Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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I used to have a life

Paris with the Eiffel Tower.

It’s been over two years since I last left the country. If you’ve known me longer than three years, you know how much I tried to travel.
When the world shut down in 2020, I was actually just about to take a trip to Italy (where the coronavirus was rampant). But the virus was spreading and people were dying, so I accepted being grounded.

Many of my travel friends went through withdrawals. Some of them defied the mandates and continued to travel, until they caught Covid. But for me and a few others, we mentally just put it out of our minds and adjusted. With all of the craziness from the pandemic coupled with the craziness of the 2020 elections, it all seemed like a fever dream anyway.

So here I am, packing for my first real trip in two years, and it’s a long one, too! I’m completely rusty, I can’t find all the things I need, not even all my packing cubes. It’s been frantic just trying to pull everything together.

Meanwhile, my clients are all used to me being here all the time, so some of them are freaking out as if I’m about to go to the moon for a few years. There was a lot of extra work that had to get done to ensure I could get out the door.

The DNA bridge in Singapore.

While going through this process — checking in on everyone, finishing work, touching base again, delegating, zooming, calling, texting, emailing, zooming again — it made me realize what my life had become.

The White Temple in Abu Dhabi.

Yes, it has been all work, all the time. I work 7 days a week. My social life is just my bubble(s) when I’m not working, and as things opened up, we became surrounded by posers, wannabes, and self-proclaimed “influencers.” Businesses started to value youth over experience and have accepted all the crassness that comes with that. And sometimes, because of that new value model, I find myself looking for approval from people who would normally be asking for approval from me. Is this what we’ve become? Or is it a temporary thing, just a part of that fever dream?

Inside an ice cave in Iceland.

I used to have an exciting life. My Instagram feed was filled with life, people, adventures and experiences, not just food. My photos had vibrant colors, textures, people, AND food. My life was about more than just work.

I want my life back.

Whether you know it or admit it or not, all of us are emerging from the pandemic with some kind of psychological deficiency or scar. I thought I had done okay, since I’m a managed introvert, but there were a lot of things — like mentally blocking out the fact that I missed the occasional adventures that only a singleton could pull off — bubbled to the surface for me these last few weeks, and I didn’t like what I was feeling. For the most part, I think I did okay. But if we’re really pulling out of the pandemic like they say we are, it’s time for me to pull out my suitcase again and expand my horizons. And leave the wannabes behind.

With a falcon in Dubai.

I hope you’ll follow me on my latest adventure in France! My friend, Deb Aoki, is a popular manga/anime blogger on her way to an international comics festival in Angouleme. I’ll be tagging along through Paris, Angouleme, and a few other cities that we haven’t booked yet.

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