Nomadic Blues

Years ago, I had the best New Years Eve of my life. I was in college, partying with my friends, and, really, it shouldn’t have been anything particularly special but it was one of those nights that’s always stuck with me. As the clock struck midnight, Jan 1st, 2012, someone told me that whatever you are doing on midnight on NYE sets the tone of the upcoming year.

Travel Blues
December 31st 2011

I don’t buy into the hype of New Years. I don’t think you need to bring in the new year at a fancy club or with bottles of champagne. But I’ve never been able to forget that statement. So New Years has become a very important holiday for me. It’s not necessarily about partying, but about doing exactly what I want to do at midnight. It’s about reflecting on the last year and the upcoming year. Each NYE, as I enter the next year, I vow to be 100% honest with myself about what I want and what makes me happy. Do I truly want to be doing what I am doing? Am I truly happy with how I see the year progressing? I figure, I have a limited number of these years, so I really shouldn’t waste them by pretending I like my life if I don’t.

This year was no different. A lot of crazy stuff was happening the last few weeks of December that made me question where 2019 was going. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with how my year was being set up. I thought about what I “should” want; I thought about my responsibilities and my pride and all that stuff that gets in the way of what we really want. But then my NYE training kicked in and I did what I have done since 2012— I let myself be honest with what I really wanted.

About a year ago, I returned to Colombia after a few months in Argentina and wrote a post called “Nomadic Blues.” I talk about my overwhelming need to move around, and how that often strains my relationships and bank account. I end the post by saying I hope in 2018 I can find a reason to stay somewhere.

Santa Fe de Antioqia
Riddled with indecision: Feb 2018 in Colombia

As the clock approached 2019, I thought about how happy I had been in 2018. 2018 was an amazing year. Sure, I was riddled with self-doubt about almost every major thing in my life—I moved to Vietnam for a dude and it didn’t work out, I finished my novel and can’t get it published, I wondered if freelancing was the right path for me, I took a full-time job in China with a 2-year contract (a commitment that terrified me), and I questioned if my nomadic, spontaneous lifestyle was a disappointment to my family (“Shouldn’t I have done something “more” with my life by now? I’m 28 with a Master’s degree.”)—and yet, I really wouldn’t change any of that. When I watch my one-second-every-day video, there isn’t a single day I regret. I just had to work through all that indecision to get to where I am now.

One Second Every Day 2018 from Gwendolyn Bellinger on Vimeo.

In 2018, I can’t say I found the “perfect place to stay.” I definitely am not going to settle permanently in China. However, when I wrote that post last year, I really had no idea what I wanted which is why I was really struggling to commit to anything.

I think this year I’ve figured out what I really want and I’m ready to commit to those things. I’m not going to list my goals for the year here, but I’ll say 2019 is going to be great. There are a few very hard decisions I’ve made in the last few weeks which will mean having a few very hard conversations in the coming months, but ultimately, this is the most positive I’ve ever entered into a year.

I’m going to have a lot more to say about this in a few months. Until then—Happy New Year!

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  1. I’m glad you are figuring things out. As I’ve said, I think a person’s 20’s aren’t all they are cracked up to be b/c there’s a lot of indecision. I think you are making decisions you can be happy with. And that’s wonderful!

    1. Gwendolyn A Bellinger

      I remember you saying this when I was in India and I appreciated it a lot. I’m really enjoying myself mostly, but I think its hard to avoid self-doubt because there are a lot of experiences we (20-somethings) haven’t had. It doesn’t help when older people start gaslighting you and making you feel crazy for feeling certain ways.

  2. How do you feel about China?

    1. Gwendolyn A Bellinger

      A bit uninspiring so far. I have a good group of friends and a good routine, but I’m not “taken” by China like a lot of people are. It’s not living up to what I had in India or Vietnam. However, I’m trying to be really strategic about traveling and have plans to see more of China which I think will help.

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