Change. It’s a big word, it can be terrifying but it can also lead us to some of the most transformative times of our lives. Before I get started, let me be clear, this is not one of those New Year New Me posts. Instead, I want this to be an honest life update on why my life has completely changed in the last few weeks and why I want 2019 to be all about chasing happiness.
It seems apt that I’m writing this on the four year anniversary of when I first started my solo traveling journey around the world and one of the happiest times of my life. It’s a strange feeling when you’re finding inspiration from the person you used to be, but if there’s anything I want to aspire towards right now, it’s being the real Lucy once again.
Why 2018 was the biggest rollercoaster of my life
Moving abroad and relationships
I can honestly say, I have never worked as as hard as I have in the last year. Sacrificing travel for a new home, a relationship and life in a new country, a new job, a new language, the list goes on. It was a year of huge changes and ones that I was really excited to throw myself into. After a few months of saving, I moved to Hamburg and started setting myself up in the new life I had been waiting for. It wasn’t easy, but I did it, I didn’t just survive, I thrived as best I could. Finding a great job, friends and even amazing blogging opportunities, but I’m sad to say this was overshadowed by relationship problems that eventually became all-encompassing.
It took a while to realise it, but we just weren’t happy anymore. Despite loving each other more than anything in the world, there was more to it and I’m afraid much bigger issues took over and we had to part ways. Despite the sad times, I have to say I have experienced some of the happiest moments of my life with this guy, and no matter what, it was worth putting my heart on the line again. After nineteen months together, 12 countries, two very special homes together, making our vanlife dreams come true and so much more that we’ve experienced together. He’s a traveling memory that I’ll never forget.
I’m sad to say that my Hamburg adventure has now come to an end, for many reasons, not just my relationship ending. It’s a place that I have loved and hated in equal measure, and while I will always be proud that I made a life there, I’m afraid it’s not a life I wish to continue. There are some times when you have to take a good look around you, and if you’re not happy, it’s okay to call it a day and make a real change. It doesn’t make you a quitter, it doesn’t make you weak for not trying. It means you’re honest and true to yourself, and what’s really in your heart. And at the end of the day, the only person you have to answer to is yourself.
I hadn’t realised until the last few weeks, but the last eight months have really changed me as a person. Fluctuating from being the happiest girl in the world, to being a mere shadow of myself, a broken girl trying to put the pieces of her life back together. I’m sad to say that 2018 crushed a lot of that confident, happy, traveling gal I once was. The last eight months have put my mind, and my body, under more stress than I imagined possible and that’s why in 2019, I want to focus on putting myself first for once. Spending two hours a day commuting to and from work, plus long hours, a real lack of daylight and total exhaustion really took its toll after a while. I pushed my body to its limits, and while I’m amazed at what it has withstood this year and how it has coped and still kept me as a functioning human being, I know that I have been half the person I normally am.
2018 has been a difficult year for my friendships. While I started the year more invested in my friendships than ever, the move made life difficult and various bigger issues made me pull away from those closest to me. It became harder and harder to keep in touch with those at home, and making friends in Germany was much harder than I anticipated. But I did make friends, I have made some amazing friends over the last six months and I am so grateful to them for being a part of my Hamburg life.
It’s to you guys that I write this open apology, because while I have been so happy to meet and share life with you, none of you ever really got to experience the real Lucy. I’m so sorry, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I held a lot of myself back over these last few months. I shied away from really throwing myself into friendships because my energies were elsewhere. I will always treasure the friendships I made while living in Germany, you guys got me through the hardest of times without even knowing it.
2019 – A time for change
As 2018 has come to an end, so have a lot of things in my life and it’s become clear that 2019 is a year for change. A change in location, a change in lifestyle, in the people I invest in and where I invest my time. After spending so long putting others first and suffering as a result, I’m long overdue for a shift in focus. So for a start, I’m going off-grid for a while, I’ll still be working on the blog and I’ll still be online, but I’m taking more time for myself. After such big life changes, it’s important to take time to reflect and heal and there’s no shame in taking time out to get your head together.
I’m setting goals for the year ahead and they involve a lot more focus on spending time with the people who mean the most to me and actually allowing them to look after me for once. I’m not indulging as a way of dealing with things, rather I’m investing in myself and giving myself space to grow and become that girl I once was. Filling my shelves with the books I’ve been longing to read but haven’t had the energy to, filling my fridge with healthy foods and bringing myself back to life again. Planning travels and adventures for the future and not dwelling on the past. After the hardest year of my life, let’s hope 2019 brings happiness.