Manage episode 297528304 series 181562
Life is short and the world is wide. 生命很短暂，然而世界很大。
In winter 2018, I was working hard on a promotion for my travel business and trying to achieve my ambition of winning a financial prize. Due to the time difference between Spain and China, I started working as soon as I got up and often worked through the day. I frequently forgot about lunch and was often exhausted in the evenings. By Christmas Eve, I had hit my goal for that promotion but I felt sad. I was sick and lying in bed. I decided to book a trip to Prague in February, where my friend Sonia had invited me earlier. After booking the trip, I started to look forward to it and the next day I felt so much better. So I think the antidote to my sickness and boredom was definitely a vacation.
Then I got another invitation to Iceland in January 2019. While there, I met Palli who was a local marine engineer. We liked each other and wanted to get to know each other better. Although we were both unable to make a commitment due to the long distance, we met in different countries for vacations that year. Palli would work really hard at sea for two to three weeks and then had one week free which was great for him to fly to see me. In between those meetings, I felt so restless and excited about our next meeting that I decided to fill gaps in my schedule with more trips and adventures. I was in Europe, Asia and even flew to South America that year.
Even when I was back in Barcelona, I had decided to open up my apartment for couchsurfers just to immerse myself in travel vibes and keep my life busy. That decision opened up so many opportunities to deepen some of the most important friendships in my life. Elia, who was also from Taiwan, was the first couchsurfer I hosted in my apartment and became my assistant for my business. Another guest was Hallvard, a young Norwegian musician, who stayed alone the first night before returning back to visit and stay with me with his two tall roommates from Oslo. We ended up meeting again in his home in Oslo, when they became my hosts. Pablo, a sweet Argentinean traveler, came to stay with me for two nights in Barcelona and then we met up again in Bratislava while he was having a working holiday during my Eurail journey.
I also had a couple of really successful podcasting meetups and workshops in my apartment, however the stress of growing a physical business in Barcelona and an existing online business which allowed me to see the world more freely was becoming overwhelming. It reached a point where I had to renew my entrepreneur residency which was a complicated and time-consuming process. To make matters worse, there were political riots in Barcelona at the time and the political situation had become very heated. While all this was going on, I was eager to see Palli however we were not ready for a full blown relationship. There was an important decision to be made; should I stay in Europe or should I leave? I had been offered a tempting publishing contract in China which I was very excited about and also had discovered my desire to make up with my father back in Taiwan. Ever since splitting up with my ex-husband a few years ago, we hadn't talked much. As time went by, I started to better understand his perspective and wish to protect his daughter. He was going to turn 80 years old the next year and I thought that I would feel regret if I missed celebrating it together.
So, I made up my mind to exit Europe, and then bought a two month Eurail pass to enjoy it before I went back to Taiwan. I made a plan to see all the cities I had always been wanting to visit before sharing the routes and plans with my students online to make some extra money to cover my expenses. Thank God moving out of my two-bedroom apartment in Barcelona was pretty smooth too. I gave away most of my belongings and sold my furniture online. I had my last podcasters’ meetup in my almost-empty apartment, and afterwards my podcaster friends took all my trash down to the garbage. A couple of friends came to fix and repaint the walls of my recording studio, where I had put several acoustic foams which damaged the walls. After this, the apartment was as new as when I first moved in.
One night while I was in my almost-empty apartment. I thought that I had made a mistake. I got cold feet before my trip due to the fact I had always hated traveling in winter. Winter in Europe was always gloomy in my opinion and I was also afraid that I might get sick or be unable to continue my trips. Although I had already made an announcement to my friends, students and my podcast listeners that I was going, I was scared and wanted to quit.
“If not now, then never!” The encouraging voice came to me when I was almost swallowed by my fear and ready to call it quits.
Then I handed my keys to the real estate agent and made my first trip, and the fear dissipated as soon as I started my journey.
Stay tuned...there’s much more to come!
In the next episode I’ll be sharing my emotional journey and encounters while traveling by train in Spain.