Hello, and Happy New Year! Remember me? I know it’s been forever– or to be more precise, it’s been nearly one and a half years since my last blog post. But I’m still here, still wandering around the world and all that. I’m sorry for the long absence, but I really just needed some time to myself.
I won’t go into details here, but the past year and a half was a bit rough for me personally, and I was feeling pretty down for a while. I felt a bit depressed, and like I had lost my sense of purpose. I was working online and traveling around the world, supposedly living the dream, but I wasn’t really sure why I was doing it. Traveling and exploring new places no longer seemed to thrill me like it once had, but I kept doing it for a while simply because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.
I thought a few times about updating this blog, but I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. I also didn’t want to just post something on a whim only to disappear again for several months. If I was going to do it, I wanted to really commit to it… But then I thought, why? What would be the point?
Although I’ve been writing this blog since 2011, I never really had a clear purpose for it. At first I vaguely thought I might eventually be able to turn it into a source of income, but that never happened and I’m not sure if it ever will. I’m not opposed to people turning their blogs into businesses, but it’s not something I feel particularly motivated to do, especially now that I’ve comfortably supporting myself through freelance translation work for a while, and I’m happy with that. I’ve never really had the strong desire to make more money than I need.
Later I tried to tell myself that the purpose of the blog was to inspire people, but that wasn’t quite motivating enough either. I wish I could say I’m noble enough to be motivated by the desire to inspire people, but I’m afraid I’m a little more selfish than that. Quite honestly, the idea that I might possibly inspire someone is just not enough of a reason for me to do all the work that goes into maintaining and promoting a blog on a regular basis. I had to admit that to myself.
Why should I do it, then? For a while I couldn’t find a good reason, and seriously considered just shutting my website down for good. I wasn’t sure though, so I just let it sit and forgot about it for a while.
In the meantime, I decided to unpack my suitcase and move to Seattle in March 2017. I was feeling jaded and confused and exhausted, and in serious need of a break– from blogging, from traveling, from people, from everything really. I rented a tiny studio apartment and stayed there most of the time reveling in the quiet and solitude, free from all obligations except paying my rent each month like a perfectly average, boring person. I spent a lot of time just sitting there, thinking. What was I doing with my life, and why? What did I really want? What would make me happy?
At first I almost felt a little guilty for isolating myself so much, like this wasn’t something human beings were supposed to do, but after a while I realized the isolation was helping, and I needed it. Gradually I felt my heart starting to heal, my curiosity about the world and enthusiasm for life starting to return. Then a quiet understanding started to grow in me.
Although I’ve never regretted living a nomadic lifestyle and I feel really fortunate to be able to do it, it is also true that it can sometimes be lonely, especially considering that I’m an introvert who doesn’t always do a good job of staying in touch with friends or reaching out to interesting new people. As ironic as this may sound, I think I needed that time of isolation to cure myself of the loneliness that had accumulated over the years. I needed to get back in touch with myself, to remember that I could be happy all alone, even just sitting in a room doing nothing more than enjoying the sunlight streaming through a window.
Once I was able to do that, I found myself wanting to connect with the outside world again. I was going to be leaving Seattle soon and didn’t have much time, but I wanted to interact with people. I hadn’t really made any friends in the city, so I went out and tried to find some. I actually succeeded too. I was reminded of something I had learned long ago on my travels, but too often forgotten: It doesn’t take that long to make a friend, and it’s always worth it, even if you think you’ll never see them again.
So although I am an introvert, and although I will probably always have times when I need to step back and be alone, I will also always need people. I need to be alone to reflect on things, but I also need to connect with people for inspiration and mental stimulation and encouragement. It’s sometimes hard to do, but a nomadic lifestyle does not preclude a social life, especially if one takes measures to help it happen organically. And one thing I know can help with that is blogging.
Even though I’ve never posted regularly or grown a very large audience, I’ve been surprised on several occasions when people at language learning events have approached me because they’d read my blog. I didn’t have to take the initiative to start these interactions, and we even already had things to talk about. That sure made things a lot easier for this introvert. When I volunteered to give presentations at some of these events, even more people wanted to talk to me. That was when I really started to think, “Hmm. This might really be worthwhile.”
And so I think I have finally found a truly motivating reason for me to continue blogging, as well as the energy and enthusiasm required to actually follow through and post something. It took me a year and a half, but I think I’ve found it. The main reason I want to continue blogging is because it’s a way to stay connected with people, and to continue making new connections. It’s also a way to share any thoughts, knowledge, and experiences I have that might benefit others. It’s a way to ensure that I’m never alone, wherever I may go.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to make any promises about regular posting, because you know me– I don’t do public commitments, and I’m kind of allergic to schedules. But I feel like my heart is in the right place now, and maybe this thing will actually go somewhere. If you’d like to find out, you’re welcome to follow along.
Happy 2018! Here’s to new beginnings. 🙂