Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Up in the Air

Last week, A. and I decided to finally go for something we'd been dreaming about for months, but kept pushing aside: a trip through Western Europe at the end of August. I'd been feeling so beat what with working six days a week with no extended break. So when he mentioned those travel plans again, I didn't hesitate to say, "Let's do it." Even though I was still waiting on confirmation about taking so much time off work, we let ourselves get wrapped up in the awesomeness that this trip would be.

Every little ideal I'd been carrying since I last went to France nine years ago was mixed into these plans of ours. The spots we'd visit, buying produce at the market and having picnics in Parisian parks. Maps were created and train time tables were consulted until we had figured out this grand tour through 10 different cities across five countries. We even bought our first digital SLR camera to capture what would be my dream getaway.

And then Monday morning I got the news: at the end of the month I will be let go.

Even though I'd been through this situation two years ago, it wasn't easier this time around. I'd been expecting that last ax to fall for a whole year before it finally did. As strange as it sounds, I greeted that news with a sigh of relief. I was finally free to pursue other roads. This one, on the other hand, came as a bit of a shock, which really only means that instead of spending half a day being upset and pitying myself over it, I spent two because after a while that act gets old and I had some thinking to get on with.

Do I want another office position? Or would I rather go back to my previous freelance life, commit myself to dedicating my time and energy solely on projects I'm passionate about and work harder at it then I did before? And now that my schedule will open up, should I revisit those dreams of opening up the stationery business I've pushed aside after my jobs demanded more attention?

All important questions yes, but my head was more wrapped up around another pressing issue: should I still take this trip to Europe? Should I be responsible and save my money instead and then feel even worst for losing a job and an amazing travel experience? What if I don't get another opportunity run off for so long and see the world like this?

So last night I decided that we're still going. I'm not letting one thing affect the other much less something I've been looking forward to so much. Besides, who knows what good things could come from this (and believe me, I'll be hustling to make the most of this new opportunity). The rest can and will settle itself when I return.

Images: Tokyo photographer Natsumi Hayashi's "Daily Levitation" series on


  1. What a tough choice to make!!! So sorry you had this happen to you. It seems like so many are out of work. I wonder when all of this mess will constitute a depression??

    Enjoy your trip!

  2. If it were me I'd still go on the trip, then do freelance work while starting up the stationary buisness, with the option of stopping the freelancing projects if the buisness gets going well enough.

    Also, where in Europe exactly are you going? Just wondering if you'll be anywhere near where I'll be at the time you're there (hoping to be moving from Wales to South East England in about September).

  3. I'm so sorry. I think I started reading your blog right about the time you lost your job the first time. I hope you can still go on the trip and that a new great oath opens up for you

  4. Sorry that should say path not oath :)

  5. With friends, family, and support, it will all work out. Enjoy this wonderful trip. I'm jealous!! :) Especially the chocolate croissants you can/will be getting in France. GET THEM.

  6. You made a good decision! Hopefully you will manage to get cheaper airfare in August and you know me, I am all about budget traveling. Have fun! And welcome to the dSLR club.

  7. Not a follower but often stop by to read you. I remember your first post about the same situation and commented then. I believe things happen for a reason. This only proves that you need to pursue your freelancing career as well as the stationery biz and never look back.

    Life's too short. Go to Europe, embrace and enjoy the experience.

  8. queenie jeannie, Lord knows. I thought things were okay on my end, but just goes to show you can't ever get too comfortable when you're just a contractor rather than a staffed employee. Then again, I was staffed when the last lay-off happened so who knows?

    I will say this, I'm so over being disposed of. It's time to focus on growing MY ideas more than other people's projects. No one could fault me for that, right?

    toriz, We're going to Germany, Czech Republic, France, Spain and Italy so unfortunately no England this time. But I do want to see its countryside some time in the future. Thanks for the encouragement (that's the plan I've been toying with myself) and good luck with the move!

    emmy, I AM going! I couldn't let this chance pass me by. And 10 minutes after this post published, I was told I could work up to 40 hours with my other freelance gig so I should be fine. That, along with more time to actually pursue my other projects will keep me quite busy.

    tooje, Mmmm soft, fluffy croissants. I cannot wait. I'm nervous, anxious, no idea what to expect so we'll see how this goes down.

    Actually, let me not say anything about going down when it comes to flying overseas. And really, thanks for the Monday night chat, pen pal. It's so nice to have you back.

    sugarlens, I know! I need to look through your posts about your trip to Spain. The one thing that keeps running through my head is when you were leaving the train station and felt your backpack's zipper being opened. I'm so scared I'm going to be pickpocketed! So silly. I'm from NYC and that's never happened to me (that I know of anyway).

    bed of brimstone, You're awesome! Thanks so much for saying that. That's exactly what I needed to hear and thanks for stalking me for so long.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear you've been let go, but I am glad you aren't letting that stop your trip! Who knows, you might just come back totally refreshed and ready to deal with life.

  10. You're welcome, and thanks!

    Well, if you do make it to the UK in the future, be sure to let me know so we can arrange to meet up. :)

  11. Do it! Unless you're in debt, taking weeks/months off to travel right after losing a job is a wonderful recharging experience.

  12. I have to admire you - and think your going on this trip to Europe a great idea. Go - don't feel guilty - enjoy the new camera (practice before you go though!!) and who knows - maybe you will see something over there that will "click" in your head and "turn on the light bulb".

    And if not - so what - I firmly believe folks should travel when they are young(er) - it really makes me sad to see the crippled retired widows going places they can't get around and without their other halves... because they waited tooooooo long.


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