Why After A Year Of Travelling & Working, I’m Staying Home In 2019
There’s a lot to be said about working abroad. Sunshiney mornings starting with a run on the sand. Getting out of your comfort zone with new languages or cultures that maintains growth and widens perspectives. Keeping your tan for Instagram stories and not needing to use the sunshine weather filter throughout the first few months of the year.
I spent a lot of last year in and out of the UK. 2 months in Spain, 2 months in Bali, 6 weeks in France and Spain to finish the year, and a few European trips in between from Ibiza to Mykonos. I was even renting my apartment out on AirBnb as I went so actually had my mortgage paid for along the way. Plus, my job as a life coach means I can work from anywhere in the world as long as I have an internet connection.
Sounds like a pretty set-up huh? And it totally is. Until it just, well, isn’t.
Because, in a strange turn of events, a surprise to no-one more than myself, I’ve found myself wanting to stay put more of the time in the UK in 2019. (Although, as I write this and look out of the window to a dark and grey sky at 4.26pm, it’s a decision I might be rapidly regretting…)
You see, when travelling on a longer-term basis, rather than a holiday, what I noticed is that it created a strange feeling of not being able to *settle*. Plus, some other things that the ‘dream’ perhaps forgets when you look at the details in reality…
Unlike on holiday, where eating out every night is a proper treat for example, eating out every night for 2 months begins to get a bit much! Unlike a holiday, you can’t throw caution to the wind and spend whatever you like, because there is an actual budget to think about for living day to day. Unlike a holiday, when you’re living and working abroad you can never totally switch off - it’s trickier to set those boundaries between ‘this is work’ and ‘this is holiday/rest’ so you’re essentially always *on*.
While, granted, I never did get tired of morning yoga at the beach, swimming in the pool before breakfast, or snorkelling in the ocean as an afternoon break, there are a few less luxurious home comforts that have me swapping my flip flops for my slippers this year…
The kind of simple comforts you don’t often realise are important until you’ve missed or craved them. Comforts like: being able to go to a weekly yoga class down the road where everyone knows each other, having a regular juice shop fix dependent on ‘how do you feel today Miss Sophie?’, having friends over for dinner and sharing my latest dish I’ve whipped up from a giant cookbook I love flicking through, swiping past an upcoming talk or event on Instagram and actually being able to make it, joining a new club I can regularly attend without the annoying ‘I’m going to be away for a few weeks conundrum’, living out of an actual wardrobe instead of a bag. And mostly, importantly:
Being able to spend rainy Saturday afternoons with a cup of tea in hand, fire on full blast, getting the latest Coronation Street lowdown from my Grandma. Taking long walks and even longer lunches to catch up with my Mum. Sharing old jokes and laughs and eye-rolls with my brother. Learning about music and history and all the things I’m about 20 years late for with my Dad.
Because, well, I’ve got plenty of years for snorkelling.
But who knows how long I’ve got to dive into my Grandma’s stories from the 1950’s, gain wise perspective on my first world problems, and bask in laughter with my favourite people.
This year for me is about soul and simplicity. And for me that means doing the little things that set my soul on fire, like reading voraciously, writing creatively, laughing unashamedly, and simplifying it all: from having less stuff, to being very intentional about my plans, and being organised in a way that keeps me calm and at peace. Ahhhh, I can feel myself unwinding in the same way I did for all those months on the beach.
I truly adored the sunshine life and freedom I experienced in 2018, and while I don’t imagine it will be long until I’m itching for my next getaway, there’s something particularly freeing about feeling truly at home for a while, too.