Personal Growth or Emotional Breakdown?

Lately I’ve felt a bit off and I can’t figure out if it’s a move toward personal growth or the subtle beginnings of an emotional breakdown. The reason for this is because, while I hate to admit it, I really dislike my experience of the east coast of Australia.

I know, I know . . . most people are thrilled to travel with an open-ended time frame in Oz or anywhere else. And most of the time, I do enjoy seeing new things and going to new places. But for some reason I just can’t get into the east coast. Nothing really makes me say, “wow.” Is this apathy of mine just limited to the east coast or has the freshness of long-term travel completely worn off? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I didn’t have any expectations for the east coast. I didn’t research it to death like I usually do for my trips. I just let life lead me where it wanted to and waited to see what happened. But somehow the east coast doesn’t call to me like the Red Center did. So far the east coast locations range from being completely touristy to almost invisible. I enjoyed the Whitsunday Islands, but I haven’t really found an east coast town that I’d want to visit again.

I am also realizing that I miss being able to share experiences with people I know well and who know me well in return. There’s no point in making an inside joke when you’re the only one “inside.” Sometimes there are things that new friends can never understand because they haven’t lived through life with you, and all you need is an old friend at your side.

And even though I enjoy meeting new people, being the unofficial rep for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau is tough. It’s exhausting trying to explain there are different islands in Hawaii and each one is unique. I mean, I’ve even had to explain that Hawaii is part of America and that we speak English there. But, luckily, I haven’t had to tell anyone that we don’t live in grass huts anymore. Usually my default reaction is to agree with everyone by saying, “Yes, Hawaii is great. You should visit one day.” It’s just easier that way.

Oddly enough, another thing I miss while traveling is speaking Pidgin. No one would understand me if I did. I wonder if I’m losing my Pidgin by not using it? Can that be possible? Will I return home and have a completely different accent and sound funny when I try to use Pidgin again? I mean, it’s not like I use Pidgin every day when I’m home, but I hear it around me and it’s so easy to slip back and forth between it and proper English. In Oz, there’s nothing remotely similar to it.

So what’s the meaning behind all of this emotional dissatisfaction? Maybe I’m finally supposed to learn how special Hawaii is and come to appreciate it? Maybe I’m supposed to be grateful for an island upbringing, even with all its pros and cons? Maybe I’m supposed to realize that physical distance doesn’t always equal emotional freedom? Maybe I just need to travel to a different part of the country, or another country entirely, to find a spot that connects with me? Maybe the path to true enlightenment is to stop thinking and live in the moment?

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4 Comments

Filed under Australia, Personal, Travel

4 responses to “Personal Growth or Emotional Breakdown?

  1. hemajang

    Hi sky, nice piece of writing as usual, and you ask very good questions about personal growth and being away from home. From my perspective I like your last line about living in the moment but your strongest trait imo is your thinking and expressing your thoughts. Keep moving…aloha, ladat.

  2. A. Sanj

    I think it’s part homesickness, part long trip, etc. I experienced that when I first came to LA 40+ years ago. (Yes, I’ve lived here longer than in HI) . But anyway, a lot of Hi people live here, so we didn’t lose our pidgin. We also were able to get back to HI often. You’ll eventually get to a happy medium place emotionally and get excited again, maybe when you go to a different country. If not, the only other solution I can think of is to return to HI, stay for awhile and then go off again. Hope this helps.

  3. Aunty Suzanne

    Definitely personal growth…self-reflection important in enlightenment & growing up process. Discovering places that take your breath away and those that are “ho-hum” is like life’s events & people…all different & enriching as you come to know yourself better, refine personal philosophy & life goals. Just keep moving on, nourish yourself w/new experiences, cherish the old & special ones, & keep growing…like a tree: as limbs & branches spread out, roots sink deeper. love, aunty suzanne

  4. Aunty Diane

    Travel is like life, some parts are better than others. It sounds like you are in a place where you can decide to keep traveling the same path and sticking to your “plan” or decide to make a change and go or do something different. Don’t worry about not being able to speak “pidgin”, I’ve heard Uncle Milt slip right back into it when’s he’s back in Hawaii and even though I haven’t lived in NJ for 35 years, people still say to me, “you have an east coast accent”. The good thing is you are realizing what is special and wonderful to you about where you’re from and having the chance to reflect on that and your life. I’m looking forward to hearing about your travel experiences when you are in a country where most people don’t speak English and the customs are different. This blog is a wonderful way to stay connected to the familiar while you are experiencing so many new things, and not something you would have been able to do even 10 years ago! Take care and enjoy! Love, aunty diane

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