What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Life

What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Life


What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Life

Coming home after Europe felt great. I was more than excited to see Scott again and sleep in my own bed. But something happened when I got home. I started to feel agitated and unsettled — like something was off within myself, but I just couldn’t figure out what.

In a previous post, I mentioned how solo trips are always life changing for me — and this trip was no exception.

I proved to myself (again) that I’m very capable of doing things on my own, even when things get tough. That’s all well and good when it comes to traveling, but how do I incorporate this new self confidence into my daily life?

The other day, I finally admitted to myself that ever since my stingray incident, I’m constantly finding excuses and reasons why I don’t need to go surfing. Even when I motivate myself to actually get in the water, I just don’t feel confident anymore. I think back and marvel at the days when I was fearless in the water — which wasn’t even that long ago. I was always the motivator for friends who felt uneasy about weird ocean creatures, undertows or big, scary waves.

Now that I need to be my own motivator, I am realizing it’s not that easy.

It’s not just surfing. I feel stuck in other aspects of my life. I’m putting off things that I used to love doing — like editing photos from my trip — because I’m finding reasons why I’m not good enough.

I know this recent trip changed me and I guess I just wanted to be this new person as soon as I got home — but all of the confidence I gained while I was traveling, seemed to disappear once I got back. So today — after a week of not knowing which way is up — I began thinking of this time as a transition period and a necessary step to prepare myself for a big change.

You have to endure the dark before you can see the light.

If I hadn’t forced myself to notice these things I’ve been ignoring, then I would probably stay stuck in these patterns and eventually feel extremely unhappy.

I’m ready for a change.

I’m still not exactly clear on what has been missing from my life, but I do know that I want to take steps to find out what will make me happy.

I thought travel blogging would make me happy, but after three years of it consuming my life, I’ve noticed it becoming a chore. I know I don’t want to give it up completely, but it’s time to rethink how much of my time I want to give to it. Sometimes it feels like I’m on a hamster wheel, just barely making enough money to support this lifestyle.

I love my freedom, but I can have this freedom with freelance bookkeeping jobs and make more money than I do blogging — while taking trips for me instead of feeling obligated to write or post updates.

I’m not giving up on the blog, by any means, but I want to enjoy travel again. I want to focus more on photography and possibly even start branching out from architectural to portrait photography. Before I left for Europe, I was working hard towards building a new photography website with a store to purchase prints and other items. After I got home, I lost the desire to finish the site.

Last night, I received an email from someone asking to purchase two prints from our photography page. This email couldn’t have come at a better time. Sometimes the universe provides exactly what you need.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I felt compelled to write this post because I know I’m not the only person who has ever felt stuck.

Maybe if you are feeling stuck right now, it will give you a little comfort to know that you are not alone.

Try to use this time to figure out what you want and start taking steps to make that happen. I’m not saying I have all of the answers, but realizing this transition period is necessary has made me excited for the future again — instead of feeling uninspired about the things that once made me happy.

So what is my new mantra for the next few months? Take photos, surf, enjoy life and…. repeat!

How do you approach periods in your life where you feel stuck or when you’re just not sure what you want? Tell us in the comments.

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  1. EmilyFagan says:

    Very interesting post. It seems a lot of travelers and bloggers end up exhausted by the whole process. I recently read a very similar and heartfelt post on yTravelBlog. My hubby and I also reached a milestone — after sailing the Mexican coast for 3.5 years we’ve decided not to cruise any more. We had lived in an RV full-time for 2.5 years before that and we are going to return to that lifestyle. It took me 2 months to find the words to share our changes with our readers — I felt very responsible to them…

    in the end, I did find the words, but it was very emotional few days. I had no idea how much I had taken my small audience of readers to heart in my life… it is an interesting responsibility to try to live your dream and tell the world about it at the same time, all in hopes of inspiring them and bringing a ray of light into their lives…

  2. I can definitely relate. I never thought I could tire of traveling, but after doing a ton of traveling last year, I got burned out. This year, I’m still traveling, but not as much and when I am, I’m enjoying it more. It’s also less pressure to post, meaning that I can focus on the social media company that I’m launching, which will hopefully earn more money than travel blogging does. Very honest and refreshing post. Keep us updated as what you decide to do.

  3. Cam Wears says:

    We can totally relate. It feels like we go through these emotions every week! Traveling can be the worst thing for our travel blog, and our travel blog is sometimes the worst thing for our travels. It can be hard to separate the two. I can’t tell you how tough it is to open the laptop some nights… especially with a 1.5 year old that doesn’t stop!

  4. I can definitely relate! I think we all hit times like this at some point, and you’re doing the right thing by recognizing it and trying to work though it. I didn’t realize you’ve been avoiding surfing, but I hope you find the courage to get back out there. As for the blog, keep in mind how few people make a true living from travel blogging. I love having mine and think of it as maybe a step above a hobby, but I can’t see letting it take over. I want it to continue being something I enjoy and helping people travel with my blog. The photography sounds like a great thing for you. You’ll figure things out and get un-stuck!

  5. Totally get that sense of stuck. I saw a quote on twitter yesterday about the difference between motion and progress. Motion is the hamster wheel while making no progress. We are transitioning our lives into a freelance based life too. The money from that to fund travel and relaxation. I am finding that transition more difficult that I expected. The change from office life to longer term travel (2 months at this trip) is taking me some time to get used to. Especially figuring out where the blogs fit into things. As you say, it can be all consuming and yet enjoyable. The balance must be struck.
    It is nice not to have to rely on the blogs for a source of life income. Though I still dont think I could travel without a camera or posts going through my head. At least without the reliance on it, I can write what I want and find interesting, not just what will get the most views or shares. It is a bit freeing in that respect.

    I hope you figure out your stuck. I hope I figure out my stuck too. I am trying to branch into novel writing as my creative outlet. My anti-monotony device as it were.

  6. Catherine Sweeney says:

    Great new mantra — good for you! I know all about that “hamster wheel” thing and about feeling stuck. You’re
    right, sometimes it’s does make you feel better to know you’re not
    alone. You’ve given me some motivation for making some changes, too.

  7. hikebiketravel says:

    Just left a long comment that got lost but do want you do know you’re not alone, change is hard but good and it can take a while to find your grove again. Good luck!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you, Leigh!

  8. Thank you so much for writing this. I too have felt those rumblings of unrest and knowing it’s time to change something. Bit by bit I’m figuring it out, but it’s definitely baby steps. I’m so glad we have the freedom to change things up, to pursue a dream for a while and then change to another dream when the time is right. Wishing you clarity and happiness in whatever you pursue. 🙂

  9. Sherry Viray says:

    If you love photography, as I know you do, portrait photography is the most profitable, I think, but it’s also the most difficult because of the human factor. Take time to enjoy your life, is a great advice. I too, kinda took a break from blogging in 2012 as a result of personal tragedy. Your followers, the ones devoted to you will still be there, I’ve found. Though, it’s a long uphill climb to get back to where I was before my break. But if you keep blogging fun and not a chore, I’m sure you’ll love it again.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I don’t plan on taking a break, but I’m limiting the amount of time I spend on it, which has been really good for me. I’m glad to see you are back at it and I’ll always follow your blog no matter how long of a break you take. 🙂

  10. Jenna Francisco says:

    So true. I have been asking myself if I could go somewhere without my camera, without documenting it. I haven’t been able to travel much lately, so I feel like I want to document every little trip I will take this summer. Travel blogging does take some of the fun out of travel, but it opens opportunities, too. Enjoy yourself, take some time for yourself, and remember that the blog and your audience will always be there. Btw, I think transitioning to portrait photography is an excellent idea for you!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thanks, Jenna. I think just learning a new type of photography will be a good move for me. I’ve always wanted to get more into surf photography and I have PLENTY of willing subjects. lol. I agree, travel blogging has opened some doors for me and I still enjoy it, but I want to make sure it doesn’t become too much of a chore and I don’t want to get too wrapped up in it. I’m looking forward to reading about your summer travels!

  11. thetravelchica says:

    I have had to check myself a few times about making travel and blogging a chore. I want to focus more on photography too, and I actually start an evening class this week. So excited!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      That’s great! I’ve signed up for one in the fall and will probably do a few workshops over the summer. I miss photo class. It always pushes me to try new things.

  12. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    What a timely article. I am actually on the same boat. I love traveling and blogging about it, but I’m at the point wherein I want to pursue other things. I can’t help but feel guilty whenever I don’t produce a good post on my blog for a week. It drives me crazy secretly, but I am still thankful that I get to practice this lifestyle now.

    I just got home from a short staycation a few days ago and was full fo enthusiasm when I arrived home. I wasn’t able to produce a good output though and I can’t figure out why. It is relieving to hear that I am not alone.