Carry-on baggage

One thing I’ve realized is that no matter where you travel, or how far away you go, you carry everything with you. Even if you leave your job, your home, your family, your friends. No matter how much you think you are physically leaving behind.

Whether I’m in an office setting in LA, or a hippie hostel in Bali, I’m dealing with the same things, battling the same internal challenges.

Because the fact of the matter is, the act of ditching my insecurities has nothing to do with what I surround myself with, but a choice I make within myself. It could have happened, can happen, anywhere from California to here. Whenever I decide.

What does traveling do? It has put me outside of my comfort zone. It widens my perspective. Because when you’re going through your day to day, routine allows you to feel comfortable.

Most car accidents happen the closer we are to home, within 25 miles to be exact. Why? We’re comfortable. We are familiar. We go into autopilot. Based on the repetition of habit that occurs in this small space, our own bubble, we form this sense of dangerous relaxation. We assume. We are invincible.

We are also more likely to judge those we observe to be lost, or those who very obviously aren’t familiar with the driving laws as a result of being foreign to the area.

The further outside that radius you travel, away from those constants, the more alert you become. Your senses are a bit more awakened, and actively receptive to change.

You are humbled by your own inevitable mistakes committed out of navigating about a foreign place — driving the wrong way down a one way street, turning right at a signal that prohibits it, etc.

My point is, the challenges don’t change. Though they may take on a different form, and though perspective may shine a different light on it, the baggage is still the same.

I’ve struggled to carry it for some time now.

Sometimes, I care too much about what people think of me. And whenever I feel like I am not valued, I get into this horrible insecure space.

I’ve been feeling inferior in many aspects of my day to day here.

For one, I know absolutely nothing about gardening and permaculture. I get frustrated when I want to help around the hostel. I’m instructed to do a simple task, but because of my lack of knowledge I end up asking 20 questions that clearly leaves the other person feeling frustrated as well.

Then, when I go to help Jordan with filming and editing, I am in the novice position. I need him to show me everything, and many times I can’t continue without his implicit instruction. That dependence drives me mad.

One day I just got so down on myself and felt so absolutely worthless and without ownership, without any one thing to call my own, that I broke down.

Jordan told me that he knew it wouldn’t be easy, that traveling would do this to me. But he’s wrong.

The same way I was getting down on myself was the same way I did when I first started my marketing job in LA. The same sense of self-consciousness and second-guessing as when I started my fashion internship. The same feeling of “why am I here” as when I started my Research Statistics report in grad school, and my first O-Chem lab in my undergrad studies. Shit, the same feelings of doubt as when I found out we were going to have homework before I even walked through the doors for my first day of kindergarten.

I have always been my worst enemy.

But I have also realized the power of self-affirmations and self-perpetuated confidence.

When I was driving to the photo shoot for the Style Showdown contest, even though I felt the nerves forming a pit in my stomach, I decided that no one was going to know about it. I decided that I wasn’t nervous, that I was going to own it like I did this for a living. And I won.

When I was about to take the Real Estate exam, deep inside I felt that there was no way I studied enough. But I didn’t let those feelings surface. I told myself that I was passing, and there was no other option. I’m bright, I’m prepared, I have the common sense and dedication. And I passed.

My own worst enemy travels with me wherever I go. No matter where I go, I take her with me.

How do I face her? I have pep talks with myself. I have daily self-affirmations. I do the things I love and that I know I am good at.

As I travel, I am humbled by unfamiliar surroundings. It is broadening my perspective. It is shedding light on what is important. But at the end of the day, the themes of insecurity existent in my life end when and where I decide they do. I can let go whenever I want to.

Maybe when I return home, I will be without the carry-on I came with.

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