The morning of July 21st started out as a fairly normal Tuesday morning in England. The sun rose, the birds sang, the postman delivered the post. Then I woke up, and decided I would live the next two years of my life in Ecuador.
Maybe ‘decided’ isn’t the right word. I had been deciding for days, writing mind-shatteringly convoluted pro-con lists, rationalising that my choice in the end would make no significant difference to my long-term achievement in life, trying to imagine myself happy in London, trying to imagine myself happy in Guayaquil, trying to imagine myself waking up in a year’s time, knowing I’d made the right decision. I just didn’t know what that decision would be.
And then I ate my lunch on Monday 20th July, and thought about how sad it was that I couldn’t even get through a plate of chicken and chips without posing hypothetical questions about the meaning of success and the importance of self-fulfilment, and I decided not to decide anymore. I just decided to do nothing for a while.
So I went to bed, and I woke up, and it was Tuesday, and I suddenly knew I was going to Ecuador. I’m not sure when it was decided, but I knew in that moment that it didn’t matter how much longer I wanted to think about it. It just was. I was going to Ecuador again, and it was bloody brilliant.
So I wrote to my future boss and accepted his job offer, and I put some waffles in the toaster, and I got some quotes from international removals companies and realised I couldn’t afford to ship anything and that once again I would be packing my entire life into a suitcase to move to a new city, and I felt the thrill of adventure rush through me like a sudden gust of wind that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and your skin prick with goosebumps.
Two days later I broke up with my boyfriend of four years and nine months and I watched him leave the house and walk away and turn the corner until I couldn’t see him anymore and I cried so hard that I had to sit down because I couldn’t breathe properly, and I was silent in the certainty that I was doing the right thing.
On Wednesday 29th July I sat down with a spreadsheet and worked out that on my new salary I’d just about have $25 a month left over for my travel budget, which would mean internal trips only for the next two years. No more exploring new countries for this serial traveller. So I opened up my laptop and deleted the folder marked “Travel Goals & Inspiration” and felt incredibly free and open to the vast possibility of life.
The next afternoon I found myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by black bin bags. As I methodically recycled, donated and binned seventy-five percent of my worldly possessions, I couldn’t help but feel perfectly at peace with myself for the first time in a very long time.
On Sunday 2nd August I sent an email resigning from my prestigious, well paid, highly sought after, full-to-the-brim-with-benefits graduate job that I had worked solidly for three months to get. A day later, when the HR representative called to ask me why I’d quit, I told her that I’d been offered a job more in line with my long-term career goals, and that I was taking a 75% paycut for this new job and that it didn’t even come with proper health insurance. And as much as I tried to hold it back, a grin cracked over my face as I told her how sorry I was to have to turn the other opportunity down.
Today I watched the last of the people I went to high school with graduate from her medical degree and I thought about all the future doctors, lawyers and bankers I have known and I thought about coming back to England in two years’ time without savings or a car or a house or a masters degree or a business or a family or any of the signs of success that you’re supposed to have, that you’re supposed to want to have, and I felt like all the dots had finally been joined up.
Everything is going wrong, and it’s bloody brilliant.
9 thoughts on “Everything is going wrong, and it’s bloody brilliant”
Oh my god, what a turbulent time you must be going through!! I can’t help but get really, really excited for you reading this! I went to South America last year and kind of lost my heart as well, so I can easily understand what’s drawing you there. You are so, so brave and I wish you the very best of luck. I can’t wait to keep up with your adventures here! When exactly are you flying to Ecuador?
Turbulent – that’s exactly the word for it! Haha we must have been in South America at the same time then, when/ where did you go? I think it’s probably impossible for anyone to go there and not fall in love a little bit! I fly to Ecuador on August 31st … which feels ridiculous, it’s so soon, but I’m beyond excited. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it, and I’m glad you liked the post!
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LOVE!! Humorous, frank, just great.
Thank you! Sometimes you just need to let it all out …
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I found so much inspiration in this post. Courage and future in the face of adversity and change. I am at that crossroads where I am not sure where my life is going but I know that it isn’t going to look the same as most of my peers. It’s a struggle when we constantly compare our successes to others, but this has helped me know I am doing what is right for me. Thank you for this post!
I’m so glad you were able to take something from reading this! You’re so right about not making the comparison, it’s totally irrelevant as long as you’re happy with your own decisions. Good luck navigating your “crossroads” – hope everything works out for you 🙂
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