Yeah, you did read that correctly. Jeannette is not jumping onto another plane to the other side of the world (well not this month). I’ve decided to hang out in Portland, Oregon for the time being. I’m storing my beautiful backpack in the attic and I started a grown-up job a couple of weeks ago.
So, why am I sticking around in the USA? A couple of reasons, which I’ll type out in convenient list format for you smart-phone havers with no attention spans.
I Need Money
Being completely broke is stressful for me. Unlike many of my beloved traveler friends, I have no safety net. Meaning, my family isn’t able to wire me “Ooops, I’m broke and need an emergency plane ticket” money. When I run out of cash, I’m out of cash.
In fact, I put my plane ticket back to America on my credit card–and am only now starting to pay it off.
I spent two years living off of €700-1000 so I’m not exactly high-maintenance. But I do occasionally need some cash. And right now I need an income for current costs as well as future traveling adventures…and there will be future adventures. So, as much as I loved traveling around Europe, my bank account said it was time to start earning some money.
Can I Hack it Here?
I ran off to Europe right after college–and I never had to deal with the US job market. I had a guaranteed job in Galicia–well as guaranteed as anything can get in Spain. I knew I wouldn’t be laid off or have my hours cut. Not to mention, I had a life I enjoyed, friends I loved, and a whole continent to explore on my 3-day-weekends (Yay discount airlines!).
I didn’t have to think about rejoining the job hunt with so many of my newly graduated friends. That was always mentally deferred until the day that I came home, whenever that would be. In a way, I was hiding out in Europe.
And honestly, in the back of my mind I always wondered if I could make it. Did I have the skills/abilities/whatever to get a “real job” (whatever that means) in America? Or was I not good enough and hiding that fact from myself while I bummed around Europe? I had to come back stateside and figure out!
I Love my Job!
I got super lucky here and am working for a company with a mission I highly respect and support. I’m a receptionist at a health clinic that mainly serves low-income residents of Portland. And, in case that sounded too interviewy, my coworkers are f*cking awesome!
Plus I get to speak Spanish on the job, which I love!
Yes, it’s a non-profit. However it’s also union–so i’m not getting paid peanuts. In fact, I also have benefits (health insurance) and lots of vacation time–well by American standards.
Chile, Korea, or Australia? I don’t know!
I haven’t decided where I want to adventure next. There are so many fantastic options out there–and I’m still in the deciding process. Right now, I’m asking myself questions about what kind of life I want to lead while on my next adventure.
Do I want to be a backpacking hippie, traveling from hostel to hostel, maybe WOOFing at an organic farm or two, seeing tons of the world but not having the stability of a “home base”? Do I want to have a nice apartment in a first world country and a full-time job that looks good on my resume? Or, like in Spain, do I want to live spartanly and work minimally, saving all my money for traveling on my days off?
Also, am I okay living somewhere where it’s difficult to make friends due to cultural or linguistic barriers? Or, where I stand out as “the foreigner” before I open my mouth?
Could I deal with a culture that imposes different behavior codes than what I’m used to–or even what I consider ethical?
These are all questions that I have to consider before I pick up my backpack again. So, while I’m thinking about my future, I’m going to hang out somewhere I love, surrounded by hipster weirdos.
Also: I will definitely continue writing. Can’t disappoint all my beloved readers now 😀