As I mentioned last week, I did some reading and thinking and have come to a decision. It’s time to leave the familiar behind and to start living again. Yes, next year I’ll make a dream come true. *drumroll* I’m going to travel again!
Coincidence or luck
Coincidentally (or luckily) my work contract ends this year. Which meant it was high time to start thinking about what I wanted to do.
Writing this blog and reading all the insightful comments also helped me to realize that I’m in control of my life. I don’t live to work, I work to live. And so when making decisions, your own well-being should be the starting point. After all, you are the one that has to live with the consequences of those decisions. This is why I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for years. To travel for an extended period of time. Or to be precise, to travel around the world in six months.
Long before my accident I’d already begun with saving money. My contract coming to an end as well as the realization that city life is not for me, provided the perfect opportunity to fulfil my travel dreams.
Working with a brain injury
During my reintegration, after rehabilitation, I was mostly happy to have found a job. To discover that someone would hire me despite my brain injury and even to find a job on my previous level. I knew that working would require a lot of energy, but choose to try it anyway.
I wanted to discover my limits. To see whether I would be able to attend a meeting, give a presentation or work in an office space. As a result I’ve learned a lot about myself and discovered that I still can do a lot. Unfortunately, I learned that everything comes with a price. With more stimuli, shorter deadlines or complex assignments, an increasing amount of energy is required.
Working therefore determines my rhythm. When I’m off, I’m mostly resting or sleeping. In the weekend I have three hour ‘left’ to meet up with friends. The other hours are needed to recharge my battery for the coming week.
After almost three years, this work-life balance starts to get to me. Even though I love my job and really like my colleagues, it isn’t a sustainable situation. I want more than working and resting. I want to live again.
Dare to follow your dreams
This whole brain injury experience has made me more conscious of the fragility of life. In the blink of an eye everything can change. Why than would we keep putting off the things that bring us joy?
The funny thing is that once I made the decision to start travelling again, I felt liberated. It felt like taking back control over my own life and I started looking forward to the future again. Does that mean that it’s a smooth sailing. Hell no, the thought of flying for over two hours and having to brave crowded airports absolutely terrifies me, but I won’t let that stop me. I promised myself early on, that I wouldn’t use my brain injury as an excuse to not do something.
I know I will be trading in my life with routines and familiarity for a whole lot of uncertainty. Which in turn leads to doubts, will I be able to handle it? What do I do when my support system is on the other side of the world? Will I ever find a job and house again?
Every time I notice these doubts, I stop myself. I take a deep breath and try to focus on the ‘now’. The smell of coffee, the feeling of sunlight or the sound of leaves in the wind. I’m making a dream come true, that’s what I want to focus on. Naturally I’ll have to take my limitations into account, but those don’t define me. The most important thing is that I’ll be doing something that makes me happy.
The coming four months I will still be working and dealing with all the preparations. In January I will empty out my apartments and start packing. Next, in February, the adventure begins with the first long flight to Sri Lanka.
I’m excited to see what the future will bring!
To be continued…
Any tips or questions? I look forward reading them in the comments below!