Mid Abroad Update: Yes, The Slump Is Real


Reality check:

Yesterday, I laid on my mat in an Australian yoga class with silent tears streaming down my face.

This isn’t a first for me. I’ve written about staying on your mat here. How in therapy, I was suggested to sit with my thoughts, acknowledge my emotions to move forward. In both realms of my relationship with my body, and my grief.

I was told that no matter how busy I kept myself, the pain and suffering that I let pile up on the inside would eventually rise to the surface. My therapist tried to explain to me that it was better to deal with my suffering head on, even if that meant crying in a public place. I tried to keep an open mind about this advice and cried on my mat back in the spring.

Then yesterday, I took it to heart again in a place where crying seems (to be frank) quite selfish.

I mean…why should I be crying in a place like Sydney, Australia?

And this is how I want to start off this mid semester update for you all.

The last week has been tough. It didn’t help that it poured for 3 days straight, forcing me to stay inside and slow down. OR that I had to accept my school work and my mundane days of just being a regular, average human. When you’re abroad, you think every day has to be exciting. That if you aren’t doing something, you are missing out, or even worse: wasting your precious time in a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

I couldn’t shake these thoughts all week. And then yesterday, I tried to continue my vinyasa flow in class, but the motivation - the drive to move my body was not there. I felt defeated as I let myself lay on my mat while everyone around me continued to move their body and breath.

And then, the tears abruptly appeared.

My grief bubbled to the surface - the longing to feel my mother’s embrace suffocated my heart. The thoughts of not “being enough” or “how I was wasting my abroad time” gnawed at my insides. I felt stuck with myself. And I hated it.

I share this experience with you all, because its humbling.

I can’t pretend that I am not human. That no matter how hard I try to put my best foot forward, sometimes I just feel like shit. Yes, positivity and surrounding yourself with positive energy will bring brighter experiences into my life, but there is not feasible way to remain on this “high” for the entirety of my life. My roommate and I spent the last few days trying to find the words to understand how our “mundane” days were just as beneficial. That we gain just as much value out of watching the rain fall from the sky, as we do traveling the world. However, it’s so much easier to write about it and talk about it, than actually live it. Because (at least for me), when those days finally occur, I can’t seem to always accept gratitude for them. I think its because acknowledging the “bleh” days, means acknowledging that I am not as special as I may perceive myself to be.

And if that is not humbling, then I don’t know what is.

While I laid on my mat, embarrassment washed over me. Who is this psycho crying in a place where you are suppose to feel free? I felt myself leaning towards the thoughts of “If Mom was only here, everything would be better” or “If I could just talk to her, everything would be alright”.

But the reality of that?

She couldn’t help me figure out who I am even if she was here. I like to think that she would fix all my problems with finding myself, but that was never her job. I didn’t always understand this when she told me right before leaving for college that “it was time to spread my own wings”. Obviously, there was never a doubt (in her mind or my own) that she wouldn’t be able to give her love and support to help me, but it comes to a point, where we need to figure out our own shit, ourselves.

Even if that means crying in public.

I feel myself going off on a tangent, as I tend to write these blog post on the spot, but what I am trying to express for this mid-semester reflection is I am just as much as a human as you are reading this. I say that out loud yes, for you readers, but also for myself. Just because I am living such an “exciting life” at this moment, doesn’t negate all other responsibilities I have as a part of this big, blue planet. I come back to the question:

“How has abroad helped determine who I am”

And for this time around, I’ll say this:

Abroad has helped me realize that I don’t need to be exciting every second of every day. I won’t lose respect for laying in bed for a couple of hours, and I am won’t lose my precious time for having to sit inside and listen to the rain. The more time I spend overthinking and analysing all of what I am doing wrong, takes away my ability to focus on what all is going right. Just like last month’s reflection, sometimes we just have to take it:

Un jour á la fois.

Thanks for listening to my Ted Talk.



Travel, GrowthEmma Ecklin