In the spirit of the festive season and upcoming New Year resolutions, I recently quit my job in publishing and left everything behind in London to travel the world, in the hope of discovering what I really want to do and where I want to do it. Yes, it probably looks like a classic mid-twenties meltdown. And yes, it was terrifying. But do I regret it? Unsurprisingly, not at all.
In fact, part of me wonders why I hadn’t thought of this sooner. We get so wrapped up in thinking we should be in a certain place, boring ourselves to death in a job we hate, having everything by our mid-twenties and hating ourselves when we don’t, that we don’t appreciate what we do have when we have it. And that sucks, because we lose sight of who we really are and what our dreams are, in exchange for a soulsucking routine and an identity crisis by the tender age of 25. Or at least, that’s how I felt.
You see, I’m the ultimate cliché. I moved to London for love – love for another, and love for the city itself. I’ve loved London since I was really young – the bright lights, the bustling streets, and the feeling of being so small in a city that has it all. To me, growing up, the streets of London were literally paved with gold, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of it. So when I got that chance I grabbed it with both hands: new job, new city, new life. But it doesn’t always work out that way, hey?
Life has a funny way of letting you down, and millenials have a funny way of being unsatisfied with everything, and soon everything had changed. I didn’t like where I was living, I wasn’t enjoying my job, and my relationship of five years broke down, all in a matter of months. I was gutted – this wasn’t “the dream”. But I put on a brave face, and got on with it. Toughened up, didn’t let it get to me, refused to think about the past or what I could have done differently. But it was only a matter of time before the doubts started creeping in and soon enough the breakdown came. What was I doing wrong? What was I supposed to do about it? What the hell had it all been for?
I’m not going to pretend that now I’ve quit my job and got out of there that I have all the answers. In fact, I probably have even more questions. I still wonder what the huge expanse in front of me, that is my life, is going to, or is supposed to, look like. I still wonder whether I could have handled certain things more sensitively, or if I’d have been wired differently inside I would still be in a place where I was in love.
But I do know this: things do change, and I’m still young. That’s what life is, a sequence of changes that affect you for better or worse, and you can either go with the flow or fight them until they break you down. Either way, things don’t always go to plan, especially when you’ve had that same plan your whole life. Expectation is often the greatest form of disappointment, and you’ve got to learn to mould yourself to new situations in order to move forward, and not get left behind.
If it wasn’t for my friends, who are absolute shining stars, I WOULD be left behind with a closet full of questions and doubts. But instead I packed up my belongings, moved out, and booked a one way ticket out of London with them, telling myself to move on. Of course I was scared, of course I had second thoughts. I even went so far to think that the boy who was now in my past, would try and stop me before I left. But I wanted to travel the world, and see that there is way more out there than anything I have experienced so far, or left behind.
I’m now sat here in a sunnier part of the world, talking to you and telling you that if this is all hitting a little close to home for you: do not panic.
I can assure you that I am you. I have no idea what I’m doing, and I have no idea how long this trip will last.
But I do know that I’m going to do it all, travel and see the world. And I’d like you to come with me.
Are you in?