“Welcome back,” he said to me as I hear the familiar sound of my passport being stamped. I smile genuinely and say thank you. A little burst of happiness goes through my body and sort of wakes me up from the 9 hour flight from Berlin. I know people say that the U.S. immigration can be really mean, but I’ve always enjoyed coming back into the country after being gone for a long time and I always feel welcomed – like this time.
I grab my backpack and start to take two steps towards the luggage retrieval and my mood suddenly slides into a downward spiral…
I’m back and for the first time in 9 years I have no plan to leave next.
No. Plan. To. Leave.
I’m trying not to freak out. This is what I wanted. I have been turning down opportunities to travel because I wanted a little downtime to catch up with work, work on new projects, and sit still. I needed to do this for my sanity. It seemed like a good idea, but now I’m in a panic. Not having a plan, not knowing when I’m leaving, not having something on my calendar opens up a giant insecurity canyon in my brain. I’m not really sure how long I will be able to fight off the urge to plan my next trip and be in motion. Granted, I still don’t have any home-base, so I will be moving around the US for the holidays once again. I will be moving – but that doesn’t solve my need to cry every time someone asks me the frequent question, “Where are you off to next?”
My plan thus far has been to throw myself into therapy. However, I’m too cheap for actual therapy so instead I’m doing ‘therapy via podcasts’. I adore podcasts. I’m listening to (more like devouring) them on my runs, subway rides, downtime trying to make sense of all of the emotions, fears, and thoughts floating through my head.
Here are a few of my favorites lately:
Magic Lessons Podcast
Ted Radio Hour Podcast: Quiet
Ted Radio Hour: What We Fear
The podcasts have also led me to a few great books that I’m loving too:
It’s fitting that in this season of fear and scares I’m in the process of facing one of my greatest fears. Sitting still with no plans to move.
For Halloween, and as a homage to sitting still…and being in a mental state of disrepair, I decided to pull together my favorite pictures from 2015 of being still for eternity as well as a few of my favorite abandoned places that have fallen into disrepair.
By Amanda October 29, 2015 - 8:09 am
What an incredible tie in to see some beautiful photography. I do wish you the best on sitting still. I think in your phrasing you say you’re doing it for your sanity. I think that is so important, and I think that’s a hint that you’re doing the right thing! Embrace the fear. 🙂
As a side note: people DO always complain about coming back into the US. But I’ve never had an issue! Not a single grumpy person has helped me. But then again perhaps I’m lucky!
By Sherry November 14, 2015 - 12:38 pm
Good to hear that you have also had good luck returning to the US too!
By Shelley Graner October 29, 2015 - 11:52 am
“Where are you off to next?” is the WORST question! Coming home in August this year with no next move planned, that was the question I feared most. I almost wanted to spin the globe and buy a ticket somewhere, anywhere, just so I would have an answer. Instead I had to admit, “I don’t know” and pretend I was ok with it. I think other people’s expectations and judgment (it always feels like judgment) are worse than my own restlessness. I look forward to the day when I can respond, “I don’t know” and feel completely ok with it. But I know that change has to come from me… not them. I’m working on it. Have you read Brene Brown? I love her stuff. Thanks for sharing your feelings on this!
By DeJavieur L Speller November 3, 2015 - 7:19 am
Yes, great post of what some of us struggle with. I’m going to listen to these pod posts. You’ll figure it out one day at a time.
By Finding a Home Base as a Long Term Traveler - A Travel Blog December 14, 2015 - 4:14 am
[…] I was listening to my friend Sherry Ott of Ott’s World Travel on the Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast, hosted by another blogger friend, Travis Sherry. The purpose […]