I am an unemployed 28-year old college graduate from an accredited American University who is currently sleeping in a single bed in a spare room in her estranged parent’s house. I’ve worked countless hours as a teenager, as a college student and as an adult to get me to this prestigious pinnacle of my nonexistent career. I don’t have any professional letters following my name, but I do have over two dozen foreign stamps and visas on my passport as a documented reminder of nineteen months well-traveled and the latter half of my vicenarian years adventurously-lived.
My bank account has been gradually and deliberately depleted through generous contributions to foreign economies and online travel sites. Only after returning from excursions where I threw myself from towering cliffs and became immersed in exotic oceans am I now finding myself drowning, in both debt and the crushing weight of my circumstances. I don’t have a car, fall’s newest fashion line or the latest technology. Aside from basic resources, all I have is this ambiguous mess I’ve created.
Pulsing inside my head are a chaotic collection of stories, people, places and perspectives and magnificent memories. In many ways I have unlimited options to forge ahead, yet remain painfully trapped in this prison-like waiting period. I don’t believe myself to be an unnecessary risk taker, although I may have some harrowing tales and hospital visits to prove otherwise. I started my young life closely following the responsibility rule book, but always coming up just shy of the typically westernized views of success. I was a hard-working teenager and an excellent saver, always sacrificing enriching opportunities for increasing the numeric figure in my checkbook.
My education was secondary to my income in order to pay the tuition for classes I occasionally had to pass over for extra working hours. One summer I worked 60-hour long weeks between three-part jobs and an unpaid internship where I held the esteemed position of a glorified secretary. This taught me that sometimes all you earn when you work really hard is money and I was seeking something much more valuable. Following graduation, I was relieved that now all I had to balance was work and job applications. However, companies weren’t interested in hiring candidates lacking hands-on coffee ordering experience or other mundane internship tasks in big city offices.
Since I’d only lived in small towns and poured coffee for myself and countless others in the history of my lengthy customer service career, I was deemed undesirable. Instead I settled for serving up pints and fried food enabling me to save thousands of dollars that weren’t given to me by a patriarch. I used it and relocated to New York City, surviving on temporary jobs for a year before getting hired at a marketing company where I foolishly believed I had found my big break. It definitely was a break, not in the sense that it was rocketing me towards professional superstardom, but instead it had aided in my near mental breakdown. The emotional duress was made worse by dwindling finances and tenant evictions until I experienced my first of many descents to rock bottom.
Fortunately I was saved by a generous woman I’d met serendipitously years before. She allowed me to live in her home for three months until I was able to dig myself out of the hole I had created and climb back to the surface. I again waited tables while pocketing decent sums of money so I was in the position to leverage myself internationally. Soon I was enjoying the expat life as an English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. I was happily living on my own and eagerly traveling Southeast Asia at every opportunity. After fifteen months I made the difficult decision to leave my cozy quarters and pursue creative endeavors in Europe. Although I didn’t necessarily have the means to relocate, it presented itself in perfect timing as a catalyst to keep me moving forward. I went, wrote, traveled and awed over this beautiful new continent before returning to America in September.
I was foolishly under the impression I’d find a job with ease after my educational and life-inspiring world tour. Considering my current unrest is becoming increasingly frustrating, I’m desperately trying to remain hopeful that this is all essential in preparation for my next journey. I’m trying to remember it is only strengthening my character and connecting my creative dots. I can allow this temporary period of the unknown to be either liberating or crushing and I’m aiming for the former. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the quality time I get to spend with the adorable dog I thought about everyday while I was overseas. I’m also thankful for my free library card that allows me to escape the low points of the present by imaginatively traveling in the interim. So far, I’ve had numerous splendid and heartbreaking adventures right here in my living room.
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