My trip home to Vancouver was only meant to be a short-ish visit over the holidays. Three weeks tops so that my sabbatical wouldn’t lose momentum and I would avoid getting stuck in the quicksand of familiarity. I bubbled with excitement at the idea of giving my family and friends a big squeeze (sorry FaceTime you can't really compete with in-person hugs) but I didn't want not to stay so long that I became a regular fixture in my former life again. However, things didn’t exactly go as planned and a short visit stretched into six weeks.
For the first few weeks that I was home, the refrain on repeat in my head was “Get me outta here. Nothing has changed here. This is not my city anymore.” Vancouver no longer had it hooks in me the way it used too. After London, this city felt small, sleepy and unrefined. While I claimed to know Vancouver like the back of my hand, I had the surreal feeling of being lost in my own home town. The whole last year felt like a dream. Not to mention being back in my old bedroom created another a time warp sensation!
As I attempted to put words to the phenomena, I slowly came to describe this unsettling experience with a little help from C.S. Lewis. It is as if I spent the whole last year in Narnia, a wild and magical place, and now I was crouched in the dark recesses of a wooden wardrobe. People from the “grown up world” kept peeking their heads into the closet and asking “What are you doing in there, Andi?" and nudging me to come out. But with trepidation, I would rap lightly on the rear wall of the wardrobe, hoping that I could find my way back to Narnia if I believed fervently enough in its existence - just like Lucy in the classic tale. It was frustrating to know that it was there, just out of my reach, and there was no way to show everyone my Narnia.
I loved 2017. It was a year of adventure -- full of firsts, unexpected twists and turns and never ending ups and downs. The year rumbled with laughter, was sprinkled with creativity and warmed by friends and family. The happiest words I know are "I have enough."
I enter 2018 with a very full heart, a slightly emptier wallet, and much anticipation for the year ahead. Because there were some uncertainities regarding next gig in Chile over the holiday season, I felt like I stumbled into 2018 far less gracefully than I had expected. A stark contrast to how I approached 2017, the first year of my soul sabbatical.
But since it’s the reflective season, I started digging through past journals and to-do lists, taking stock of what has changed – and what hasn’t – as I thought about where I ended up at the end of the year and what I hoped would come next as 2018 unfolded. A little surprise emerged as I flipped through many the pages: I had a collection of post-it notes messages to myself that give a little glimpse into my learnings from 2017 to help me settle into 2018 with grit, grace and gratitude.
Nice to meet you...
I'm Andi (hence the blog name). I'm a travel aficionado, passionate eater, tireless explorer of internet rabbit-holes, and amateur thinker. Join me as I give it all up (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and go around the world on a mid-career "soul sabbatical" & year-of-learning to figure out what to be NEXT when I grow up. Won’t you grab a cup of chai and stay a while?
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