It has been a week since I arrived in Buenos Aires, and I am currently settling into my new way of living. As I have been on the ship for the last two years, I have decided to chase my desire to be a self-employed writer. I knew I couldn’t reach this goal while still working on the ship because I was splitting half of my year on the boat, and new opportunities were beginning but conflicted with my work schedule.
So, by making the decision to leave, I have opened my time to new opportunities, such as moving into writing full-time and teaching yoga for the first time at a retreat. These are both small steps in building the foundation for the next phase of my life. I am taking the time to work on memoir writing skills to move towards publishing my first book, and by teaching at the retreat, I am building my resume from just studio work into more even work. Making these small decisions was hard because saying yes to these opportunities meant saying no to a stable and secure job. Still, if I want more things like these in my life, I have to say yes when they become available, even if I am still determining where it will lead.
I reflected a lot about these notions while I was studying at Arhanta Yoga Ashram for the last month. In January, I finally took a 200-hour yoga certification in person in India. Three years ago, I planned to go to Bali to complete my training, but COVID-19 canceled those plans, and I completed the requirements online before I started teaching shortly after. Now that I had the time and money, I prioritized taking an in-person training course this year. So, while I was at the Ashram, I didn’t realize that I would be so disconnected from the world as we didn’t have excellent internet access even with a local SIM card, so I took the opportunity to stop writing and gave myself a break and release from the stress I felt in Armenia about how I had made a terrible decision and that I was going to fail. And then, one day, while meditating, I had a breakthrough, and I was no longer in fear about the future.
Thoughts from the Ashram
Regarding travel, I am okay with hopping on a plane plan or no plan. I know that life is short or long, depending on how many versions of yourself you willing welcome into this life. So, if an opportunity presents itself, I am eager to take it, especially when others find it too risky. I am not careless by any means. I do the research, ask the right questions, assess the risk factors, and always have a backup plan, but I don’t let fear stop me.
So then, why is it that when it comes to writing, I am holding myself back? I’m already doing the hard part, which is traveling, and writing comes so quickly to me that I could go on for hours. But the second I open that new blog post or begin that pitch email, my mind goes blank, the imposter syndrome kicks in, and the spiral of self-doubt begins. Who am I to tell anyone how or where to travel? And how could I possibly write about my own experiences? Nobody cares what I am doing or where I am going. But during our 6 am meditation at the ashram this morning, I had an enlightening moment about who I want to become in my next life phase.
This time at the ashram has allowed me to disconnect physically and mentally; with the help of being in a different country and having limited internet access, I could step back from writing and decompress from these last two years. I quit the ship in August because I no longer felt like myself and lost who I wanted to become. When joining the boat, I planned to stay only for one contract, then four contracts, and two years later, I was far from my goal of becoming a writer and moving back to Rome on a self-employment visa. I was running myself raided with all my travel adventures; I couldn’t keep up with everything happening, let alone find the time to decompress to write about it.
But this morning, I realized I was more myself and feel like I am finally getting my body and peace of mind back. I was excited to finish morning chanting as I desperately wanted to write. I couldn’t stop the words from flowing while meditating. Having not written anything in the last three weeks and spending most of my time in Yerevan panicking about the future, I am grateful to the ashram for giving me the space and time to focus on something other than writing.
I am grateful for the time I spent at the Ashram as it helped me decompress and focus on one goal at a time, which will be helpful as I begin the next phase of my life. I am trying to focus on my current mantra by Susan Sontag: “I must change my life so that I can live it, not wait for it.” As it has brought me peace with my decisions these last few months. But when I feel overwhelmed by all the changes I am causing, I take a deep breath, focus on the quote, and know that my transformation won’t happen overnight and will take a while until I feel normal in my new life.
I met a coworker from the ship the other night. He is from Buenos Aires and has also decided to leave the boat. He agreed with me and related to the notion of having feelings of grief about leaving our ship lives. They bring a level of comfort with knowing your upcoming schedule, giving you space to breathe because you know what is coming up. Now that we don’t have a set work or a schedule, we miss that comfort of knowing. I was grateful that he felt the same way because it made me realize that the decision wasn’t good or bad just because I felt grief, but the critical part is the action I take now that I have these feelings and freedom. So, discussing with someone who understands what you are going through is good as it makes you feel less alone.
I’m focusing on my writing, working on making my photography more of a priority, and concentrating on my skills to sell more prints online. The primary goal with my photos is that I want to see my work in people’s homes. I love feeling my spaces with travel photos and vision boards, and I get so excited when I add new artwork to my collection as it inspires me every time I look at it and brings back the feelings I felt when I purchased the piece. Taking brave steps in a new direction of where you want to see your life headed is no easy feat; you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and be comfortable with the unknown and rejection that comes with making your path.
Thank you for reading!
I hope I have inspired you to pursue your dreams and you will stick around to see how my journey turns out!
So, dear reader, what new activities have you invited to lead you one step closer to becoming the best version of yourself? Comment below!