Listening to Your Gut and Saying Goodbye

gut feelings

When we returned back to the states I was both ecstatic and hesitant. For the last three years and for practically all of my married life, we had lived in Korea and taught English. I was returning to a place that I knew well but yet at the same time felt completely different and where we would lead completely different lives than we had been. We came back to the land of Targets, discount stores, vast shopping markets with every type of food you could ever hope for, family, friends, and the land of convenience. So why was I not thrilled? To be honest, I’m wasn’t sure where I belonged anymore. As much as America remained my culture, I have adapted many more cultural aspects along the way in the past three years. I missed seeing weird and bizarre new foods in the stores, being able to speak a second language (albeit, not very well) and being able to experience something new almost every day.

I should have known it was coming. After all, I have known plenty of expats that have returned back home and discussed reverse culture shock. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t think it would happen to me. When we moved to Korea, we expected culture shock. We welcomed it with open arms as we walked down the streets of our small town and soaked up the different, the weird and the down right bizarre around us. But pretty soon, all those new sites and sounds became perfectly normal for us and it started to feel like home. But when we discussed moving back home to the States, I really expected to show up and think ‘now this feels like home’. But it didn’t. At all. I’ve been reading a lot from different expats that have all made the transition home and the best explanation of it is it’s like returning to a place that is exactly the same and completely different at the same time. Confusing huh? I feel so blessed to be welcomed back to the states with open arms by an amazing support system of friends and family. But while everything around me was familiar, it was also equally confusing. To be honest, I’ve grown used to the fact that I have felt most at home in the past three years when I was completely out of my element. But now, thankfully, after two months in this ‘foreign’ land, it’s finally beginning to feel like home.  We’ve met new people, set down roots (as much as we can when we’re leaving again when the RV is finished), played tourist again in our town and finally stopped doing the automatic head bow to people.

But right before leaving Korea I began thinking about what I wanted to do when I returned back to the States and if that included continuing the blog. And that’s when I started getting this gut feeling. And as time went on and as we transitioned back to the states and started to feel like home, the nagging gut feeling continued. You know the one I’m talking about. Those undeniable gut feelings that make your stomach twist every time you think about it? Maybe it was about something that you should do, or more commonly, something you shouldn’t do? Or maybe it was just gas…I don’t know. I admit, I’m not the prime example for listening to those little moral indicators. So when I continually had the gut feeling to close down the blog, when it was constantly in the back of my mind…I ignored it. I ignored it for a good three months until it was so strong that I knew that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. But I have come to learn that more times than not, when you stop and listen to what your gut is telling you, that it is more rewarding in the long run. I just feel as though I need to focus my attention elsewhere for the time being and not try to split it up. So now the time has come to say goodbye.

It’s been three years since I started this little corner of the internet that I’ve called my own and grown so attached to; and only about a year since I really started taking it seriously. Aka, finding readers outside of my family. Through that I not only learned more about myself, my love of writing and running a blog, but I also started expanding my readers and meeting amazing people around the world; some that I’ve been able to meet in person and others that I plan on meeting in the very near future (they just don’t know it yet. They will when a 30 foot RV pulls up in front of their house). I found a community. I found people that even though we had never met, we connected and formed friendships. Being an expat is an amazing experience but as I’ve said before, it’s not always passports and rainbows. There is difficulty and heartache beyond the adventures. But the blogging community was my solace and where I found numerous others going through the same thing that I could confide in and find comfort through. And for that along with the friendship, support, love and encouragement over the years, I thank you. I have truly found a very welcoming and supportive community through blogging and have loved getting to know all of you that have followed along on our adventure.

So thank you Lost in Travelers. It’s been a hell of a ride and we’re just getting started.

Be sure to keep in touch and follow along on Instagram and Twitter where I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on our transition back to the states, renovations of the RV, our life on the road and some other fun projects I have up my sleeve.

Nepali Clutches and Wallets for Sale!

SOLD OUT! It’s that time once again! While we were traveling through Nepal, I had no problem deciding what to bring back and sell on the blog. These bags in Thamel automatically caught my attention with their bright  woven detail and yak leather lining. While the Thamel area in Kathmandu is any shopper’s paradise, where everything from jewelry, scarves, blankets and woodworking can be found, it was the purses that drew my attention the most. It goes without saying that any of these options would be a great addition to anyone’s new spring wardrobe for this season. The clutches (I have one in brown (#1), one in the mixed print (#3) and three in purple (#3)) are selling for $35 and that includes shipping cost. The wallet is selling for $25 and that also includes shipping cost. If you are interested in any of them, don’t wait! I have a very limited selection! Check out my advertising page to reserve yours and pay through Passionfruit ads.

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India Budget

Today is my last Expat Diaries. I just want to say thank you for everyone who participated. Through this program I was personally able to meet so many amazing travel bloggers who I don’t think I would have in any other context. I’m so thankful for all of you out in blogland and your support to your fellow expat and travel lovers. Living overseas can be both exhilarating and heart wrenching. But through the support of other expats the burden of living away from loved ones can be lightened. I hope you all enjoyed meeting each other as much as I did and I sincerely hope that everyone will keep in touch even after the link up is over. Thank you thank you! (Remember, Rachel will be hosting one more after this to take place on May 1st! Go link up on her site!)india budgetI’m finishing up our travel budget guides with our India budget. Overall, we were both very pleased at just how cheap we could travel around the country, eat and stay. While it is definitely possible to fly from place to place or even hire a driver to take you around the country, we decided after much encouragement from some friends from India to take the local trains. We had heard horror stories about delays (even though we did experience a 9 hour delay) sold out trains months and general chaos surrounding the Indian train system. Thankfully with guidance and lots of patience, we were able to book our tickets and make it to our trains with little to no hassle. My best advice for navigating the train systems? Go through Cleartrip. They make the headache of registering and booking tickets a little less stressful. And also, book your tickets as soon as possible. We booked ours about a month and a half before our trip and there were only a few seats left. From what we’re told, this is the norm and if you don’t book in advance you’re in for a headache. The worst thing that happened to us while we were traveling was waiting at a less than sanitary train station (Agra was by far the worst one we experienced) for nine hours since our train was delayed due to immense fog that morning. But alls well that ends well since we made friends with a fellow passenger and was later invited to his house for a homemade meal by his mother. It’s one experience we just couldn’t pass up and ended up not only meeting one of the sweetest families during our travels but also having the best Indian food we have ever tasted. Everything after that is held to a much higher bar. I am so grateful for the kindness of perfect strangers and of course, delicious food. 

The India budget below is for 11 nights and 12 days and reflects the price for both my husband and I.india budgetThe Breakdown

Delhi Hotel- Bloomroom, Hotel City Star
Agra Hotel- Hotel Sidhartha
Jaipur Hotel- Girisadan Homestay

Check out our budgets for NepalChinaCambodiaPhilippinesJapan and Thailand

Truss & Ore

I’m so excited today to not only introduce you to one of my good friends but also my new favorite jewelry store, Truss & Ore. I think that we can all agree that if you go to Etsy looking for a new piece of jewelry, you can be overwhelmed with all of the choices. I know that I’ve spent hour upon hour browsing their selections only to come up shorthanded and not seeing anything I really fell in love with. And that’s why I was so excited when Ana emailed me about her new jewelry line, Truss & Ore. Created from gorgeous stones and metal and only producing a few of each, you’re sure to find a piece truly unique that will grab everyone’s attention! (ps, she was even kind enough to give all Lost in Travels readers a nice discount at the end of this post to use in her etsy store!)

truss & ore

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.

I grew up in a family that encouraged art and creativity in many ways, so I’ve always been interested in many different art forms. I settled on photography after high school and started at Columbia College Chicago in the fall of 2006. Going for a Bachelor of Fine Art degree opened up my options for elective classes that I could take and Introduction to Metalworking and Jewelry caught my attention. I took the class my last semester and have been working with jewelry in one way or another ever since.

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When did you first fall in love with the art of jewelry making?

What I really loved right away was the feeling of turning a piece of sheet metal into a three dimensional, textured art piece with my hands and just a few tools. I’m also very interested in the science behind how metals react to heat and other chemicals, I’ve always been a bit of a science geek.

truss & ore

Where did the name of your company come from?

Truss & Ore came together in a long brainstorming session of me and a friend trying to just come up with words that relate to and describe my process. Ore is, of course, about the minerals and native metals that I use in my works. Truss, the support structure often used in bridge construction, relates to my interest in geometry and design elements of tension and balance.

What makes your pieces unique?

My pieces are made either one of a kind or in very small editions. All the metal pieces are hand cut and formed, so even the editioned ones have some slight differences between them. I also use some repurposed materials, giving old elements new life.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Some recent pieces I’ve been working on are very simply inspired by tree bark. I find that I can draw inspiration from nature very easily. I am also interested in geometric elements, grids, and ratios. So two pretty different sources of inspiration, but somehow it works. Haha.

truss & ore

Your pieces are absolutely stunning, what’s your favorite piece that you’ve made?

Thanks so much! I think my favorite piece is still the first necklace I made. It’s a large, organically shaped pendant, somewhat of a statement piece. I’ll probably hold on to that one for a while.

truss & orewebsite // etsy // facebook // instagram

Have you fallen in love yet? I have my eye on one of her gorgeous bracelets for spring. And now if you use the code TOLOVESLIT you can get 15% off any purchase through April 9th! Hurry up and grab a piece for yourself!

Panna Meena ka Kund, Jaipur Stepping Well

I’m going to keep this short and sweet so I can get to the good stuff. Aka pictures. We had some extra time while we were in Jaipur, India and stumbled along the Panna Meena ka Kund, an old step well in close proximity to the Amber Fort. It’s pretty hidden from the road since the top is close to being flush with the road. I loved visiting Panna Meena ka Kund because unlike one of the larger step wells in the area, such as Chand Baori (which I would also highly recommend if you’re in the area), this one is pretty desolate of tourists and is unrestricted; letting you walk all the way to the bottom with no problem. We were also told that in the summer this area is used as a local swimming hole for some kids; although just looking at the water, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re taking the 15 minute trip out to the fort, make sure to also make the stop by Panna Meena ka Kund.

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