. We talked for an hour or so about teaching and traveling, and after that we went back to doing our own thing. Well, y’all, somewhere in the next three hours of that flight it hit me that I was leaving in just a few short weeks and my emotions went haywire. The tears started to fall and they just kept on. I tried to hide my tears, but there’s a change that my seatmate thought I was crazy. This was just the beginning.
Once I was back home, things began moving along again and I was in “go” mode. I was doing last minute prep for my trip (which consisted of a catastrophe with Regions bank which I might share at a later date), went to a family reunion, spent some quality time with my friends, including the most relaxing of spa days. I was excited again about all of the experiences to come.
Arrington Vineyards. The BEST place in Nashville to celebrate before leaving the country.
My friends threw me a lovely going away party at Arrington Vineyards. It was like I imagine my wedding would be – my favorite people all in one spot at the same time. It was magical and lovely and there were sparkly balloons.
Here I am, with my colorful glittery balloons, having a lovely time at my going away party.
Some of my girlfriends gave me a beautiful necklace that stands for “tribe” to remind me that I have a tribe of people waiting for me at home. And then the party was over and everyone was gone. After all of the fun and goodbyes I was left with the question, “What the heck am I doing?”. I panicked.
The time after my party (Saturday) up until the time I touched down in Bali (the next Saturday) were difficult to say the least. Picture Diane Keaton’s crying scene in Something’s Gotta Give (thanks, Lindsay…). That was me. I was doing a lot of second guessing myself. I was anxious that relationships might change in some way or possibly dissipate all together. I grieved for the moments I’m going to miss, like my nephew’s birth. I had carefully planned out my last few days of packing and organizing, but none of it even mattered because I couldn’t even make myself get out of bed to pack my bags. It wasn’t until 5 o’clock the night before my flight that my mom and dad helped make my packing happen.
At the airport, through teary eyes, I was googling long term travel blogs I regularly read to see if they talked about feeling this way, and I didn’t come across much. I wondered if it was normal. Just maybe no one wanted to talk about it….or, maybe, I was making a big mistake?
I might look happy that I’m heading out on an adventure of a lifetime, but the reality is that I took one decent picture in between bouts of crying.
Well, friends, three days into Bali, and I know this wasn’t a mistake. The anxiety that I felt has drifted away. The crying stopped. I was lucky enough to have a lot of love and support through the anxiety that I felt. I wanted to share five things that helped me through this time and might help someone else feeling the same way about traveling long term or just a big life change in general.
1. CALL A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
By far number one. Be vulnerable. I think I called like 10 people the day before I left because I was so anxious. In return I had people sending me prayers via text, listening and speaking words of encouragement, sending me articles and scripture about overcoming fear. Reach out to your community and don’t be scared to tell them that you’re not feeling okay. You’ll be glad that you did.
2. NATURAL REMEDIES OR MEDICINE
Y’all, I am a big believer in natural remedies. Like slathering on all of the essential oils you can get your hands on. I covered myself up with Serenity and Vetiver. In this case, I needed something a bit stronger to give me some relief. That’s how anxious I was. Whatever you do, talk to your doctor and be responsible.
3. TALK TO SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DOWN A SIMILAR PATH
I was lucky enough to have one friend who did a long-term hiking trip a few years ago and another acquaintance who has recently started traveling long-term. When I reached out to both of these women, they assured me that what I was feeling and going through was very normal and they had experienced similar emotions. Knowing you’re not alone is so comforting.
4. DEAL WITH UNFINISHED BUSINESS
If you have a hard conversation you need to have with a friend, family member, or an ex, have that conversation before you leave, even if it’s hard or uncomfortable. It’s better to start your new journey off fresh, than to leave with unanswered questions or unresolved conflict.
Pray, read scripture, meditate, do yoga. Whatever brings you comfort and joy.
The reality is that big changes in life lead to big emotions. And it’s okay to feel it and cry it all out. To all my friends and family who have shown such love to me over my lifetime and especially the last few weeks, THANK YOU! I love you and can’t wait to share these adventures with you.
Also, if you have any advice in dealing with anxiety during big life changes and/or leading up to long term travel, I would love for you to share in the comments below.
P.S. Scroll down for more fun party pics.