Life thoughts

is this the life now?

I have spent twenty-six winters in Finland and two on the other side of the world. I remember December 2016. One morning i was sitting by the dinner table with my morning coffee, staring into the distance, thinking; is this the life now? Am i going to get this degree and find the job and work for the next three winters? It was only six months after we got back from a ten month trip with my boyfriend. And six months of feelings of unease – i had a huge pressure of feeling the “what now? what’s next?” A huge pressure to make a plan, to figure out what i want to do. I tried to go to school to relieve the pressure, just to have an answer to the questions. To have something to answer to people when they would ask “so you went traveling, what now?”

A beautiful green mountain view after a hike in Pulau Padar, Indonesia
Pulau Padar, Indonesia

“Well… I am going to school. I am really liking it and i am trying to find a job for the summer, the usual things…” But seriously, i wasn’t doing it because i wanted to, but just to have something to say to people, and something to say to myself. That i am being a good person, i am trying, i am doing something, i have it all figured out. I couldn’t stand to admit to people and to myself how lost i felt in the world and in the society. And i couldn’t stand to admit that i have no idea what to do.

All i really wanted to tell to everyone was that i had seen a glimpse of a life in places where it never gets cold. In places i can pick my own coconuts from the garden. In places where the ocean glows red and turquoise in the light of the setting sun. I have seen what life could be like, and i will not be happy here, i will not be happy if i stay.

Traveling gets rough sometimes, so hammock time and cocktails on the beach are needed.
Chill time in Koh Tonsay, Cambodia

So i had to go. While drinking that coffee i said to myself, for some reason: this time next year i will be in Bali. I don’t know why exactly it was Bali, but that was decided then and there, that’s what first popped into my head. And the 6th of December 2017, everything i own was safely packed up in a small room of my childhood home, and i was on the empty plane going towards Denpasar. Traveling alone for the first time in my life, even though to an easy and safe destination, filled me with so much emotion i can still almost feel it. The feeling is safely packed inside my heart, where i treasure it and hope to never forget.

I was supposed to be going back. I wrote fourteen job applications, sent them before i left traveling but only got an answer to one of them. During my second whole month in Bali i wrote three to four applications per week and looked at available jobs every day after lunch and got one interview. I was trying not to be stressed about it, but my date of going back home came closer and closer, and i had nothing to go back to.

Traveler's notebooks traveling in Kampot, Cambodia
Well traveled traveler’s notebooks in Cambodia

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize i do not need to go back. I was trying too hard to control the future i was about to lose because things were not going the way i wanted them to go. I was trying to protect the ideal plan we had made for ourselves. It came to me very slowly, the realization that i don’t need to be in Finland to live my life. I don’t need to keep Finland as my home, as my base. I can do anything – i actually can do anything! What a relief it was, when one morning realized it. I let go of every piece of control i tried to have, i let go of expectations, i let go of the “what now? what’s next?”

Suddenly every little detail started falling into place. I got an offer to work in Thailand for next high season. My boyfriend got a job from a little island in Indonesia. I found myself paying a deposit of a yoga teacher training held in India next July – and i got a promise that i will have a spot to keep classes in Thailand.

Two little cambodian boys making a show on the sidewalk of Kampot, Cambodia
Local kids making a show for us in Kampot, Cambodia

There it was and here it is: we are officially starting a life out of our backpacks, at least for a year on, who knows how long. The next twelve months i am going to live half in Indonesia and half in Thailand, traveling to India in the meanwhile. It all sounds so strange to me, still. Sometimes i sit down and quiet myself. I look up and see the palm trees. I close my eyes and hear the sounds of the jungle. Then i wonder; is this the life now?

And i smile.

12 Comments

  • Bronwen

    Those gentle lessons of letting go and not having everything planned out… so profound. Thank you for sharing your experience, for showing courage and being vulnerable. You’re inspiring. 💚

    • essikaroliina

      The most important lessons, i think! Thank you for commenting and thank you for your lovely words, dear.

  • Helen

    I’m so excited that you have started a blog. I look forward to following your adventures and seeing how life unfolds. Thank you for sharing your story, Helen

  • Sanni

    Essi, my dear! This post made me so happy for you I actually cried some happy tears in a local buss (behind my sunglasses). I have enjoyed following your journey to the person you really are. I always knew you were ment to be born in some place that never gets cold. You have found your true home exploring the world and I am so happy for you!

    • essikaroliina

      Awww! This just made me smile so widely here in the Cambodian night, i am imagining you in the Finnish summer sun! Thank you dear!!

  • Susanne

    Lovely to see your new blog; congratulations, Essi.
    And great to hear that you’ve descided to stay for another year where your heart belongs. Safe journey ahead, Dear! Hugs, Susanne 😃👍

  • Radha

    Dear Essi,
    Read up on all your blog posts! You are very brave. I hope you have a great time in India and I hope we can catch up sometime soon! Your posts made me cry! You write so well!
    Your friend in New Zealand!

    • essikaroliina

      Hi there dear, i am just now logging in seeing this comment. Thank you so so much for your words, they mean a lot to me!

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