4,717 Miles From Home…And Unfortunately I’m Still Me

For the past 24 hours I’ve seriously been considering leaving Remote Year. I know, I know, I just got here. No, I’m not homesick. No, something bad didn’t happen. No, it’s not the travel (I’d just travel on my own actually). It’s me. As in…I’m still me. Unfortunately.

I wasn’t naive enough to think that there would be a magic wand in Spain to turn me into an improved version as soon as I stepped off the plane…but last night while chatting with all the new people in my life I realized that everything I was insecure about in Memphis is magnified here tenfold.

It all started when the loveliest, sweetest man called me voluptuous and I freaked out. He meant it as a compliment but in my head I heard fat. That’s my insecurity. And I need to take ownership of it. If I want to change how I look, I actually need to do something about it.

And that goes for everything in my life. I rolled my eyes when people repeatedly asked what I was searching for with this trip or inquired what I was running away from…and it dawned on me last night that this entire time I’ve been running away from me.

There is an Elizabeth Gilbert quote I love that says, “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”

Well, I’m finally tired of my own bullshit and it is time to do something about it. I have always been accountable when it comes to work or friends…but never for myself. This has left me desperately needing some TLC and feeling like a shadow of a person.

That cliche that you have to do something you’ve never done in order to get something you’ve never had is true and applicable so I’ve come up with a few goals to hold me accountable for the year.

1. Finish my book and give it to Waheed

My dear friend is an extremely talented writer, director, and producer. He’s also been asking me to give him my finished book for over a year. It’s coming to you by the end of 2016.

2. Send photos to Alex in every city for her fashion blog

Alex is one of my favorite people on earth and my biggest girl crush. I want to be her when I grow up…even though I’m older. I’ve flaked in the past mostly because I didn’t feel worthy of collaborating on her blog. Which brings me to…

3. Follow through on all promises

Most people would agree that I do what I say…except when it would somehow benefit me. I feel unworthy and shy but that has to stop.

4. Finish my master’s in journalism

Still working on that thesis four years later…

5. Lose 2 dress sizes

I don’t want to hate candid photos of me anymore, refuse to be in a swimsuit without a sarong to cover my thighs or delete photos of me off my friends’ phones. I’m tired of popping my arm out to look leaner…I want to be lean. I guess that means exercising and not eating whatever I want…bummer.

6. Podcast

I need to see this vision and passion project through. No excuses.

7. Fluent in Spanish

I’m already in classes and love it. But I pledge to study every day for at least 30 minutes.

8. Be comfortable by myself, accept that I may never find “The One,” and stop dating/crushing on complete jackasses

The hardest without question. I so identify with Before Sunrise when Julie Delpy says, “I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and without making it look my whole life is revolving around some guy. But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”

I honestly don’t know how I’m 31 and still single but this trip was to make me happy and finally do something for me so I’m going to focus on that. So often I pick the guy who makes me feel like crap about myself or minimizes my feelings…oh wait, maybe that’s why I’m still single…

9. Mark as many things off my bucket list as possible


So you’re probably asking why would I leave a program with 70 amazing, talented, interesting people? Well, it’s a bit difficult to focus on a self-improvement journey when you’re constantly comparing yourself to said amazing, talented, and interesting people.

But I did just pledge to follow through on my promises so…I guess I’m staying.

Photographs: Valencia, Spain ©Joelle Pittman



19 thoughts on “4,717 Miles From Home…And Unfortunately I’m Still Me

  1. So I think you’re awesome…which I know has nothing to do with how you feel about yourself, but still, when you get down, know that so many people think that! Also, I absolutely know what you mean about not being able to believe that you’re 31 and still single. I’ve been there. And here are the only sage words of wisdom I have: you’ve already found the one. You. You’re not a half a person, so you don’t need another half. Once I accepted that truth I became a lot happier, and about a week later I went on a date with the person who is more amazing than I could have ever dreamed or expected for myself.

    Also, sage wisdom aside (from someone who is what, like 10 days older than you?) I’m super jealous – I know you’re having fun – but also empathetic. When I was in London, my dream city, I was so miserable and homesick and unhappy, so I know what it feels like to have everyone say “you’re so lucky/you’re having so much fun/you’ve got such a great opportunity” and feel like garbage on the inside. It’s okay to feel like that. But also know that I’m still super jealous! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nicely put. I’ve always said “you only get what you want”. Surprisingly simple,yet the problem is most people don’t know what they want. Safe travels 🙂 Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing, Joelle.

    Understandably, the 70 other folks there (I only know one cool cat who’s with your group now) aren’t expected to be your BFFs, but have you been able to converse/draw insight from the individuals there? Once you ‘skim the surface’ of the talent and success of your cohort, you’ll likely see the raw inspiration and insecurities that fueled (and continues to mold) their success. If you don’t, I’d question how amazing and successful these folks really are.

    I think it’ll be beneficial if you re-frame the way you see yourself. You aren’t running away — you’re finding yourself through another life experience by traveling and working abroad. Consider it another opportunity for you to embrace yourself. Life is all about your interactions and how you impact others as these are the life lessons that help shape your own views.

    Last word, you’ve created your list of goals to accomplish, but please do not let them define nor limit you. Your podcast can wait a few days if you just want to take a winery tour, go on a hike, etc.. Also, #8 stuck out for me. Be confident, love yourself, and focus on your needs/wants before anyone elses. The jackasses out there don’t have time for these types of people because they can’t/won’t get what they want from the relationship. Your future significant other should only serve to support and love you because you can handle everything else on your own. Who knows, maybe you’ll find him through your remote year experience..

    Best wishes for upcoming year!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I completely understand all of this, and how you can do so much and be so involved but also spend so little time on the “self”. I have that problem, the one where I put it all out for others but don’t reserve enough for myself. I am still working on this so I hope to read more in your blogs about how you learn to reserve enough for yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are amazing, Joelle. You have taken a huge, brave leap into an adventure of a lifetime. If I can come up with some “advice” for someone who I don’t think needs it.. Someone whom I’ve always loved for being so confident in my eyes, powerful, beautiful.. (This is you I’m describing,) it’s to think of this as not running away from yourself, but running towards finding your best self. 🙂 I’m so proud of you.. This time for you is truly a gift. I know it’s easier said, from my couch, than done.. But I know you will have an amazing time and come out wiser, inspired, proud of yourself, and obviously more worldly 🙂 XOXO

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love this and you! You are perfect! I didn’t know you wanted to be me when you grew up….I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE YOU!!!!! How can we be each other? Twins lol 😉 xoxo Can’t wait to collaborate with you and read all of your fabulous books that you will write….but until then your fabulous blog posts! They are always so interesting. You truly have a gift my dear! LOVE YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Everything else might be achievable but 5 looks kinda impossible with so many wonderful destinations ahead of you with some much yummy on offer! Best of luck none the less.

    And I am sure you are doing to have a blast through this trip no matter what.

    Liked by 2 people

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