Even though I told myself I would continue writing in my blog after my trip was over, I've found that following through on it has been harder than I thought. My reasoning is that I've been busy with finding an apartment, moving, buying furniture, painting walls, settling into a new job, etc., but truthfully, I just haven't made it a priority. When I first started this blog, I was surprised to learn how much I loved to write and how much it helped me to organize my thoughts. It takes a level of vulnerability to package your feelings and throw it out into the interwebs, and that's something that's much easier to do when you're traveling and unattached to anything. The challenge I'm faced with now has been preserving the open-heartedness that's found when you're constantly moving now that I'm back to a state of permanence.
Taking a year off of work was amazing in so many ways; for starters, it allowed me to make space for creativity and growth. Obviously I knew it wouldn't last forever, and I wouldn't have wanted it to anyway because being settled has its perks, too. For one thing, I moved into a cute one-bedroom historic apartment that's only half a mile from my work and although I'm still settling into it, I've loved being able to decorate my own space again [I'll post pictures soon!].
One thing I thought about a lot while on my trip was how to construct a life that I love, down to the minute details of the day. I realized that not sitting in traffic in the morning was actually really important for me to set up the rest of the day, so I started by looking for apartments that were within walking distance to my work. Starting the day with fresh oxygen in my lungs puts me in such a better mood than the stress of even twenty minutes of LA traffic would, and that habit has an effect on the rest of my day. I've also loved cooking in my own kitchen again and consequently, I'm more mindful in making healthy choices, which makes me feel healthier and happier overall.
Another step towards being settled has been going from trying a new yoga studio nearly every single day via ClassPass to finding one studio that has become my own. I practice at Create Yoga [also within walking distance from my house!] and besides the warm fuzzy feeling I get from walking into a space where everyone knows me by name, I'm seeing progress that comes from practicing with the same teachers regularly.
The last and probably most significant shift has been returning to a 9-5 job again. Several people have jokingly asked why I would want to go back to a conventional job after having an entirely unconventional year, and honestly for a while I wasn't sure that I wanted to. Ultimately, I realized that I need the challenges that come with working full-time in order to feel inspired, and the trick was to find a company that lined up with my values so that I wasn't throwing myself into something without purpose. Finding the right career is a lot like dating, and when it's right, you just know. I immediately felt the kindness of the people I now work with, another thing that makes a huge difference in your day-to-day. I'm a part of a team that's just beginning to be restructured, and it's exciting to have a hand in tackling the obstacles that come with. YogaGlo's bottom line is to make yoga accessible to as many people as possible, an idea that I am completely aligned with. I truly believe that if every single human practiced daily, we wouldn't be living in a world that's filled with so much anger and hate.
Besides that, there are world-class yoga instructors flying in from around the world weekly to film their classes, so not only do I have the honor of working with them, but I am also encouraged to take their classes, which is the perfect way to break up the workday. Going back two years ago to when I was first beginning to think about what type of work environment I wanted to be in, this is pretty much exactly what I imagined.
There are pros and cons to everything, and I guess the biggest challenge now that I'm back in the real world has been figuring out how to bring that place of open-heartedness and vulnerability that comes with traveling with me, knowing that I don't have the option to keep moving on even if I make a mistake or things get difficult. Change is almost always a good thing, and I'm excited to swap one set of challenges for a new one.