It has been a while since my last update. Many of you have asked what’s happening or if I’m ok. And the answer is yes, I am good. Really good, even! However, it took me some time to get here. I traveled 1.000 km (600 miles) to end up back at the beach I began, to give my journey the start it deserved. A start that needed some disconnection and inward honesty, a moment of letting go and creating space for something new. The past two weeks have not been easy, but definitely got me right where I needed to be, ready for a fresh start.
Just dive right in…?
My expectation of myself, as well as this journey, was to dive right into a new life. A fresh start, without the need to look back. I chased the image of van life on social media. Magical places, joyful people, and special moments. I believed that the freedom and fun of traveling would immediately make me forget my fears and previous life.
But this wasn’t true for me…
The first day of my journey was full of new things. And although I felt joy in the freedom I had, and happiness in giving myself this opportunity, there were a lot of negative feelings as well. Being alone after living with Kostas for 3 years was hard. Training a dog without any experience was difficult. Driving the Greek roads as a new Dutch driver was scary. And not having a plan, being someone who plans everything, was terrifying.
Many of you have told me how brave I am for starting this journey. Being brave, however, doesn’t mean I do not have any fears. I have many of them. My bravery is in me wanting to face and overcome them. Nevertheless, facing all of them on day 1 was overwhelming. And I actually have to admit that it was too much for me.
Taking a step back
So I decided on day number 3, to return to the closest thing I have to a home in Greece: Myrodato Beach. Not because I want to stop or give up. This never even crossed my mind. I just felt like I needed to take a step back to learn to enjoy the freedom I had given myself. I needed to learn how to face my fears, and how to connect to myself while doing so.
Today, I might not enjoy the adventures I wanted to be on, but I am gathering the tools I need to enjoy them later. I stay on the beach, live outside, hike a lot, and do everything around my van. However, doing this here allows me to settle in and discover this new life. I learn how to enjoy the silence of being alone. I learn how to slow down and live without a schedule. I learn how to be ok when I hit one of the bumpers of my car. I learn how to live in the van, and how to arrange things in a way that works for me. I believe that what I needed was time to adjust. Time to get used to a life on the road, in a place that does feel safe to me without the continuous struggle of finding a safe place to sleep or a toilet.
Besides, I found out I needed time to grieve everyone and everything I have left behind for this experience. The first days were hard, and I suppose there is no shame in that. I cried. A lot. Even about missing a thing as stupid as my favorite coffee cup at home.
A real fresh start
But after a couple of days, those tears started to disappear, and I became lighter. Happier than I can remember myself ever being. Now, I no longer long as much for the things I no longer have and instead enjoy whatever comes my way. I smile more often and more truly than I ever have. I seem more pure, or real. Honest with myself and ready to make a true fresh start.
In the coming weeks, I will stay around this beach, or at least call it home for a little while longer. From here, I will leave for day trips, and even overnight ones, to slowly get used to being on the road. I’m sorry to everyone who thought I was brave enough to dive right into this journey. That just wasn’t me. However, I believe I’m being brave by admitting what I needed and listening to myself!
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