4 reasons why I’m restless, and what I plan to do about it.

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Lately, I've been noticing a sense of restlessness that's been creeping its way into my thoughts at inopportune times — like when I'm at work. It's been difficult for me to put my finger on its source, but I think I've finally come up with reasons why I'm so restless. But just explaining why I'm restless won't get me anywhere; it will only make me sound whiny. So, after identifying the sources, I've also come up with ways to combat them.

So why am I so restless?

I’m in limbo.

I’m going to be turning 24 in less than three months. I’m in that stage of my life where I’ve outgrown my college years and mentality, and moved on into what some would call “the real world.” And yet I don’t really feel like an adult yet. There’s still so much that I want to do before I settle down. Which is why…

I have a job, not a career.

I landed a job last fall as a copy editor at a small Ohio newspaper. It’s a great job, and I’m thankful that I was able to find something within the first year of graduating that actually puts my journalism degree to use. I like what I do, and I like the people I work with. But, the longer I work here, the more I realize that this is just a job. I don’t want to make a career out of sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a night, editing the news. Plus, journalism really doesn’t pay very well. Which is why…

I’m poor.

Okay, so I’m not living in a cardboard box or anything. I make enough money to pay my bills every month and perhaps go out to dinner or a movie every now and then. I live comfortably enough for a 23-year-old. But my salary doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for putting money aside into a savings account like I wish it would. Which is why…

I’m not traveling, nor do I have plans to travel soon.

The family

My last adventures have all been family vacations — NYC with my mom last spring, a family reunion in Florida last summer, a family cruise to Alaska last month. I’m extremely thankful that my parents are still willing to foot the bill on these trips for me, and I jump at any chance to hit the road with Mom and Dad. But my next opportunity to travel (seriously travel, like outside of Ohio) probably won’t come until next year at the earliest, since I’ve already used up my vacation days for the year.

.

All of these things added together make me feel extremely restless. Like I’m just wasting away my 20s. I live on my own (which, honestly, I don’t mind), which gives me ample time to think about the fact that I still have no clue what I want to do with my life. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know I’m not alone, though, and that gives me some hope.

I don’t want to simply be complaining about all the things I want to change in my life, however, because people who do that kind of bug me.

So, here’s what I plan to do to try and cure my restlessness:

Read more.

I read news all night at work. A lot of news. So, often by the time I get home, I don’t feel like picking up a book or browsing the many travel blogs I follow. But I figure the only way to really get inspired is to start immersing myself more fully in the world of travel writing and blogging. I’m making it a priority, starting now. I realize this will probably only enhance my sense of wanderlust, but it will also prompt me to…

Work harder on my blog.

In the past few weeks, I’ve really been focused on expanding my blog — adding more new segments and photo-filled posts, inviting other bloggers to contribute, and spending extra time on each day. I may even start looking into purchasing a domain and self-hosting my blog. Which sounds daunting, but I’ve been getting some tips from fellow bloggers. The travel blogging community, I’m discovering, is fantastic. I’m meeting some amazing people who are doing some amazing things around the world, so I want to keep this up. And, since I can’t be out there traveling the world with them right now, I’m going to…

Travel closer to home.

Ohio isn’t exactly a mecca for travelers, but my home state and surrounding areas do offer some interesting things. I’ve already been to this summer (the best amusement park in the world, no matter what you say), and have plans to visit southern Ohio, Sandusky again, and Pittsburgh all within the next month. I may even throw in Chicago if I can manage it. I think it’s possible to explore and learn — to travel — closer to home and still take away lessons that are just as valuable as those you bring back with you from overseas. But, just in case Ohio proves to be less than thrilling, I’m also going to…

Enter some contests.

Yeah, yeah, I know the chances of winning amazing trips and giveaways are slim. But it never hurts to try! Over the past week or so, I’ve stumbled upon quite a few contests that have piqued my interest that I may enter.

And, along with contests, I’m also going to…

Give back.

With my not-quite-ideal work schedule and middle-of-nowhere location, opportunities to seriously volunteer are few and far between. But I want to continue trying. For example, I’m going to be helping out with some little side-note bits for their upcoming Mexico series, which I’m actually really excited about. I love what they do, and am more than happy to devote some time to helping them out. Hopefully I can find some other small side projects like this to work on. And by melding things that I love — travel and writing — with some new endeavors, I plan to…

Go after what I want.

What do I want? Well, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to work at a small newspaper in a small town until retirement. I don’t want to feel like I wasted away my youth working a job that I don’t love. Is that unrealistic? Maybe. I just know that I want to be engaged. I want to be challenged. I want to learn. And, someday, I want to be doing something that incorporates my love of travel. What will that something be? I have no clue. When I find out, I’ll let you know. And then I’ll go after it.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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