It's been 7 months since my last major update! A lot has been going on in my life. And it all ties into a major lesson I learned while traveling solo: Nothing is permanent.
In recent months, unforeseen circumstances forced me to move out of the home I settled into a year ago. Plus, I ended a 2 year relationship.
But now things are looking up. I have worked out a new place to live. I've also gained more travel flexibility despite my full-time career.
You generally only need to stay in one place for as long as you feel like staying.
I've found this perspective to stick with me beyond travel. I've been working at and living in the same place in the states for over a year now. Despite these commitments to job and to home, I know I can leave anytime at my own will.
I feel this same sense of freedom when I travel. For example, I rarely felt like I wasn't in control of where I was staying or where I was going during my extended 2014-2015 trip. When I wanted to stay in one place for a while, I was able to do so. When I was ready to move on, I did.
But I've gotten used to a more settled, routine life since moving to Long Island. Indeed, I've gotten a bit soft.
One year ago, I found an adorable little home on the south shore of Long Island, not too far from my new college job. I've been renting, a rare, beautifully renovated, 1-bedroom cottage. It stands on its own lot with a private yard close to the water. Oh, and there's a washer-dryer (which is like hitting gold as a former New York City resident)!
I've loved it in this cottage. And I envisioned staying for at least another year or two. That's why it was so devastating for me to find out I couldn't stay.
A few weeks ago, my landlord told me she has to stop renting the place due to a family emergency.
I've been meeting with brokers and landlords nonstop. I've been scrambling to find something like this special little house. But I was so fixated on finding something similar, I dismissed anything that fell short.
I had to slap myself into reality and stop grieving the loss of my little cottage. I needed to remind myself why this cottage was not as perfect as I was insisting.
Something I have been struggling with out here on Long Island is the isolation. The cottage sits in a very residential area. I have to drive to get to anywhere worth going out to. While I have easy access to NYC 1-hour by train, it's not the same as walking out my door with tons to do only steps away.
So I looked for a place that would give me a better location, even if the home was not as special.
I signed a lease last week for a small 1-bedroom in a complex of other apartments. What's awesome is it's in a beach community. The apartment is next to a marina, a town pool and sand beach, bars and restaurants, and a beautiful park a few blocks away. I'll still be able to enjoy a private deck space and an (ever-important) washer-dryer.
All in all, I've turned an unexpected deviation into a welcome one. And I am so very thankful for all my travel experiences. Those experiences gave me the extra confidence I needed to take on change, especially unexpected change, with gusto.
Love Deviates, Too
Recently, I had to listen to my gut for the cue to change. Outside forces don't always tell you when it's time to alter paths. Sometimes it's your own intuition. Like that time I decided not to follow another traveler on a motorbike tour of the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand.
In my previous update, I talked about taking a trip to New Zealand to visit my then-Kiwi partner, Jono. Did you catch that? Indeed, the relationship is now past tense. I thought I would be heading to New Zealand this June/July, but now I don't plan to return there anytime soon.
What happened between Jono and I? Well, we made several attempts to resolve things over the course of 1 year of long distance. But differences in communication style ultimately led to the end.
This was not your typical break-up. It happened in Hawaii and I am very proud that we handled things in such an adult-like manner.
Hawaii was going to be about spending time with each other. That time together was going to carry us to the summer when I would visit him in New Zealand. As the date approached, it became clear the relationship had become stagnant. I needed to break things off. We decided to discuss things at length when we got to Oahu—certainly a risky move! No matter how well you think you know your partner, you never know how they will be in a break up. Nevertheless, I felt the 2 years we spent together deserved an in-person break.
I guess I was pretty convincing because after we talked things out we mutually agreed it was best to end it. For the remainder of the trip, we enjoyed each other's company as friends and fellow travelers. We had a very nice time together—and then we parted ways.
I say this all the time on this blog: Deviating is about following your most authentic path. Sometimes that path leads us into people's lives. Sometimes it leads us out of people's lives.
Jono was the longest relationship I've ever had because I've never been about bullshit. When it's right, you make it work and when it's wrong, you end it. Your feelings on it can be confusing at first, but that only means you're not ready to part ways. And that's ok. With Jono, I knew the plane had departed.
Not Deviating Careers...Yet
Last month, I celebrated my 1 year work anniversary. I've been an assistant director of a program for undergraduate research at a college on Long Island. And I really love it!
Like any job, it has it's less than exceptional moments. But I enjoy the work, the people I work with, and especially the students. I'm growing a lot in this job. I am learning a ton and becoming more confident in my abilities as an academic administrator. I've also met some brilliant people and made some awesome new friends.
Most importantly, I get a very generous amount of time off.
Besides going to Hawaii in January, I also took a week off to show my cousin Lisa from Germany around New York. That's the cousin I met while visiting my grandfather's farm in Rohr. She visited me with her boyfriend, Christoph two weeks ago. How cool is that?!
I showed them around New York City. We visited family upstate. And we even got to see Niagara Falls (a much better experience compared to last summer). I can't wait to share stories from all these adventures in future posts!
Next week, I travel to Arizona to present at a conference for work. Then, I'm going to stay out there and meet up with my bestie, Erin, for a road trip up into Utah.
I have not been to the grand canyon area of the USA in over 15 years! I am very much looking forward to exploring it with Erin and staying in some nice Airbnbs. The last time we had an adventure like this was when she visited me in New Zealand!
After Erin returns to California, I'll be couchsurfing out there for a few days! Couchsurfing will be a great way for me to reconnect with the travel community. I've been craving it! And work covered the cost of my flights out there. So it'll be an awesome and oh-so-cost effective experience!
I will also be going to another work conference in November that will take me back to New Orleans. I loved it there last summer with Jono. I can't wait to explore on my own this time.
Most exciting of all, I am gearing up for some international travel. This is a great, accidental benefit of the break-up. I am no longer saving points for travel back to New Zealand. Now I can go anywhere!
So something BIG is coming over this winter break (December/January) or next Summer 2018. I don't know exactly where yet. But, again, nothing is permanent! So we'll see where the wind blows me!
Sometimes we are forced down a new path by uncontrollable forces. Sometimes we are lucky enough to curate our own deviations and destinations.
Change can be stressful, even scary. But it also keeps us on our toes. It allows us to grow as individuals and reminds us that we are able to tackle just about anything life throws at us!