Autumn in Chicago

A year at home.

Twelve months ago I returned home, to Chicago, after three and a half years of traveling the world.

Twelve months ago I returned to my old job, the one I held before I quit to travel, and picked up right back where I was before I left.

Twelve months ago I returned, for first time in a long time, with a sense of permanence.

This past year flew by in a haze and I’m not sure where it all went. It’s no secret that I’ve been in a funk. I’ve barely blogged. I’ve come home most nights to watch TV in bed. I’ve been anti-social. I’ve hardly touched my gym membership. My apartment still has a few boxes that need to be unpacked. And I haven’t done any of the things that come with a permanent location that I wanted to do. Guitar lessons. Dance lessons. Dating.

Sometimes, often, it feels like I never traveled at all. It feels like those three and a half years of my life were all just a dream.

On the surface it’s been a fine year. But underneath, I’ve felt lost. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I want anymore.

I’ve lost that spark I had gained. I’ve lost my confidence. I’m lost.

I just returned from two weeks in Thailand, a much needed vacation, my first trip abroad in a year, and feel like I’m ready to pull myself out again.

Thailand reminded me how capable I am. Thailand reminded me how talented I am. Thailand reminded me of what my life could be. Of who I could be. Of who I am.

I could be, and was, the girl who could kiss a random guy without thinking of the consequences. The girl who could show no fear. The girl who could show up in a city and navigate without hesitation. The girl with confidence. The girl with purpose.

I once learned to be that girl. All of those girls. And somewhere I still have it. Somewhere.

I’ve lived the last year in a still coma. Not moving. Not reaching.

But I’m ready to break out. I’m ready to start living life again and going after those things I want.

In an attempt, I’ve cancelled Hulu and Netflix, my two biggest nemeses (though, there’s some surprisingly good bad reality shows on free Hulu… just sayin…).

In an attempt, I’ve started taking more actions to bring my blog(s) back to life.

In an attempt, I’m finally starting to tackle some of those to do list items I put off week after week.

I’m ready to take on the world again. I’m ready to feel whole again. One step at a time.

After I get over this jet lag.

Autumn in Chicago


A year at home.
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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Micamyx|Senyorita
    November 2, 2015at12:31 pm

    Hi Val!

    I saw you during TBEX Asia, but didn’t now how I should approach you (so little time to meet everyone!). I do have the same sentiments. For the past year, I concentrated with work and I was stagnant for a long time. Thailand and the blogger friends I was with reminded me of who I was back 2012. I’m planning to resurrect my blog too haha cheers to us x

  • Turner Wright
    November 3, 2015at3:29 am

    You’re not alone here. I returned home a year ago after some time in Korea and the Philippines. I don’t know why I don’t try more here… part of the reason is I don’t really have a good group of friends in Seattle and am unmotivated to go on day trips alone. But two weeks in Turkey and Greece reminded me who I used to be. Giving notice to my job, and figuring out something else soon. I have no idea where to go from here…

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