2018: Travelpains and happiness
Once upon a time, twelve months ago, there was a girl who felt so trapped that she decided to quit her job and planned to discover the world. Or at least the south of Portugal. A month as volunteer in the Algarve became a roundtrip of six weeks through Portugal and Spain. She passed by cozy hostels, hospitable Couchsurfers and the most beautiful beaches. As I already wrote in those articles (in Dutch unfortunately), these weeks were very intense and emotional, but it also made me learn more about myself and made being on the go feel like a second nature. When I came back home in March, I was confused. Home wasn't really home anymore, it felt like no one understood me, any feels of purpose were all gone and I missed traveling and the sun. Everything at home seemed banal and selfish after being surrounded with all these warmly people for weeks. Day after day this state of mind became more silent. After all, if no one understood me, maybe it was me who was being the weird one.
In April I came across a job offer that sounded like a dream to me: working as a service rep/travel guide abroad! Around that time I was working temporary in sales but the lack of satisfaction this job gave me became more a burden to bear. So I filed the job application before I even had the time to start doubting about trying this new path or not. Shortly after this action I got invited to the job interview along with other candidates. Even though the image I had of this job was quite sugar coated, I was on cloud nine when I heard I could join the Training Academy in Portugal in a couple of weeks. During ten days my collegues and I worked our asses off and became very close as a group. Before I took off for this training I had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone, especially because I was scared to death that again there would be so many changes in me like I noticed after I came back from my solotravel in March. I was scared that no one would really care about me being back and that I wouldn't fit into my group of friends or my "old" way of thinking. I had so many new experiences in the beginning and I thought surprisingly little about home. I had this new job I never tried before, I didn't knew anyone, didn't spoke Italian and barely knew my way from my appartment to the hotels I worked in. But the excursions were amazing and the beautiful surroundings of Sorrento helped a lot in taking away this strange feeling of being the new one. I had a very close friendship with my Belgian collegue and together we did a lot of exploring around the beaches and nature. There were as well some moments when I needed support from my family and friends and when I reflect on those times now, those calls and messages gave me the strenght to go through and gave me again some love and warmth when I needed it. After four wonderful months in Sorrento I got to hear I could work for another month and a half in Tenerife before returning back home. I was over the moon about this news!
During my last weeks in the south of Italy I already felt some panic attacks when I thought about how it would be to live in Belgium again. I was afraid about not fitting in anymore and being the weird one again. Now even more than before, because everyone had their jobs, school, boyfriends and I couldn't think of any possibility for me to fit in all of that. So this extended workperiod in Tenerife was a welcome gift. I'd never been there before, but I already found a lot of promising blogs and photos from the beautiful nature on the island. Also the team was way bigger and younger than in Sorrento which could be interesting as well. My first two weeks on this Canarian Island didn't went that well. I was missing home and Sorrento, my second home, more than ever. I didn't felt good in the area of the island where I was living and there were so many collegues who had known each other since months and I felt so alone again. By now I noticed this whole periode is part of this job and probably everyone goes through this at some point in their own way. It's a period of adjustment, finding back your own strenght and finding your way in the unknown. The last four weeks on Tenerife flew by. Together with two other collegues I stayed in our house in Playa de las Americas (a terrible touristic area of Tenerife) were I started feeling more at home every day. Each day off I went out and discovered places I didn't saw before. I was exhausted by being contantly on the move but in the end I left the island with a huge feeling of satisfaction. Not everyone gets to live and work in two destinations during their first season as a service rep so I am really grateful for this experience.
The tiredness made me indifferent about everything and this feeling stayed with me when I returned to Belgium. I went from a sunny (both literally and figuratively) six month journey to a period of strange, grey fog. Nothing mattered anymore, I constantly felt like I was too much, didn't had any purpose and never felt more lonely. Even the stuff in my room seemed to be someone else's. This whole routine I had created was gone and once again I felt like the weird one. You could say this job was my prince charming and now I was heartbroken and lovesick. That's the downside of loving places you still have to discover and people you haven't met yet. Being in love with traveling and what traveling does with you, the pains you feel when you leave an old part of yourself behind because you grew for the better or when you want to tell your story but no one really listens because you are again sharing the same kind of stories, those are emotions only a few will get.
I am aware my problem is just a #firstworldproblem. This job is mainly a dreamjob to me. I get to know the most beautiful spots, go on expensive excursions for free, change my "office" every 3-6 months and there are barely rainy days. Oh and palmtrees everywhere! Also I love to talk about my job, the wonderful (and less good) moments it brought me, the breathtaking sunsets I saw. It gives me this warm, happy feeling within. You have to be a little bonkers to work such a hard job for a quite small paycheck, but when I think of how happy this all makes me, I am looking forward to another season (or two or ...). It also gives me tons of new blog inspo because I love to share all these beautiful spots with you. For 2018 I wanted to travel more often and more intense, find a job I really love to do and spend more time in happy places instead of burrying myself with dark negative thoughts, a thing I often did in the past years. So far I can tell you those first two wishes became reality, the last one is still a work in progress, but I am sure I will get there as well. The following months are looking promising, more of all of this is coming. This time I will fasten my seatbelt, I am so ready for where this rollercoaster will get me in 2019. A big thank you to everyone who was part of this smile on my face. I love you. The photos in this article are edited behind the scene shots taken by Sarah Cluyse, who also did my hair, make-up and styling for this shoot.
A little bit of everything I did the past twelve months to end this one: