Limbo May 2015

I never intended to share this when I wrote it almost two years ago just before leaving Berlin, but in retrospect, it’s uncommonly raw and I think it’s important to talk about the hardships of long term travel.

When I got back from Paris a week ago, I was so relieved to have my own bed again and be able to sleep in. I decided to give myself a day to rest and allow myself to sleep all day and watch movies in bed without feeling guilty. Just one day to recuperate and be a lazy bum without guilt. Well, that day came and passed. Then the next day came, and I realized my motivation to do the things that I came to Berlin to do was gone. Sightseeing, meeting people, making friends, doing freelance work… all of these things suddenly seemed completely pointless - like a massive waste of time and energy. Why should I get out of bed and meet people? I’m only going to move to the next location and have to make even more friends and who knows if I’ll ever even see these people again. All the while, I was noticing a deep desire to be around close friends. Friends that I could spill my emotions to and that would remind me that I’m awesome and could openly tell me to suck it up and work through my problems. Friends that would put up with my rambling on about how I’m clueless about what I’m doing with my life.

This feeling was all too familiar, unfortunately. It’s the feeling of stagnation. That feeling when you know you’re only going to be living there for a little while longer, yet you’re just stuck in limbo, waiting for some magical thing to happen. Perhaps you are waiting for school to end, or waiting to finish up your last two weeks of a job. Or perhaps you’re waiting for a flight. Or perhaps you’re just waiting for yourself to decide what to do next. When you’re stuck in this limbo, there’s no point in making new friends. There’s no point in cleaning your apartment. There’s no point in going out and sight seeing. There’s no point in any of it because you’re just about to leave. You’re mentally checked out of the here and now and you’re living in the there and then.

When I recognized this stagnation that I had slumped into, I decided it was purely the discrepancy between the reality that I was consumed by and the vague plan that I had imagined up for myself upon arriving in Berlin. My vague plan and expectation was to stay in Berlin until mid-November. I don’t want to go into the reasons for this plan, but at some point the reasons for why this plan existed and the realities of what my situation actually looked like had diverged, and I had not yet mentally processed this divergence.

So. I woke up today and I decided my time had come to move on.