Saying hello!

Hello, blogging world! It’s been a while.

A selfie of Pauline at the beach with her laptop
Working from the beach in Valencia

The shift 🌀

I’ve had several failed attempts at sitting down and writing a blog post, mostly because it’s been quite a turbulent past few months in real life. Writing has been an important activity for me to do which I’ve continued to do daily. However, my focus shifted from publicly writing for an audience to private long journal entries.

This shift has bled into other areas of my life as well. A good example of this is I deleted 2.5K followers and went on private on Instagram; a platform I had tried to “grow” an “audience” for years. In the same vein, I purged 35K tweets from my public Twitter account and archived old content that wasn’t a reflection of who I wanted to be moving forward.

Realising that private moments were special because no one else apart from those I was with knows they happened was a big personal growth moment. Not everything has to be blasted on the internet; I’ve found more clarity and peace by being a tiny bit more mysterious (however, I’m still an extremely open book 😂 )

The road 🛣

After experiencing the good life of working remotely for two weeks in Portugal and then an additional four weeks in Gran Canaria, I craved to be anywhere else but the UK. It felt almost like torture forcing myself to stay somewhere that made me feel miserable. Recently hitting 1 year at Gitpod got me reflecting on how working for a fully remote company turned my dream into a reality of being fully flexible with my work and life.

The digital nomad lifestyle was something I’d always been curious about, I was in the position to try it, I tried it and I haven’t looked back since. Even though I still think I’m in the early stages, at least actually on a stage.

A collage of Barcelona and Valencia snaps
Top photo: Valencia | Bottom photo: Barcelona 🇪🇸

So in May, I decided to go on a solo-travelling adventure (to continue this exploration of being a digital nomad.) Initially, I planned only to travel for three weeks in Spain mostly for KubeCon EU and Greece to see my dear friend Georgie during her trip, but that turned into six weeks on the road.

A selfie of Pauline and Georgie in Greece
Georgie and I hanging out in Greece 💙💜

I spent most of that time in Greece, a place I’ve been incredibly fond of for years but this time around felt different because I was attempting to live like a local rather than a tourist in a hotel. Extending my stay was never part of the plan but as I grew fonder of Greek culture and people, I couldn’t leave… Until of course, I actually had to because of the Schengen 90/180 rule.

Although relying on no one but myself has been great character development, it came with its downsides too. For me, it was mostly wanting to share moments like an unreal, beautiful sunset in the middle of the sea with someone.

But hey – that’s what a heavy curated Instagram account is for right? 😂

Sunset in Athens
My first sunset in Athens, Greece 🇬🇷

Honestly, apart from that one point, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in very a long time. The pandemic did a fantastic job of making me forget how good it is outside the four walls I became so accustomed to! I’m already excitedly planning to travel to see more of what the world has to offer.

The return ⛰

Returning back home to another big change was tough as I moved the life I had in Leeds for the past 3 years, back to Sheffield. Adjusting to the changes: being back at home, realising most of my friends had moved away and having 5 minutes of sunshine for a week was slowly chipping away at me.

Vietnamese coffee in a Sheffield café
Rediscovering old favourites at home

This pretty much takes us to today, in London where I’m writing this, currently sick with COVID. 😷 Side note: out of all the places in the world that I’ve travelled to, I kept testing negative but just a few days in London… BAM, COVID. 🦠

My general views on the South have always been that it’s overrated and generally not as good as the North in terms of people and community. Those views totally stand, however, spending a few days here (before I caught COVID) was some of the best times I’ve had in the UK.

Pauline with her friends in London
Big city vibes 🌃

One important learning is that no matter where I am in the world, it’s always the company that truly makes the place a good time. During all of my trips this year, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones verified that – I’m super lucky to have been surrounded by some great people.

The changes ⭐️

Turning 26 in Greece (just hitting my 89 days in the Schengen zone 😬) was hands-down my favourite birthday celebration to date.

For once in my life, I didn’t feel the dread of turning a year older along with the excessive pressure of wondering if I’d done enough in my life yet or the fear of hitting milestones based on societal expectations. Instead, I embraced feelings of gratitude and hope for another year of wisdom and for the very exciting year of 26.

The turbulence is not one that I planned for this year, but tuning the spirals into smiles has already been a positive indicator that I’ve made the right decisions. Additionally, the serious introspection that came with it along with the glimpses of a better life excites me.

Here’s to my main character era 🥂

Pauline in Santorini
Top solo travel trip: make friends with photographers

Thanks for reading 🫶

One response to “Saying hello!”

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you got sick. I hope your doing okay though and you get over it soon. =(

    But sounds like you’ve been having some fun traveling before that at least.

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