You might have noticed I've been MIA for a few months… I've thought about this blog almost daily since my last post but I couldn't quite bring myself to write. Why, you may ask? Because I was having an existential crisis. Every time I sat down to write, something, or someone interrupted. It went something like this:
Me: I'm gonna wri-ite! I'm gonna wri-ite!
Brain (softly): Um, excuse me?
Me: Yes, Brain? What can I do for you?
Brain: Well, I was just, uh, wondering… what are you going to write about?
Me: I was thinking I would write about our trip to Disneyland Paris. I mean, cute pictures of kids, hanging out with friends, the differences between Orlando and Paris… it pretty much writes itself.
Brain: Yes, you're right. Except…
Brain: Well, who cares?
Brain: Okay, that came out wrong. I guess what I mean is, why are you writing it? Like 30 people, at most, seem to read this blog. If you go back to the beginning, you said you were starting it so you could finally write the Great American Novel that your mom always knew you could. Then you sort of veered off into well, here's my life- this blog is better than sending a group email. Then it became more of a travel blog for countries that no one really travels to *ahem Bahrain ahem*. THEN you just mostly wanted people to like your photos.
Brain: Also, if we're honest, you're not a particularly good traveler. I mean, you haven't really seen much of anything in Serbia. Zlatibor twice, Sremski Karlovci a couple of times. Have you even been to the Fort? Visited the Danube? What is in Zemun worth seeing? And can we talk about the vineyards you have NOT visited yet?
You go to the same places every time you visit England- Rufford Park, the High Street. You know there are castles and such in England, right? And henges made of STONE! You could see those! Ten years you've been traveling to England… really. And while we're on it, heck, there are places in Atlanta- the closest large city that you grew up next to and visit every summer that you've never been to!
Me: … but…
Brain: But what? All you think about, day in and day out, is writing, but you don't do it. When you're not thinking about writing, you're thinking about photography. But can we admit that pictures of your kids in the same places doing the same things can only be cute or rewarding for you as an artist for a while?
Me: … mmmaybe… so… what am I thinking?
Brain: Let's take a break and find some focus. Who do you want to read this blog? Why? Do you want to be a writer? A photographer? A documenter of your life or life in general? Do you really want to travel when you travel or just live in a place?
Me: But I'm an introvert. It's really, really hard to just go. I get nervous to visit new places on my own. I don't know how to do small-talk. I feel like I'm being nosey or pushy if I'm asking people their stories… which I wouldn't do anyway because I'm shy on top of being an introvert.
Brain: You are really in the weirdest profession for your neuroses.
Brain: So… then you need to make some decisions. I'm going to leave you to it. Let me know what you come up with. I'll be here, waiting patiently.
Me: Thanks. You're great.
Brain: No, you are.
Me: No, you are.
Brain: Stop it.
Me: No, you stop it.
Brain: No, seriously, stop it.
Me: Ok. Sorry.
It took a few months, but I think I've figured it out. I want to be a writer and a photographer. I want people to read this blog to see our family's journey, but to also learn something new about a place they have or haven't been yet. I want to see the things that I get to see.
The life of a school teacher is great for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the double 'new year' perk. In January, I make resolutions and set goals just like everyone else… and promptly forget about them, just like many others. But I get a second chance in August. New school year = new chance for goals. This year, I'm going to refocus this blog. I'm going to become The Homegrown Nomad- an introverted expat, with slight social anxiety. I'm going to step outside my very small comfort zone and document the joys and apprehension that accompany my travels.
I'm going to talk to people. That I don't know.
Photography will continue to be a large part of the documentation process- developing my skills is as important to me as chronicling my family's wanderings.
The biggest challenge for me, besides leaving my house on the weekends, is going to be opening up and being honest about being an introverted expat. Being an introvert in general is tough and I have noticed that my social anxiety has only increased as I've gotten older. But it's hard to admit, as a 30-something year old mom of two, that I'm afraid of something as simple as asking how to ride the tram or ordering a meal (not really how to ride the tram- that's just getting on and off, more so the what is this card for/how do I pay and who part). But I can be honest. And perhaps, by talking to more people who do not wish to do me any harm, I can relax more and find more joy in exploring this great world.
Please join me on this journey. You can expect more blog posts, lots of pictures of my kids and our travels, heart-felt stories of the struggles I face as an introverted expat (married to an extroverted expat), and other ramblings.
For your own enjoyment, here's a picture of my kids doing a science experiment on the first day of summer. Because they're cute. And I didn't have to leave my yard to take this photo.
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Do you think it would help or hinder you in your travels to a foreign country?