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I guess that you can describe the feeling as surreal; yea, surreal is how I would describe this feeling. It’s as if I’ve awaken from a beautiful dream, suddenly realizing that I’m living in a very repetitive and unchallenging reality.
Back in March 2016, Ash and I landed at the LAX airport feeling defeated. The wheels touching down upon that tarmac was the sound of our grand journey across Europe coming to an end; we were coming home. We’d spent the past eleven months trotting across Eastern and Western Europe with one goal, to create a sustainable life on the road. However, reality came crashing down, plummeting us into the depths of its void, when our bank accounts hit zero with no promise of success in sight which left us with the thought that this whole trip was a waste of time.
Ash and I both had to swallow our pride and accept a generous offer from my parent’s to move in with them while we got back on our feet. They live in Grover Beach, a small sleepy beach town in California, about five miles from where I grew up. I did everything I could to look at this as positive step toward our dreams and not a negative one but I could see the devastation in Ashley of having to come back to California, coming home. I tried to ignore the feeling of despair that was slowly engulfing me. At that moment I needed to be the optimistic one so I never told Ashley that I felt defeated as well.
I would tell her,
“Look our first guide book will be coming out in December; look we will be living by the beach rent free. What a perfect place to lay low and write our book. Look in 2017 we will be back on the road heading to South America.”
I kept repeating this everyday, because all of this is true but it could not vanquish this sadness in me. I was forcing myself to be positive because I did not want to admit that I felt defeated. I truly, with all my heart wanted to believe that we had not failed.
Despair is a devastating feeling; it has a way entrenching itself in every facet of your life. It destroys your drive, it consumes all of your energy. It is a free fall into darkness where your mind can’t find the exit. It hollows you out and creates a shell of who you once were. Just because I was trying to ignore it does not mean that I wasn’t being consumed by it. My dream of traveling just continued to look more and more impossible.
I would watch Ashley working hard on our dream while I sat on my phone feeling hopeless. I was doing nothing to help our situation; I was just making excuses of why I was not working. All the while, I was getting frustrated with Ashley for not hiding her frustration of being back in California, at coming home. I was not frustrated at her, I was frustrated because I could not admit to myself that I was frustrated as well. All I could do was dwell on it.
I was convincing myself that the reason why we’ve not been successful was just bad luck, not because I was not pulling my weight. I was convincing myself that a singular day of hard work would make up for all the days of being lazy. I was in denial; I was in denial of how I was feeling and I was in denial of how little effort I was putting forth towards our success. I knew the truth and I know that it’s been Ashley who is pulling both of our weight to keep our dream from sinking. It is Ash who has been carrying all the responsibility on her shoulders. That guilt of knowing that I am the one holding us back was eating away at me.
Every morning I have been putting on a smile and telling everybody that I’m doing well and that everything is fine. Before I knew it, this feeling of despair and failure had crippled me; it had paralyzed me and I have been too afraid to tell anybody that I am not doing okay. I hate that I had to come back home with nothing to show from our travels, from our supposed business. I hate that I have been letting myself feel sorry for myself. I hate lying to myself; I hate the fact that I am not still on the road. I hate the fact that I have let Ashley down.
I hate that I have let myself feel so defeated and feel so hopeless. I am frustrated and all I want to do is blame someone else but the only person to blame is myself because I am the one who has not been putting in the work to be successful. I am the one who has been so afraid of failure that I have paralysed myself. I hate the fact that I have given up and no longer believe that I can do this.
I hate the fact that I am scared. I am scared that everything is not going to work out. I am scared, I am frustrated, and all I want to do is scream!
The answer should be easy right?
Just get over it; change. Stop being lazy; stop overindulging in vices that hurt you. Just become a BLOODY ADULT! I know I yell at myself in my mind everyday. Stop being the problem and be the change that I want to see in myself. That is the funny thing about this feeling hopelessness, it like a sludge that engulfs you and poisons your ambition. It strangles everything that allows you to change. It slowly eats you alive. I know this feeling. I have been through it before and I know how hard it is to fight it.
I know there is no reason to be depressed. I have a very blessed life. I have a family who loves and supports me in everything I do. Who are there for me physically and emotionally. I was able to spend the last seven years traveling and living in amazing places. I am grateful for having all of this; I am grateful that I have the ability to go out and take chance without any true fear of ending up on the streets.
I am very privileged in that respect. That is why coming home is so hard, because I feel like I have let everybody down, I feel as if I’ve lost. The idea of “why don’t you just grow up and get a real job” is sneaking into my mind. Which is all a fathom of my imagination because nobody is saying that.
Coming back home, coming back from where I started 8 years ago just feels like defeat. This drastic change in life has been very tough on me. It has been very tough on Ashley. We have put so much at risk to do what we did and it just seems like we have lost and I can not find the motivation to carry on. All I want to do is give up and go to bed.
So what am I going to do?
At this very moment, as I write this, I’m fighting this drowning sensation that I am feeling inside. The only difference is that I am no longer trying to hide my frustration with our situation. I am no longer trying to subside my frustration with unhealthy vices. I am letting it all out and I am for once being honest with myself.
I am done with making excuses; I am tired of just being a shell of who I used to be. I am tired of letting my fear of failure control me. I am tired of feeling sorry for myself. It is time for me to sit up and pull my own weight, it is time to be honest; it is time to fight back against this feeling of hopelessness by actually putting in the work that is needed. It is time for me to realize the only way of truly failing is by giving up.
Yes, I am frustrated that I’m back home; yes I am frustrated that things did not work out the way I wanted to the first time. I am frustrated and that is okay because I am no longer going to allow that to paralyze me. I am going to use it as fuel.
By this coming December, Ash and I will have a published book, and we will be back on the road again. And we will be both putting in the work to make us succeed and we will not stop. I will no longer allow myself to get in the way of what I want to do and that is to spend my life exploring this wonderful and mysterious world. I no longer want to be afraid.
I owe it to myself and I owe it to Ashley to put everything I have into our dream and not let despair take over me again. I am tired of just talking and that is why I wrote this to put this out there for everyone to see so that I have to keep myself accountable.
I think coming home was a good thing I think it was the exact thing I needed to remind me what I want and not to accept anything less.
I would like to thank my family for all the support and love they have shown me. I love being able to spend time with you all. I am extremely grateful to have all of you in my life. I know how lucky I am that I am able to come back when things do get tough and have your support.
I hope you know that this frustration is not aimed at any of you. I love you all very much and I would not be able to do any of this without you! Ash, it should go without saying how much you have done for me and for us. I love you very much thank you for being my better half!
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