One of the biggest blessings that I've learned throughout my sobriety is to trust myself. By no means was this something that came easy to me. Quite the contrary, in fact. I will say that learning how to listen and trust your intuition gets easier every time you practice it.
After two months of traveling around western Europe and the United States, I had a job opportunity lined up to serve in a conservation corps for six months in Flagstaff, AZ. I would be maintaining trails, building fences, removing invasive species, and doing more work outdoors.
I was absolutely thrilled for this position. I wanted to get away from life in DC because the typical nine to five career didn't sit well with me. I also wanted to use this time in my life to explore different types of jobs to figure out what I liked and disliked. The idea of being able to backcountry camp and hike for work (sometimes eight days in a row) really aligned with me.
The downside of this position was that I would have to move four hours away for six months into employee housing. Despite having to pick up and move again, I was excited for the work I would be doing.
However, when I got to Flagstaff, things went south quickly. I realized I would be sharing an apartment with FOURTEEN other people. My tiny room consisted of three bunk beds, and there was only one bathroom for everyone to share. The kitchen was filthy and unorganized, and I instantly felt suffocated.
I felt a pit of dread in my stomach, and then came the realization that this wasn't exactly what I had expected. I also felt completely overwhelmed, knowing that I would have to adjust to a new environment, and then settle back into Tucson when my six month term was over.
My mental health was not okay. My head was spinning as I tried to make the situation fit my needs. I contemplated staying for orientation, yet my gut was telling me to go back to Tucson. After spending eight hours in Flagstaff, I decided to make the drive back home.
To some, it may come off like I was impulsive, impatient, and didn't give the job a shot. I didn't stay for orientation, and I didn't attempt to work in the field. The story may even seem like a downer to you. To me, though, my decision to leave was liberating.
I've written about quitting jobs before, and I'm writing about it now. It is always a hard thing to do. The only difference was that this time I listened to my gut quicker and with less resistance. I knew what my needs were and the environment wasn't cutting it.
I did know, however, that there were other conservation opportunities in Tucson (because I looked some up before deciding to quit), that didn't require housing, AND paid more money. There were even positions where I could recruit youth volunteers to do field work with me. Ultimately, I decided that conservation work was still an option, and I could still live in my apartment in Tucson.
The day after I arrived back to Tucson, Dylan and I got to talking about what we wanted our future to look like. The main priority we identified was saving up for a van so we could eventually live life on the road. The more we discussed our goals for the future, the more I realized that living in Flagstaff wasn't aligned with that.
We continued to talk about the biggest dreams that we have, and I talked about starting a travel blog. It's something that I've always wanted to do, but I always put off. Dylan wants to be a travel coach and run our social media. Together, we could build a travel blog and business, and create the life we want around that.
It didn't take long to jump into it. I developed our website, and Dylan has been getting our social media page up and running. It's something that I look forward to working on every day, and something that I get excited thinking about.
The moral of the story is, even though a job that I was excited about didn't work out, I am one step closer to pursuing a career that gives my life purpose. I wouldn't have been able to feel the inspiration that I do, had I not decided to follow my instinct about leaving Flagstaff.
Sure, in the meantime I will still have to accept work so that I can pay the bills and save up for the van, but in the meantime, I'll be working towards something I'm passionate about.
Around the time that I hit one year of sobriety, I quit a crappy job that was terrible for my mental health. I really struggled to listen to myself, and I tried to push through it until I couldn't take it anymore. Now, at one year and four months sober, listening to my intuition comes a whole lot easier. It just takes practice. It's like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
I am so grateful that through my sobriety I've been able to hear my inner guidance with more clarity. There is no more pushing through things that are unfit for me... We are all deserving and destined for more than that. Everybody deserves to pursue things that set their soul on fire.
Deep down, you know what you're meant to be doing. Your body will tell you. When you're doing something you're meant to be doing, it'll feel good. When you're off course, you'll feel that too. All it takes is learning how to listen.
If you've found my writing helpful and are interested in traveling, feel free to check out my new travel blog here :)
Love to all.