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December 23, 2014

The Right way to Run Away.

backpacking

I quit my job two months ago to travel the world and watch sunrises.

It wasn’t a planned thing, it just happened after finding myself yet again on my knees crying and praying for peace. Praying for a goddamn break from what felt like an endless emotional roller coaster ride.

I had been living in New York City for the past four years trying to make things work. I had a job, I reasonably enjoyed, amazing friends and was an avid salsera and yogi.

Yet, there was always something missing.

It would pop up on the subway when my phone ran out of battery, it’d happen at work when I wondered if my coworkers were happy and on the street when I looked into people’s eyes. The reminders were everywhere.

So, I quit my job.

I booked a flight to Australia and clutched onto myself for fear of falling apart. I leapt because I thought I would find happiness if I traded in my current deck of cards. That’s what everyone says, right? Travel is the best thing you can do for ourselves.

What I found?

Me. The same person who was there before she left. It didn’t matter where I was or who I was with, I was still the same person dealing with the same sh*t.

Happiness wasn’t in leaving my job, or the parties and flirtations. Peace wasn’t in the days I spent by myself at the beach or even watching sunrises. I thought I could find what I was looking for outside of myself and if I got the combination just right, then I’d finally be content.

A month into my trip I found myself at an ashram. During meditation I realized that I had been spending all my energy arranging my deck of cards to get the perfect combination thinking that it would maybe, just maybe, be the change I needed to make me feel happy.

All I was doing was running away from myself and not dealing with the root of the problem.

My plan to backpack Australia was extreme.

What I was searching for was simple—I knew it all along—but it took me leaving everything familiar to discover it.

In a way, I ran into myself.

I’m still traveling and watching sunrises but the journey hasn’t been as smooth and glamorous as I expected. This shift in perspective—truly realizing my external world—is a reflection of the internal, not the other way around. It is changing everything for me.

What I’ve learned is that there’s nothing stopping me from being who I want to be but myself.

There is nothing I need to get there, nowhere I need to go. I don’t need to lose weight, I don’t need a relationship, or a new job or apartment.

It’s been inside of me all along, and I just needed to be still and watch the thoughts that told me otherwise. They weren’t telling me the truth.

So here we are, back to the beginning. Where we realize things we thought we knew all along, only to find out there was a latch door underneath our feet the whole time.


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author: Melanie Mencarelli

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr

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Melanie Mencarelli