Lots have things have happened of late, and so few of them have been mentioned.
The big news is the American and I leaving our San Francisco life and are heading back out of the road. We’ve bought our plane tickets and I’ve put in my notice at work. It all becomes real life in about two weeks.
When people hear that we’re leaving, the first thing people ask is “but why are you leaving?”. I have only been sharing with them bits and pieces of the real answer. Most of my responses sound like this:
“We have itchy feet, and need to keep moving and travelling the world.”
“We want to take some time off from work, to take a long holiday.”
“We want to learn new skills, we want to meet new people and experience new things.”
“We’re taking a ‘career sabbatical’.”
Most have been really supportive, some even say “do it while you can!”, which has been so encouraging.
But making a choice to leave your job, apartment and life in search of something more is much more complex, and here’s what I mean by that.
Many people aspire to a steady income, investing in their own beautiful home, owning a couple of cars and peppering it with a handful of kids. But we don’t want what most other people seem to want. People are offended when you challenge the values they hold dear, so I don’t engage random work colleagues in a debate over the proverbial water cooler about why I think owning a home is a big waste of time and money. I’m not afraid of debate, I just don’t think that most people are really interested in hearing my views when they’re at work paying for a house that’s only worth half what they paid for it two years ago, and the four kids they’re trying to put through school.
The American and I value experience, flexibility and creativity and want to give weight to it in our lives. We don’t want to live to work, but instead want to work to live. We want to place an emphasis on good fresh food, an active lifestyle and adventure. Perhaps we can even find some way to make a living and make it a permanent adventure… But ultimately, we want to build a life for ourselves that is interesting and engaging. So this new phase is going to be where we try a new lifestyle on for size, and see if it fits.
Our plans are to return home to Sydney for three weeks in early November. I felt the ‘call’ to return about six months ago, and it gets stronger each day. I must abide. From there, we’ll spend the next chunk of time in South East Asia. We hope to make Thailand our base, but we’ll be playing it by ear, and seeing where the wind takes us.
A big, exciting adventure looms for us. Yet it’s a little daunting.
Even though this is a really positive next step for us, the last month or so has seen me really struggle. Packing up your life when you have settled somewhere is challenging, and this feels like a mourning period. I know I am leaving, and I am trying to squeeze as many memories as I can out of it. I am trying to get a much of my work done as possible, before I have to hand it over to someone else. I am (not so) quietly freaking out when I see my apartment and how much stuff we’ve accumulated since moving here more than three years ago. I’m trying to squeeze in as much time with friends as possible. And most of all, I am just trying to be okay with saying goodbye and embracing the uncertainty of the future.
I’m not the first person to have made a decision like this and know I won’t be the last, but I really appreciate the stories of those who are going through something similar. It makes the tough days a little easier knowing other people miss home, have made big decisions and are progressing on their own journey as a citizen of the world.
So we’ll be leaving here in just a few weeks, and we (read: I) have to let go of all the things that are part of my life here. We’re moving out of our apartment, donating most of our things, and storing the essentials. It will be the end of my San Francisco chapter. Who knows where we’ll end up, but I know we’ll be back here at some stage. San Francisco is too beautiful, and too intoxicating to be away from forever. But this is the right decision for us.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to take a risk”.
Good Luck on your next set of adventures. You will be gone from Sydney before I next visit there.
I’m glad other expats are feeling this 🙂 I never thought I’d get over Ireland, but the stopping part came so early in my travels I got a bit itchy. I hope you enjoy SEA! It’s where I grew up and it’s sure to be a lovely experience for you.
All the best and I hope you will set out to do everything you wish and more.
Make a stop in Switzerland at some point, yeah?
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