When I mention to people that I have completely reconstructed my life so that I can travel indefinitely, I nearly always get the question, “What made you decide to do this?” And I nearly always give about 4.5% of the full story. But I think the full story is worth sharing but it’s lengthy and at some parts rather dramatic, so I’m spreading it out over two posts. This is now your cue to get a cup of tea or a glass of wine before you settle in…
Let me set the scene of where this journey of mine really set sail.
Five years ago, I was at the peak of my life. After five grueling years of graduate school I had graduated with my doctorate in clinical psychology, got engaged, won an award for my dissertation, and gained admission into my first choice for my postdoctoral internship. Needless to say, I was riding high. So high that it felt like gliding on a hoverboard about 100 feet off the ground with the clouds misting through your hair. I distinctly remember riding that beautiful space between immense gratitude and peaceful recognition that all good times fade, just as the bad do. A sweet impermanence to all things.
That recognition didn’t exactly do much to ease the pain of all that was about to unfold for me at the end of that year. It was almost uncanny how everything started to burn along the edges like an ancient scroll. Over the next five years, all of my dominos came crashing down to create the surface for which I’m now rebuilding my life.
So, what were all of those dominoes?
- I started my incredible and absolutely grueling postdoctoral internship, while continuing to work part-time because the field of psychology believes that most interns should only be paid in experience (insert eye roll here)
- I confronted the family member that sexually abused me as a teen and then broke my silence with the rest of my family members. The shell shock lasted for a few months and radio silence ensued. Which eventually led to my provocation of them. I had finally reached the outskirts of my sanity, where it didn’t matter if I gained their support or entirely lost it, I just couldn’t take the avoidance any longer. I’ll spare the gory details, but let’s just say that what I gained ranged from unwavering love to unimaginable hatred. I then had to face the death of the family that I had attempted to protect through my silence
- My father was diagnosed with metastatic skin cancer
2013 (I lovingly refer to this as my ‘Shit show’ year)
- Moved to a new city that meant the commute was cut out, but intense culture shock left my head spinning
- Dads diagnosis was becoming bleak so my sister and I had, what we didn’t realize at the time, our last visit with him, where we learned just how quiet our dad could be about his own suffering
- My partner and I got married the day after returning from this visit with my dad. Imminent death can really spark your desire to live boldly.
- Two weeks later I failed my second licensing exam. An abysmal surprise felt by myself and everyone around me. I was then fated to serve my six month metaphorical prison sentence (once the exam is failed, you have to wait six months to retake it, just long enough to ruin any plans you had made for your career)
- Two weeks after that my new spouse began to have some slightly bizarre health-related symptoms
- Yet another two weeks after that, those bizarre symptoms turned into what appeared to be a complete breakdown
Continued in Part 2