I am currently on a flight to the Dominican Republic as I am writing this. Today, for the first time, I felt nervous about traveling. I stared out the window at the clouds and tears came to my eyes. This time it’s not for study abroad,an internship, volunteering or a short vacation. I bought a one way ticket with the intention of staying for about 2 months or so just for the heck of it. I didn’t pack until 4pm the day before my flight. As I packed, I continued to ask myself “Are you doing the right thing ?” “Is this a responsible thing to do?”
I graduated in December of 2019 from the University of Pennsylvania with my Masters in International Educational Development. I was so excited to begin searching for positions and doing work that was going to make a difference but I also felt burnt out. Despite ending my last semester with straight A’s , I struggled to maintain motivation. I knew the end was near and I had no idea what I would do next. I saw my peers accepting jobs at the United Nations or International organizations in DC & New York. But not me. Despite the countless resumes sent and cover letters. I felt like I had to be doing something wrong. I have always been one to have high expectations and strive for perfection in everything. This mindset not only resulted in burn out, but also in difficulty adapting when things didn’t go as I had planned.
Yet, life is teaching me that plans are good, but I have to start planning differently. For example, about 2 months ago I connected with a woman that I met at a networking event. I followed up and had a meeting with her and she gave me a print out of “Planning to Fail” by Dr. Stephen J. Majercik, which was taped to her wall. The article has been sitting on my night stand in my room untouched and unread until today. Today, something told me to pick it up and read it. Though short, the author describes how temporary things in life can be, like our jobs for example. It taught me that everyone should have a plan and ultimately one may have to fail in order to succeed , but that failure is outlined in one’s plan before it happens. Therefore when that failure does come, it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t throw you off course, it just pushes you along to the next opportunity.
Upon graduating , I felt a huge weight that only got heavier. I have so many people that have invested in my personal growth and my education. I wanted to be sure that they were satisfied with their investment, which I thought would be done by getting a good job or doing something impactful or significant . In the end, I understand that they invested in me because they know what I am capable of and desire for me to be happy in all that I do.
As a traveler , and I’m sure many travelers can relate , we get in this mode that I call “travelers blues” . This happens when there is no trip in sight, no adventure set, and we are living a routine life that is repetitive everyday. A life we are not built to live . I found myself anxious after graduation. The days seemed to fly by and I felt like I was running to catch up with time . So I’ve decided to go to the place that makes me feel at home besides my own house with my family. The Dominican Republic has had my heart since I was a volunteer for Amigos de Las Americas at the age of 16. The host families I’ve stayed with are no longer just familias anfitrionas. They ARE my family and I am thankful to return to my happy place all for self-love, self-care, and tranquility. I used an American Airlines voucher that I saved and booked a one way flight. Ultimately, I hope to come back to the States with a clearer mind, stronger motivation and a fire that can’t be put out.