It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
In my mind, I’ve written this post a hundred times. In reality, I’ve written it four times, trying to figure out where to begin, what to say to fill the space that has elapsed since I last wrote. It was never my intention to let the blog float silently for as long as it has, but the irony of writing a travel blog is that they’re nearly impossible to maintain and keep timely when one is actually traveling, and I found that being stationary posed its own set of challenges. In my first draft of this post, my enumeration of all the reasons I haven’t updated the site these past six weeks spanned well over a page and it all felt a bit “the lady doth protest too much.”
I took a good hard look at what I had written and—loathe though I am to admit this—immediately the following quote from Elizabeth Gilbert (groan!) popped into my head and I knew what I had to do:
“Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
So, the reason I haven’t written here lately is because:
- I was uninspired.
- I was sad.
- I was scared.
- I was tired.
- I didn’t want to.
On Being Uninspired
Life in Rochester eventually became routine and quotidian, and rather than giving me the mental space and invigoration to write, I actually wound up finding it creatively lobotomizing. Life on the road poses its own set of challenges to the writing life (which I’ll address below), but I’ve definitely found that being out of my element in foreign, unfamiliar places tends to provide a free flow of inspiration that I just can’t as readily tap into when I’m somewhere that I find, for lack of a better word, mundane. (This isn’t a direct slam at Rochester, by the way. I struggled with the same issue in Toronto, too!)
On Being Sad
Our days in Rochester morphed into carbon copies of one another, each one seamlessly sliding into the next. Time passed, but it felt like we were stalled out, working on projects, socking away money, but also spinning our wheels. I half-joked to Tony that we were putting the word “rut” back into “routine”. At times, I felt like nothing would give or change, and as a result, I just didn’t relish reliving past travel adventures. In contrast with our present circumstances, our previous adventures just caused a keen pain to course through me. For a while, these feelings got so bad that I stopped reading other travelers’ blogs too, because I just couldn’t deal with seeing other people living adventures we should have been having, instead of being stuck in Minnesota and its never-ending winter. I started to resent travel because I couldn’t have it in my life at the moment, which wasn’t a great writing mindset. Yes, we chose to spend that time in Rochester and there were many benefits to us doing so, but I missed being on the move and it was so very cold!
On Being Scared & Tired
For so long, we felt like we were frozen in place, and in some ways, we embraced it. There is an immense amount of comfort to be found in being in familiar surroundings, in not being challenged in your day-to-day life, in knowing what every day will have in store. Yes, it’s boring, but it’s got this anesthetizing quality as well where I kind of stop feeling much of anything, either good or bad. When we eventually made the decision that we could not live in limbo forever, that we needed to once more move forward with our plans to, well, move forward, it felt like life agreed and started to move at double speed. Days melted away and we were soon staring down the barrel of our road trip to Mexico. After months of living with the security of the rent-free parental safety net, it was really scary and hard to push ourselves out of the nest and into the unknown once more. Sometimes my anxiety and fear were paralyzing, and the rest of the time we were too busy trying to get it together enough so that we could leave like deep down we knew we wanted to. I was so scared that we weren’t ready, that we would fail; but I also knew that the life we were meant to be living was out there waiting for us, and so we pushed through the fear and hit the road.
(At this point, I was so exhausted from the worrying and the planning and the seemingly insurmountable pile of things that needed to get done, that what I really wanted most of all was to get into bed, pull the covers over my head, and never get out again. It pretty much took everything I had to make it through each day and function normally that I definitely didn’t have the capacity to write anything.)
On Not Wanting to Write
What all this really boils down to is that I didn’t write either because I couldn’t or because I just didn’t want to. I’ve never wanted my writing here to feel like a chore rather than a source of joy, and whenever I’ve sat down to say something the last six weeks, I’ve felt a mute frustration or vaguely existential apathy towards the site. Figuring that sometimes it’s good to give ourselves breaks, I gave myself a reprieve, assuming/hoping/praying that my words would find me when I was ready for them and actually had something I wanted or needed to say.
On Being Tired (Again!)
I suspected that my words and I would reunite once I was traveling again, and indeed, as we chewed up the miles, leaving Rochester and its sub-zero temperatures in our review mirror, I felt something soften within me and they began to flood my mind, like a dam finally breaking. But, after so much time being in one place, the transition to full-time nomads has definitely been a process. We had forgotten how tiring it is to cover hundreds of miles in a day, racing from one stunning attraction to the next, finding a new bed to sleep in every night and packing our bags every morning. And, of course, this time we get to juggle caring for the dogs with all of that too. So, I finally got my words back, only to find I was too busy and too tired to make use of them.
But! We’re in Mexico now. Surprise? Surprise! We have been here for one week, the first part of which we spent in the car driving to San Blas (where we currently are), and the rest of it has been spent getting our bearings, acclimating to the realities of our new life, and eating as many tacos as we can fit in our bellies. We’ve been taking things easy and going slow (except when it comes to the tacos…), letting ourselves adjust to this change at our own pace. We’re still learning the ropes and getting a handle on Mexico, but certainly one of the gifts it’s already given me is that, finally, the time feels right to start writing here again. We have so many stories to tell you guys—both old ones (like our amazing, magical road trip through the U.S.) and new ones (featuring puppies and playas and all the Mexican food!)—and I am legitimately excited to start doing that again.
So, thanks for your patience, for sticking with us as we’ve left you hanging, and for being a part of our journey. Many stories and photos to come… 20YH lives on!