In a few hours I will take the last flight of my round the world trip.
I am going back to my hometown Barcelona.
It is strange thinking about going back to Barcelona, because I am not only going back after 11 months of long term travel, I am going back after 11 years living abroad.
11 years. That is about one third of my life. Wow.
When I decided to apply for a sabbatical leave from my old job in Toulouse, I had no idea what to expect from the future. Would I love traveling so much that I would become a permanent nomad? Or would my wanderlust be satisfied so I could settle down?
Thoughts and decisions
During the trip, I have gone through different phases. At the beginning, the feeling of freedom was so intoxicating that I thought I would like to live like this forever. I had never felt happier, I was even feeling more healthy. The headaches, backaches and other aches from stress were gone. Going back to my old job, to my old life? No way.
I had no clue what I would do for a living (because I funded my round the world trip with my savings, but they will not last until retirement), but I was not worried about that yet. I still had time to think. I was calm, I was happy.
After six months, though, I started feeling tired and missed having my own space, my room, my clothes, my books, my stuff. My family and friends around. Maybe I could do not be a permanent nomad after all. However, I could not see myself back to a traditional job with one month (or less) of holidays per year.
What to do, then?
I had some ideas but that would take time. I considered going back to Toulouse, to my old job, to start saving money again while I did the transition to a new career. But… I felt it would not be honest. How would I look at my colleagues, talk about our projects, knowing that I was getting ready to leave? Additionally, as the countdown started and I saw the end of the trip approaching, I started feeling strange, like something was wrong.
Anxiety was back.
I have learnt to listen to the signals. Not the astrological ones, but the signals from our body. If thinking about going back to Toulouse woke up anxiety, it meant that it was not the right decision, even if it was the “safest” and most logical from an economical point of view.
During these last weeks, whenever someone asked me if I would go back to Toulouse, I said “probably not”. Deep inside I knew the answer, but I was still scared to say it out loud. It was not until a few days ago that I had the courage to write to my employer to officialize the news.
I have quit my job.
I am 32, homeless and jobless.
When I think about it my head spins. I am scared. I feel like I am jumping to the void and I do not know if the parachute will work. A lot of people my age already have a stable job, apartment and kids. I have chosen a life of uncertainty instead of the “security” of being an employee (as secure as that is today, with the economical crisis and all). I have some ideas for the future, but the transition might take some time. And I do not know if it will work.
So, for the moment, I am going back to Barcelona.
This is not the end of the trip though, it is the beginning of a new journey. I left Barcelona when I was 20, still a student. I have not lived there as an adult. I am looking forward to rediscover the city, to see it with new eyes. Traveling is not only about the destination, but also the attitude. I am also looking forward to test my ideas and try to figure out how to have a lifestyle that allows me to combine work and travels.
And what about this blog?
This blog will continue! I still have to tell you about the last months in South America, and I am also planning to write some useful information about the trip, as the final cost and feedback on traveling with hand luggage only. If there is anything you would like to know about the planning, solo travel, a specific destination, or anything else, please feel free to ask in the comments below.
And of course, I will find a way to keep traveling in the future and sharing it with you!
Thanks for having been with me all this time!
More about my round the world trip
- Month 1 (India): learning and adaptation
- Month 2 (Thailand, Laos): changes
- Month 3 (Laos, Cambodia): reflexions about being lucky
- Month 4 (Malaysia): unexpected events
- Month 5 (Australia, New Zealand): new continent, new challenges
- Month 6 (New Zealand): testing my limits
- Month 7 (Chile): slow travel
- Month 8 (Chile, Argentina): my best memories, the people
- Month 9 (Canada, Chile): holidays and back to the road
- Month 10 (Bolivia): dealing with altitude and health
- Month 11 (Argentina, Uruguay): decisions
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Anna | slightly astray says
oh Laia, I can identify so much with this!! When I started on te journey, it felt so good and so freeing. But then I started to feel lost without a purpose or a clear sense of direction for the future. All I know is that the thought of going back and working at a real job again makes me feel miserable. I still don’t have it figured out yet, except that we are trying out a new venture to see if it would allow us to travel on for forever. Our finances are very rocky at the moment and we’re not sure how long we can go on for, so we’re also talking about staying put in one place for a while and find some jobs. Sometimes i wonder if I made the right choice to travel, but then I think about all that I’ve seen and done and I can’t possibly regret it! I really wish you the best of luck on your move back home and in figuring out your next steps!!
Thanks so much Anna! Reading your blog I also felt identified in many ways, your story is very inspiring for me! I really hope you will find a way to finance your lifestyle. In any case I do not regret quitting my job for travelling, this year has been amazing in many ways! Wish you the best of luck!! 🙂
Good luck in your new adventure ¡¡¡¡ 🙂
Thanks JuanLu!!!! 🙂
Wow! You know I wish you the best in this new journey. Hope you can reach your maximum potential while doing things you love. I didn’t know you were from Barcelona. I’ll be there next week and am really excited about that.
Thanks for your support Ruth! Yes, I’m from Barcelona, I hope you enjoy your trip here! I’m still in readaptation process but once I settle down again I’d like to rediscover the city 🙂
Brave decision, I wish you all the best for your future, hope you work out what is right for you!
Thanks for your support!!
First of all: Thank you do much for taking us on your trip around the world, it was (and still continues to be) an inspiration!! And secondly: Congratulations for following your heart, it’s a brave but surely the right decision! The problem with everyday-life is that we often lose the ability to listen to our guts. Or we simply aren’t brave enough to move away from conventions. I wish you the best of luck, a lot of strength and willpower and the wisdom to see where your path is leading you!!
Thanks Luzia for being “virtually with me” during this trip, it’s been very important for me to know that there were people on the other side of the screen, and for your support. It’s been a difficult decision and the next months will surely be difficult as well, but I hope to get the energy necessary to find my own path 🙂
Jill's Scene says
Laia, I’ve followed you around the world, ever since I discovered your post about Vientiane on Monday Walks with Jo, not long after I had been in Vientiane myself! Every best wish to you for the next stage in your journey!
Thank you Jill! 🙂
María G says
Ánimo Laia! You have taken the best and most honest decision. Difficult maybe, but your travel solo wasn’t easy either.
Se te echará de menos en Toulouse 😉
Gracias Maria!! Besos
Barcelona is a beautiful city. And there are some truly wonderful short trips and adventures you can have from there once you’re ‘settled’ again. The main thing is your health, of course. I hope that you have family and maybe connections who can help you restart your life there? Whatever happens, I wish you well, Laia, and I will look forward to finding out what comes next. 🙂 Sending hugs!
Thanks Jo for your support! Yes, I do have family and friends in Barcelona 🙂 I’m still “landing” but once I settle down I’d like to rediscover the city, now that I can see it with new eyes. But later on, for the moment I take rest and think about the future 🙂
Wow! Nice post! I’m just willing to know what you are going to do next!
I think that for the moment, you can start enjoying Barcelona. You can visit your own city as a traveler (not a tourist) enjoying every corner of the city.
Then? Who knows?
Laia | colibrist says
Thank you! At the moment I’m working on my new project and and also enjoying being in Barcelona, when I feel more settled down I’m planning to rediscover the city 🙂
And then… who knows? 🙂