Reflections on the Adriatic

Photo Credit: Sharan Chawla
📷 Credit: Sharan Chawla

Of all the places to start this crazy adventure, Split couldn’t have been better. I’d been in major cities for the past twelve years, and was used to their demanding, full-speed-ahead nature. Split provided a welcome change with the relaxed state of fjaka that forced me to take a step back.

In NYC, fjaka is unheard of. We’re constantly on the go, never taking the time to look around us, pause and experience the city. The stark contrast allowed me to slow down and re-evaluate. My days were less hectic – the two hour daily commute was gone! Setting my own hours meant I could work at my most productive times and recharge mid-day.

But at the same time, everything took longer. Lunch hours were truly hours. Grocery shopping was arduous. Locals seem to shop in markets and specialty shops rather than a single grocery store. I generally couldn’t get everything in one place, even if I could figure out the language & new brands! The conveniences we take for granted at home (no peanut butter!?) were no longer simple and left my head spinning.

Don’t worry – as soon as you start to normalize, it’s time to move and start all over! But that’s also what makes Remote Year the crazy adventure it is…

Regardless of the challenges living in a foreign place, Split provided a graceful transition from life as I knew it to the digital nomad lifestyle. I was out of my comfort zone, but in a welcoming, relaxed place. There was enough to explore, but not so much to completely overwhelm.

Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along.  — Anonymous

While not quite as graceful, I was also knee deep in my own personal discovery. It’s a hard and grueling road to follow, and often feels like two steps back for every step forward. However, I was promised the effort is worthwhile and with month one in the books, I thought back on what I had already discovered.

  1. Time is speeding by. I’ve been trying to hang on but no matter where or how I focus my energy, I feel like I am constantly playing catch-up.
  2. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t be Wonder Woman. I tend to take on work I see being neglected, but it is not my job to do it all. Setting boundaries and being selective in the roles I play can help my focus.
  3. Expectations are evil. I get frustrated when there is commitment with no follow through, and I project expectations of myself onto others. Resetting expectations based on past behavior is much easier said than done.
  4. Over-committing is an energy drain. I value time and follow through on my commitments, but that does not mean I need to agree to everything. No more FOMO!
  5. Everyone has a different perspective. I was viewed by some as a social butterfly, building deep friendships across the community. In contrast, I felt like I had barely scratched surface in getting to know people. Quality is more important than quantity.
  6. Strong friendships take time. Despite my wishes, they won’t grow overnight. One of my biggest fears is that friendships won’t stand the test of time, but I can counteract that by opening up, nurturing those relationships and asking for what I need.

My first month with Kairos flew by, and I did my best to grab those fleeting moments, holding  tight for the wild ride that is Remote Year. In the end, it’s the experiences, friendships and memories that will make this the journey of a lifetime.

 

Thanks to Sharan Chawla for putting together an amazing memory of our month.

 

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