There has been a sort of standstill around these parts as well as in The Blonde Gypsy social media world over the past six months if you’ve been following any of them. A strange one. One that I could have never imagined would have happened as my feet usually tend to just ache with wanderlust if they haven’t moved after a maximum of two months. But, things happen.
Just as easily as people can leave your life, they can enter in and totally change it. Turn it upside down, in fact. Make you reassess every single priority you thought you ever had and introduce you to a new wave of thinking that in my case has been for the much better.
As much as I would love for you to jump to conclusions at this point (makes for better TV/blogging) – NO, I did not have a baby. Someone extremely close to me did and for the past four months I have had the absolute privilege and honor to be in this little human’s life every single day – and it was simply amazing. A completely new experience for me that somehow totally made me forget every single thing about that gypsy life I’ve been working to have for what seems like forever and that exactly one year ago I was doing the hardest core yet.
Just to summarize, in 2014 I spent seven months straight “on the road” in Europe – mostly in the Balkans. It was my longest stint doing so yet and while it sounds like a dream, awesome, amazing and a lot of great things came out of it…it really felt more like purgatory than anything else. My toes were getting dipped in both heaven and hell, and while I was doing exactly what I had wanted to for years, in retrospect it was actually really stressful, exhausting, and confusing most of the time to which I think quite a few travel bloggers and/or permanent travelers can empathize with.
While in this exact moment I can’t claim to have figured anything out (because does anyone ever, really?), I can tell you that thankfully this sort of “travel hiatus” over the past six months has lead me to some clarity that would have been impossible to find without having had my ass sit still for somewhat of an extended period as well as the addition of some incredible relationships (and subtraction of some expired) into my life. Though I’m not a big fan of publishing much about my non-travel related affairs on this blog for the public to read and judge, somehow I just wanted to mention all of the above before I drop the bomb…
I MOVED TO THE BALKANS
Like, I live here now. I actually found that base and peace that I was looking for since last year and quite frankly since I left Sweden in 2012. And I’m not here for just a month, either. Or maybe three or four. I am here indefinitely on a one-way ticket, in Kosovo of all places, with my adopted unicorn, some pretty cool potential projects in the works, an exciting Balkan tour lined up, and the luxury to chill in a space of my own for as long as I want or get out and explore the most exciting region in Europe whenever I want. Now, it’s like a dream.
Not gonna lie – it was no easy feat saying goodbye to that little lady pictured above as well as to California and all of my loved ones there. In fact, this was by far the hardest time…but I have a good feeling about this decision. Though I’ve gotten very little back from the Balkans with all of the promotion I’ve been doing for it the past couple of years (more in terms of professionally and financially – we all have to make a living and unfortunately opportunities here have been limited and/or granted to the wrong people for the wrong reasons), I’m not giving up on it just yet. It’s where my heart is and I just feel that placing myself directly in the middle is the best move for me right now. Tourism development is my passion and as the region in Europe with the most untapped tourism potential, there is really no better place.
Also not gonna lie – I have no idea how easy or hard it’s going to be adjusting to life here, nor how much I’m going to love it or hate it or both. All I know is that the standstill around here is for the most part over and a new, crazy chapter in my life has just begun. Thanks to all of you who have been following along my journey thus far (or welcome to anyone new) – and get excited, for there are lots of inevitable adventures to come.
From standstill to whirlwind, I’ve traveled approximately 13,000 kilometers over the past two weeks from the USA to the Balkans having already passed through/spent time in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, and now Bosnia & Herzegovina where I am taking part in another week of outdoor adventures along the Via Dinarica. Follow all of this and more @theblondegypsy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Any advice or words of encouragement from anyone who has ever made a pretty radical move are more than welcome…this isn’t my first big move abroad, but definitely my wildest ;)