“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Well it feels like a lifetime ago that I was on the boat in Croatia. The tan lines have faded and it seems more like a dream I keep chasing to relive, but the memories are mine for a lifetime. The experience did change me and I knew coming home something would have to be different.
Since coming home my life feels like it has been on an emotional roller coaster. Post vacation depression is real, and after 10 days of the best vacation of my life, my lows were low. To help pop me out of my post vaca blues I did what any fernweh soul would do…I booked more trips. I booked a trip for every month from July to November; a wedding in Wisconsin, a weekend getaway to Toronto, Labor Day weekend in London, a work trip to Amsterdam, and my birthday/Thanksgiving in Paris & Spain! I thought that would solve it, but slowly I slipped right back into a lull. The trips I planned were exciting and I looked forward to them but my day to day just seemed mindless and too familiar. I wanted a life change not just more vacations.
I immediately started investigating. Turns out my company has an office in London. With excitement and hope I began to research everything I could on work visas, our policy, the job opportunities, and the benefits I could offer. I created a proposal and sat down to talk to my boss. Well my proposal didn’t even get off the ground. I was confronted with questions of my loyalty to the company and told that there was no opportunity there and my job was only to be in Washington DC. I understood the complications but it was still a crushing blow. I cried in a small office conference room on my lunch break and my emotional reaction made me sure of one thing, I needed to find another way.
I had always seen those ads on Instagram for this thing called Remote Year, follow people as they work remotely, but I had never engaged in it. Suddenly a friend sent me the link and I finally gave in and looked into it. I was instantly taken by the fact that they have changed the culture of corporate success, with technology you really don’t have to quit your job to travel the world. I started to assess my job and realized I already work remotely 2 days a week, I already work with people around the globe, nothing I do has to be done in person, and it wouldn’t cost the company anything. The only catch would be to allow me to work remotely for a year.
I was just coming off of a sour conversation about my proposal for London and I felt like I would be in trouble for even asking about remote year. My fear weighed in on me and feeling stuck I turned to friends and family for help.It saddens me to say I regret this decision. In a time where I was seeking reassurance, support, and words of wisdom of how I can conquer the world, I was met with discouragement, doubt, and gloom. My family thought that I had spiraled; my mom said I needed therapy. Why risk a job that is paying me a “good” salary? Don’t I know how hard it is in this world to find a job? I was being rash and irresponsible they said. My father thought remote year sounded like a scam and our conversation quickly escalated into a cursing match over the phone. My grandfather (granted he is 92 and just from a different generation) said I was of “marriageable age” and I needed to focus on building a family. After every phone call (and there were many) I felt shattered and broken. They made me question my dreams, question my abilities, question my strength, and they made me question my happiness. Did I really need to be that happy? Should I just settle for the mundane? Should I settle for a life that I just go through?
Fuck that! I won’t settle for anything less than amazing. I want a life I thrive in, have passion in, and I look forward to everyday. Luckily I was reminded of these things by the amazing “family” I have. My stepmom was always the first person I would call after a conversation that ended with me in tears. She has been so supportive, she still makes sure I understand the risk, but is always there to say if this is your dream you have to try to make it work. My friends, I swear they are probably sick of my endless texts of bitching, and asking for help, but they are there to say go for it (so thank you guys!).
In an attempt to be a rational adult I decided there was no rush. I should wait a while and see how I feel, and I would not do anything for a few months. Well maybe four days later I found the YouTube channel of Eddie Contento; a guy who had just started Remote Year. He had two videos, an intro Vlog of his anticipation of the trip and his second was a recap of his first month in Prague. I watched the video of Prague 5 times that night, threw all my logic out of the window, and applied to Remote Year for 2017. After additional applications and interviews I got the email, I was accepted for the January 2017 program.
This time I felt more prepared, I had built a business case with Remote Year’s help, and I was ready to take the leap to present this to my boss. Another big NO…I felt so helpless. My dream was being shot down at stage 1. My boss’s boss emailed me saying she heard I had a presentation and wanted to “catch up”. I pitched it to her and she didn’t say no, but she didn’t say yes. She told me to let her think about it and do some research. Two weeks later I got an email that she was having a meeting with HR, I was beyond excited, I thought this can only mean that it is going to be a yes! False, I was given the news on a phone call, and to be honest when the word no came out of her mouth her voice just began to fade. I recall reasoning of its just not the right time, and such, but I was just going numb. It is an awful feeling to feel like your dreams are in someone else’s hands. To know that you would be able to make it work and think why won’t they just allow you the opportunity to prove it to them?
Since the no I have feel as if I have fallen back into a hole of sadness. I walk around the office with my headphones in, refusing to be social. I know what it must look like, a millennial throwing a tantrum because she didn’t get her way, but I can’t help but feel a sense of resentment, at least for now.
Sadly nobody said life was easy or fair. Life can be shitty sometimes. So now I am faced with some big decisions. How/where do I go from here? Soul searching is never fun and life decisions that can redefine your life are scary as hell. It appears my emotional roller coaster is far from over (and I’m ready to puke and get off the ride already). I wish I could say this blog has an ending but for now all I can say is that I am still chasing the dream and hopefully the ride is worth it.