Yesterday was my last day of work with Gastropost Vancouver. I was laid off towards the end of January immediately following the funeral of my paternal grandmother. Needless to say, that was a tough week, which is why it’s been a bit silent on here as I tried to cope with the loss of my grandmother and with the upcoming loss of my job.
#tbt to me as a baby with wild hair. Sharing a laugh with my grandmother. We may have officially said goodbye yesterday, but I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet. I don’t think I knew how much you meant to me until you were gone. 2017 is off to a rough start especially this week which has been intensely emotional. They said bad news comes in 3 right? Waiting for the third now…
But now that over two weeks has passed, I’m feeling significantly better about everything. I’m less emotional about having to say goodbye to my grandmother and come to terms with losing my job. However, like anyone who has been laid off, I was worried about income, worried about finding another job, worried about what I want to even do next, worried about everything pretty much. Not to mention the anxiety that came with shutting down Gastropost in a way that was respectful to the community that we had built. Earlier this week all that anxiety and worry manifested itself in the form of insomnia, but even that has passed. Last night I slept a full night and never have I felt more rested.
And, that’s a wrap! Today I bid farewell to @GastropostVAN. It’s been bittersweet seeing all the thoughtful messages of gratitude roll in. There is so much love in these last pages. I’ve had such a wonderful time getting to know the food community in Vancouver, finding out the best places to eat and getting inspired by all the home cooks and bakers in the city. I will definitely miss it, but onwards and upwards to new and exciting adventures. 🍾 So what’s next? I’m going to take a short break, work on some side projects (aka @packmeto), do some freelancing and, naturally, hit the road! Any guesses on where I’m headed? #gastropost #thelastbite
A part of that relief is rooted in the fact that I’ve figured out what I’m going to do. Well, at least for the next month and a half.
Like any other travel lover, I’m going to seize this opportunity to take a break and, like the title of this post says, travel! I haven’t had a break in work since I graduated university and started working full time in 2011. Even when I moved to Budapest I only had the weekend to sort myself out and get over jetlag before I started work and when I came home, I had a job that I was doing remotely. So I’m really looking forward to just taking a short break to go travel, work on some side projects (aka this site!) and try to pick up some freelance work (if you know anyone looking to hire a copywriter or social media / community manager, send them my way!).
So where am I going you may ask? Well, I’m off to Japan and Korea for a month! While I’ve been to Japan before (ironically right at the beginning of this job), it was such a whirlwind trip so I’d love to go back, revisit some of my favourite places at a slower pace, and explore some lesser known destinations. I’ve never been to Korea before so I’m excited to be in a new country (though less excited about all the spicy food).
Ever the worry wart that I am, this part time traveler isn’t use to being on the road for longer than a week or 10 days. Especially since much of it I will be alone. Sure, I’ll be staying in hostels and hopefully meeting some cool people along the way, but I’m terrified of being alone for so long. I’ll be meeting my boyfriend in Korea for the 10 days I’m there so I won’t be alone the whole month, but until then, I’m on my own.
I’m having to think about how to minimize what I need to bring with me (usually I pack about a week’s worth of clothing for 10 days). Needing to think about how I’m going to do laundry on the road (usually I bring enough to not need it). How I’ll get money (usually I just bring cash, but I can’t do that for a month). All of the things you need to consider when you’re going on a longer trip that I normally don’t need to consider because I’m just going for short time.
All this said, I’m confident that I will have a blast. I absolutely loved Japan the first time I was there and I’m looking forward to being some place new with my boyfriend. While my costs are slowly adding up, I’m fueled with the thought of having amazing bowls of ramen and delicious sushi. Of going places I’ve never been before. Of experiencing new things and cultures. And of challenging myself again.
I have gotten too comfortable at home with my steady job and comfortable lifestyle and this is a good reminder and opportunity to push myself again. I’m trying to remember that girl who packed up her bags and moved to Budapest for 18 months never having been there. I’m trying to remember the girl who headed on a volunteer trip to Cambodia at aged 16 to help build a school.
I’m sure she’s in there somewhere.
So in the meantime, if you have any suggestions on cool things to do in Japan (beyond the typical tourist stuff in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Himeji) and Korea or delicious restaurants and foods to try in both countries, be sure to hit me up in the comments. And if you have any tips for this first time solo long(er) time traveler, let me know too!
Have you ever taken a career break before? Where did you go?