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BURNOUTS AND NEW BEGINNINGS – Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

Skyscanner – everywhere.

It wasn’t just the start of a new trip. Not just another destination to tick off my constantly changing bucketlist. It was much more than 4 days of rushing to get it all in and get back home in time for daily habits waiting for me on the next Monday morning. This time, it was the beginning of a brand new adventure. A way to mark the end of an old one. To say goodbye to that old version of me… and embrace a new one.

Rediscovering myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

As the train from La Spezia approaches, Cinque Terre hides itself well behind the thick walls of the tunnel trough the rocks. It’ll surprise you a couple of times and offer you a tiny glimpse, almost too short for your eyes to get used to the sudden light and for your brain to fully realize what your eyes just saw. Too brief to take in its screaming beauty. But you hear it, and it’s enough to know it’s there. Would you look forward to it as much if it just threw itself at you from the start?
Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

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“I think it’s time you slowed things down for a while. Take time for yourself and think about what you really want. Getting over a burnout is something that takes time, so you have got to stop rushing…”

Fast rewind to that Monday morning at my doctor’s office, a few weeks before. I sat there, numbed for a couple of seconds. She’d slipped the word in her sentence almost as if it was trivial. A burnout… Me?!? Up until that moment I didn’t even believe it was a real thing. I almost thought it was some kind of invention of people who were tired of their lives but too lazy or afraid to make things change and psychologists trying to find a new way to make money.

It was definitely not something that could happen to me. I was stronger than that, I’d always known what I wanted and even though priorities had changed over time, I’d never been afraid of change. To forget about my habits, step out of my comfort zone and start something new. It had never taken me long to make decisions, even big ones, and I’d never let myself regret anything in hindsight. If it felt like the right choice, than it had to BE the right choice… No need to regret it afterwards.

But thinking about it I knew she was right. And even though I didn’t want to hear it, I knew it had to be said. The word had to be pronounced. And I needed it to hit me like a bomb. It was the only way. I knew it was time for a break. That this time, I didn’t quite know it all that well anymore. I knew things had to change. But admitting it to myself was something else.

This time, I didn’t quite know how to make those decisions without being afraid of having regrets.

Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

At first I slept. It was all I could do. And once I felt more or less human again after those 3 months of hardly sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night, there was only one thing I could think about: getting out of here… I needed to get away from it all, be by myself, change my mind and just go somewhere… anywhere… everywhere…

Running away? Maybe… Probably… But so what?!? It felt like the right choice, and what was the worse that could happen?

Rediscovering myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

The game of hide and seek continues and the tension rises for about 20 minutes. When you finally get out of the train, the need to go ‘everywhere’ dissapears in an instant. You’re here, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

It’s the start of the tourist season and during the daytime there’s some crowds – can you blame them? – but once the sun starts to set, terraces fill up, bruschetta’s and pizza’s are eaten and a lot of spritz is drank, you’ll finally get the place all to yourself and the chance to go searching what you came for: yourself.

Maybe you’ll find it sitting behind the church in Vernazza with a bottle of wine, watching the sun dissapear behind the rocks, taking with it the bright colors of the houses and all the movement that still seemed to define the place just minutes before. Maybe on that bench overlooking the town in Manarolla, eating take-out pizza with Julia, talking about life and trying to eplain why anyone in their right mind would go on a trip all by themselves.

Maybe climbing those 356 steps that lead to Corniglia from the train station or walking 3 hours from Corniglia to Vernazza, even though the guy at the entrance of the trial told you it would only take one. Maybe you’ll find it getting up at crazy ass o’clock to watch the sunrise, when the smell of fresh bread being baked fills up the streets and the construction workers that seem to be the only other people around are still too tired to shout ‘ciao bella’.

Or maybe you won’t find it just yet…

Maybe the hope of finding yourself somewhere just like that is a bit too much pressure to put on a place and maybe – probably – it’s too much to ask. But I believe places can change us, so it was worth giving it a try. And it’s OK. Because I’ve definitely said goodbye to that old me, and I know it’s a good start.

Let’s raise our glass of spritz to new beginnings…

Somewhere… anywhere… EVERYWHERE…

Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

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READ MORE

In photos – A practical guide to Cinque Terre

A day trip from Cinque Terre – Tellaro and Portovenere


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Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

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Searching myself in Cinque Terre, Italy

Leave a Comment

  • Stephanie Langlet 4th May 2016, 12:55 pm

    Right, things have to be said. It’s important to name what happen. I would have loved my previous doctor to name it from the start. Everybody knew I had a burn-out. My boyfriend thought I knew about it. It was so obvious to everyone, except to me. Just like you, I only realized it when my new doctor named it. In France, doctors generally don’t want to name it, as the government still doesn’t want to recognize it thought the suicides and growing numbers of sick people. They don’t want to say it’s a professional disease. But when you’re in, you exactly now it’s all about work. Unfortunately, people at work continue to do as if you had some personal problems: “no, it can’t be only about her job. Work is not so important”. “Do like me, don’t care about your work”. Easy to say for people who care about nothing, right? And you also have to struggle with the ones who look down on you “why don’t you work? It’s time to return there!” and judge “she has a normal life, she’s happy, active, smiley, etc. It’s a comedy”.
    Continue to smile and live as you want, Lisbeth. The most important things are your health and to recover, even if it’s easier to say than do. And run away from these negative people. Don’t feel guilty to love your life when you’re far from work.

    Reply
  • Naomi 4th May 2016, 1:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing that. I have been traveling during a burn out too. Not the wisest thing I’ve done but who cares. I hope you can find some rest and figure out your stuff. I’m happy it didn’t stop you from traveling. I enjoyed you cinque terra posts this far. Hugs

    Reply
  • Stella @ Travelerette 4th May 2016, 3:02 pm

    Those photos are so stunning! What a perfect place to find yourself and recover from getting burned out! I feel burned out every time summer vacation rolls around, but I do find that traveling and having adventures is always the cure for whatever ails me!

    Reply
  • Rosi C. 4th May 2016, 5:10 pm

    Wow. Well I hope you enjoyed trip.and relaxed. Great pic 🙂

    Reply
  • Valter 4th May 2016, 10:50 pm

    I loved reading this! I really enjoyed how it wasn’t just ‘things to do’…I was walking with you in the Cinque Terre…and do not get me started on the photos! Really REALLY amazing captures! I look forward to reading the next installment and I am now subscriber 😉

    Reply
  • Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs 5th May 2016, 1:52 am

    Get better! Had a burn-out too a few years back – too many work hours, too little sleep, working 3 different time zones… Had to take a long break, body was crushed down. The great outdoors were my resourcing place – literally feeling I was breathing again… Whatever works, do it, health is so important!

    Reply
  • Marita 5th May 2016, 4:17 am

    Loving you photos! And the more I read the more I want to see Italy 🙂

    Reply
  • Nikki Godwin 5th May 2016, 1:54 pm

    Very much enjoyed this post – felt like it was written from the heart and something I can certainly relate to. In a world that is constantly rushing is it any wonder we burnout? I think it’s so important that we take time to slow down and it’s good to hear that you are taking this time to put your health and wellbeing first.

    Reply
  • Nikita 5th May 2016, 2:34 pm

    Anyone can burn out, and it sucks because it’s so hard to explain that you just CAN’T anymore! Good luck with the new beginnings… I think Italy is a great place for that! 🙂

    Reply
  • Jamie Italiane 5th May 2016, 9:39 pm

    This is a place that has long been on my bucket list. Great pictures and I hope you are feeling better!

    Reply
  • Katie Featherstone 6th May 2016, 1:06 pm

    I wish the new you all the best of luck and happiness.

    Reply
  • Maria 4th July 2016, 3:28 pm

    Its good you opted to have a adventure and a break, I can see your a strong person but even then you need to take time for yourself to be yourself, travelling is always awesome way to find your soul. I think it quitens and refreshs it(: … sometimes just do things slowly so you relax as well, rushing is just hectic and ruins you. Wish you well.

    Reply
  • Di Hill 8th July 2016, 10:22 pm

    Stunning photos. Lucky you for being able to visit this awesome place.

    Reply
  • Hannah T. 1st August 2016, 6:52 pm

    Great, honest article, thanks for sharing. I wish you the best with the rest of your journey.

    Nice pictures!

    Reply
  • Emily 22nd October 2016, 8:07 am

    Cheers to new beginnings and – Cinque Terra of all places? I’d say you’re moving on up!! Your photos are stunning though I don’t think any photos can do this magical place justice. 🙂

    Reply