A Tale or Two About…Letting Go and Just Going

If you’ve read the recently updated “The Tale Behind This Blog” then you’ll already know that, in the past six weeks, my life has undergone a massive change. I had been preparing to move to Oregon for over a year and a half but, in the space of one FaceTime call, everything I thought about my future was turned upside down. Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to – plans change, and more importantly (as the First Aid Kit song goes) you can’t plan on the heart…or in this case, someone else’s heart.

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From the window of The Benson Hotel, Downtown Portland

The end of the two-year relationship I was in, along with the absolutely gut-wrenching realisation that I’d tied all of my hopes and goals to another person, left me completely directionless. All I had wanted for so long was to move to America – every single action that I had taken over the past 18 months was for the sole purpose of getting to Portland to be with this man, for this relationship.

Accepting the job in Oregon now, living in the same city as him, seemed insane – and would probably suggest I was still hanging onto some hope that he might change his mind –  but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. I’d given up my flat and my independence, moved back home to my parent’s house in the middle of nowhere and taken a job at a local charity in order to save money for the move. I had wanted to go to Portland so badly that all of the sacrifices had seemed worth it at the time…but once that dream was over, it felt like such a waste.

People started to ask me what I was going to do next, and it seemed like everyone had an opinion on what would be best. One person suggested I cry it out – eating ice cream under the duvet covers whilst watching chick flicks until I was feeling good enough to go out and find another man. My mum thought I should get another job in journalism and move back to Glasgow. My oldest friend suggested I say F**K it and take the job in America anyway. My best boy mate told me the only way to get over someone is to “get under someone else”. But I didn’t want any of those things. All I could think was “I want to run away.”

I had already put what was left of my life here in Scotland, after clearing, selling and condensing the majority of my belongings, into storage. I had a suitcase of clothes already packed, I’d handed my notice in at my job, cancelled all my memberships and my “America!” savings account was one payday away from being the target amount I had wanted to move with.

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Portland, Oregon – the city I have thought of as a second home for the past 18 months.

I knew that I had to make a decision. My heart was screaming that all I wanted and would ever want was to move to Portland.  My head knew that dream was over and that, with time, I would feel differently.  So I decided to follow my initial gut instinct – to run away.

I changed the name of my savings account from “America!” to “The World”. I started looking at magazines, reading other travel blogs and attempting to remember where I had wanted to go and the life I had wanted to live pre this all-consuming relationship. I spent (way too many) hours on Instagram looking at beautiful, far off places and spoke to everyone I could about their travel experiences. I began looking into working and volunteering abroad. I dug out photographs of myself from three years ago, when I was working as a journalist and travelling on press trips, and remembered how incredible it had been, how amazing the people were and I saw how happy I had been in those moments.  I knew I needed to figure out what I had loved before I put everything into the person I was in love with…and so, I booked a one-way ticket.

Making new friends in Murcia, Spain - during a press trip in 2012

Making new friends in Murcia, Spain – during a press trip in 2012

One week today, I leave for Europe. My only goal now is to see and experience as much of this world as possible…for me…on my terms. I plan to travel for as long and as far as possible, working on the road and following whatever opportunities present themselves.

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