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For years, winter break meant a trip to a new country.
I would excitingly skim Lonely Plant and Trip Advisor to look for cool stuff to do during my time in Thailand, Colombia, Australia, Panama, Chile, and other places. I was thrilled to be achieving my goal of seeing the world, experiencing new cultures, and living life on my own Terms.
But tonight, I spent two hours on the internet trying to find something to do in a Ecuador during the break.yes I have spent this amount of time trip planning before –truth be told, I spent longer periods of time on travel research– but something was different tonight. I felt annoyed, irritated that I needed to travel because my fellow foreign teachers are planning on travel. Yet for me this travel was a Keeping Up WithThe Jones activity that didn’t correspond to the Monique of 2014.
The thrill was gone as BB King sang. And this is more confirmation that a change has occurred within me. An acceptance of self has occurred.
I used to teach to travel, meaning traveling was the main motivation in going through the process of looking for esl jobs, applying to jobs, pushing through the tedious, wait-wait-now! visa process, starting at the bottom in the teachers’ room, dealing with local teachers who resented me based on my salary but never considered my degrees from UCLA & USC, then forcing myself to hangout with fellow expats that I had little in common with beside the gringo/Gajin/waygook label.
Yeah, there are tons of draw backs to teaching esl abroad, but I did it for nearly 8 years because there was nothing like seeing a new country’s take on the street/city life, it was amazing to see the art work popping to life in new settings, the satisfying taste of something you didn’t know existed until arriving at the food stall/shop/restaurant, learning something about a country but realizing it’s the same story you heard in another country (it really is a small world after all). The Soc (sociology) in me kept the curiosity to know more of the world burning within me, which kept the stamps coming into my passport (up to nearly 30 countries with Europe on the horizon).
Yet know, I feel like I have seen so much, that I lack the eternal drive to plan a winter holiday escape. I would be just as happy as installing a hammock on my front porch and gazing out onto the postcrd perfect Andes mountains as I would be flying to the Pacific coast to swing in a hammock and reflect on life and dream of my great novel.
I’m tempted to stay here and do me alone. Enjoy the winter holiday by myself as I have done before and probably will do again in the future. I’m at the point in life where I’m not lonely. I prefer socializing with others, but I like myself enough to be able to enjoy me time.And perhaps that is what it is meant to mature and evolve into your higher being, your likeable self.