In July of 2015, I left my ten year retail career, moved out of my Brooklyn apartment, and booked a one-way ticket to Copenhagen. Ten countries, ten months, and hundreds of journal entries & recipes later, I am so excited (and scared sh%tless) to now share the full story with you. My journey was a call to the world in search of true food & authentic connection, and a call from within to let go, live unapologetically, and follow my gut no matter where it needed to go.
I must admit - as liberating and fulfilling as the journey was, it definitely wasn't all cupcakes and roses. Traveling alone for ten months without a plan was at times extremely frustrating, lonely, and tough. You start with all these assumptions and expectations on what quitting your job & traveling the world should feel like, and you realize all too quickly that it's nothing like you thought it would be. One of the most difficult lessons I learned was in giving myself permission to sit with any emotion that came up during the trip, even the uncomfortable ones or the ones I couldn't even put into words. But ultimately it was that permission to live fully, unapologetically, and authentically that made my journey so rewarding and aligned.
Self-care is rooted in that permission you give yourself to be how you want to be and feel how you want to feel, without the guilt and without the pressure that others impose on us. Often times, we find our social media feeds flooded with polished positive-only images of what life and happiness should look like. And it's not telling the full story. Editing our stories down to only the happy moments is dangerous. It hides the moments of doubt & vulnerability that we all feel in our everyday lives, and it gives others unrealistic expectations on what their life should look like. Seeing the blissful-only version not only makes us skeptical on how our acquaintances could 'really be that happy', but it also just makes us feel shameful about having these so called "bad" emotions that nobody else appears to experience.
The problem is, avoiding one side of the emotional spectrum completely cuts you off from truly reveling in the other - the good stuff people! Happiness. Peace. Strength. Fulfillment. They don't exist without their counterparts of sadness, chaos, vulnerability, and confusion. So expect to see all of it in my story, from the mosquito bites in the eye & the fizzled out romances, to the sunset bike rides along the French countryside, and the random dances down the streets of Madrid, when it all felt so resonant and right. I learned that it's not about denying yourself from feeling the feelings, but about how quickly you can bounce back and shift your perspective.
I feel compelled to share as much of my journey as possible with you in future posts, both the ups & the downs, in hopes of redefining what self-care truly looks like. A fulfilling & happy life doesn't just show up one day on your doorstep. It's a practice. I'm still practicing. I definitely still have my crappy days & tough moments. But I am committed to my new authentic life no matter where it leads me.
I hope sharing my story makes some of you feel less alone with what you are going through at the moment. Because we're all going through it, and it's important to talk about it. All of it.