Having spunked around €10k during my trip enjoying the delights and wonders without the need to be nailed to a desk or any contract of employment, it was always bound to be a tough adjustment.
I just didn’t realise how difficult it would be.
In the past six months the wanderlust has been stilled, things becoming a little bit slower, a little bit calmer and the emotional highs and lows brought through travelling have settled into a predictable pattern.
Travel has always been a double edged sword for me. On the one hand I never tire of the amazing places I visit or people I meet and the experience profoundly changes me, resonating with some innate, knowing part of my being. I suddenly feel more alive.
However, when I return from such journeys a deep melancholy overwhelms me over time because embodying that free spirit and connecting with a sense of adventure is sorely lacking when you return to the ‘rat race’. They say ignorance is bliss, and coming back to Earth after scaling such dizzy heights abroad can be really painful.
I have no regrets about returning to Ireland after the best part of a year of backpacking, and I’m thankful for my current situation where my employer treats me very well and in return I work myself into the ground to repay the faith they’ve shown in hiring me.
The work/life balance is something I’ve struggled to juggle well for some time tending to veer from extreme to the other.
How to inject more fun, adventure, enthusiasm into the otherwise routine, predictable nature of a person’s daily life?
To that end, in the past few weeks I’ve made the concerted effort to load my evenings with a range of activities to connect me to networks that I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to, people I wouldn’t normally come across and instilling a little bit of colour to an otherwise black and white existence.
Learning Spanish is big business in Dublin and there are a multitude of schools offering the chance to do so. I’ve been topping up my language skills through Instituto Cervantes twice each week. A big commitment straight after a 9 hour workday on Tuesday and Thursday but great for networking and engaging with the big Spanish speaking contingent in Dublin (Dicey’s on Tuesday anyone?).
I’m also a glutton for physical punishment. Not the 50 shades S&M style punishment mind you, but I love to exercise and wanted to get back into shape especially after a bloated Christmas without drastic efforts. I’m enrolled on a 8 week White Collar Boxing class which has been an incredible ride since I started last month.
White Collar Boxing is a form of boxing for those with previously no experience to teach them the art of how to box. Most participants as the name suggests come from an office based, managerial or administrative background and at least half of the 30 in our class are represented by women which isn’t surprising because it is an incredible way to lose weight.
Last week we began physical sparring. Even though we are advised to aim for the body and go gently to encourage tactical openings and footwork, some of the participants act like they are in a ring at the MGM in Vegas against Mike Tyson himself. In the last session, I had the (mis)fortune of pitting my wits against 3 combatants in quick succession all of whom were bigger than me which is saying a lot considering I’m no shrinking violet at 6 foot 1, 91kg.
I was absolutely beaten to a pulp, and the left side of my body which took most of the blows was practically paralysed for the remainder of the night.
Perversely, I took great satisfaction from that because it was a nice antidote to the numbness or lethargy I sometimes feel in my daily life when carrying out the same humdrum tasks. By introducing that sudden sense of danger, albeit manufactured, it brought out a sense of excitement again, a feeling not often evoked in our comfortable existence these days.
Salsa is something I’ve also been interested in periodically over the past few years. I took a course before I went travelling primarily as a way to meet new people, especially women as I was single at the time.
I ended up not only having a great time and learning many moves that served me well in South America, but also met an incredible woman in my class who I dated for a year.
Introducing new, random activities into your lifestyle even if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy them has a powerful way to knock you out of a funk and take away that feeling of apathy which dogs us when things become stale after so much routine. It can lead down avenues you never imagined, and to people that can change your life.
Getting outside your comfort zone and being exposed to new activities, ideas and people is a great way to sprinkle some variety into your life. Many of us are still carving our own path in this world and developing that sense of childlike curiosity is a great way to invite new adventure and breathe life into a tired soul.
It’s certainly helped me to transition back into a routine again when fighting those post-holiday blues which is inevitable. You don’t need to search far and wide for adventure – it could be in your next Pottery Class!