Packing my Bags and Going Home
In less than a month, I’ll be leaving Puerto Rico, where I have lived for over 2 years, and returning to my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. It’s not a decision I came to lightly or easily, but I can confidently say that I am excited for this new adventure. I know that my readers appreciate when I am honest and personal, so here we go.
Why am I leaving Puerto Rico?
I’ve written before about my issues with feeling at home in Puerto Rico. After my first year I felt depressed, lonely, and a little bit like I was simply treading water. I decided to spend another year on the island. I wanted to make a better effort to explore Puerto Rico, have more experiences, and make more friends. Over a year later, I can say that I have made incredible friendships and enjoyed my life a little bit more. I saw Culebra Island, came to terms with the insane but sometimes impressive driving skills of Puerto Ricans, and actually enjoyed a 4 day island-wide power outage.
However, I still have a nagging feeling that I’m trying to force myself into a spot where I don’t belong. For every incredible day, I have three bad ones. No matter what I do, Puerto Rico and I cannot seem to work together. I watch as others click with the culture and seem to be fully embraced by everyone and everything that they do while I feel like I’m splashing and sputtering through an ocean, keeping my head above water, but never actually getting anywhere. Puerto Rico may be the isla del encanto (Island of Enchantment) for many people, but it doesn’t seem to be for me.
Puerto Rico doesn’t let me be the person I want to be
I mentioned this in my 1 year reflection in hopes that recognizing how Puerto Rico has changed me would help me alter my course. Unfortunately, I still feel that I am a more frustrated and bitter person while I’m on the island. I don’t want to blame Puerto Rico for all of this. A lot of this is personal. I am not in love with Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico is not in love with me. It’s time for us to part ways.
Why St. Louis?
When I first started traveling, I really never thought I’d go back to live in St. Louis ever again. I have my issues with Midwestern culture and St. Louis’s lack of proper city public transportation, but I’ve come to realize that my hometown is still a work in progress. It has its faults, but it also has a lot of great qualities. The housing is cheap, educational museums are free, and the food is delicious and affordable. It may not be a hub city, but flying out of St. Louis is still easier and cheaper for me than it is to fly out of Puerto Rico.
On a personal note, I have such an incredible support system in St. Louis. My time in Puerto Rico has been lonely and a little stagnant when it comes to professional and personal growth. St. Louis promises some amazing professional opportunities as I already have clients eagerly awaiting my return and ready to increase my responsibilities. Many of my friends have returned to St. Louis as well, and my mother, aka my favorite dog sitter for when I travel, is ready to spoil my long-time pet, Padfoot, as well at the stray I picked up in Puerto Rico, Dobby.
Yeah, my dogs have their own instagram. It allows me to focus on travels on the Indecisive Traveler account. Feel free to follow both accounts, because hey, what’s better than travels AND dogs, am I right?
I will travel more
Looking back on my travels, I actually spent a lot more time in the air and on the road while I lived in St. Louis than I ever did in Puerto Rico. Leaving Puerto Rico will be strange, but I’m incredibly excited to spend more time traveling from a home base that seems better set up for flights.
But what about Trump?
Ugh. When I made the final decision and arrangements for leaving Puerto Rico and returning to the US, I truly believed I’d be coming back under a Hillary Clinton presidency. I won’t lie, I absolutely considered bailing on the United States and trying my luck as an expat in Europe or fleeing back to South America. It’s incredibly tempting, but I want to give my home country a chance, and more importantly, I want to fight.
Yes, I could just pay my taxes and hop around the world with my US passport, but what about those who can’t?
I want to call representatives, attend marches, and vote. It’s rough to live in the Midwest as a non-white liberal, but maybe that’s exactly why I should try. Maybe I can show people that checking your privilege doesn’t mean saying you’re lazy or a bad person, it simply means you’re acknowledging that not everyone is given an equal opportunity from the beginning.
I love traveling and experiencing other cultures and I’ve often said that I would be open to living abroad again sometime in the future, but for now, it’s time to go home.