How Falling in Love Almost Made Me Change My Mind

For the past few weeks I have barely posted anything on my blog or on social media. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to it can be summarized like this: Second Guessing.

I mean, I was doing a lot of other stuff too. Time consuming stuff like celebrating my mom’s birthday in Savannah (posts to come!), going to Six Flags (don’t judge) for a friend’s birthday, hosting my best friend and her husband for a fantastic weekend in NYC, and training as an usher for a new show in my home theater. I’ve been working 60 hour work weeks at minimum.

The second guessing I think has been popping into the the back of my brain for a while, but I’ve pushed it away for the last few months. I’m really good about not thinking about things I don’t want to think about. I’m sure a therapist would have a lot to say about that which is why I don’t go to a therapist.

Unfortunately, my brain can only hide from itself for so long–the second guessing made a pronounced appearance in the front of my brain when I was hunting for the address of a certain dog adoption agency in New York for my boss. During the hunt on the adoption agency’s website, I clicked on the Adopt a Dog page and saw this face:

Seriously, look at that face.

Seriously, look at that face.

My heart sped up. My first thought was…That’s my dog. That should be my dog.

I’ve never experienced love at first sight before, but I was pretty sure this was it.

It’s true I love animals, but I’ve never been over eager to adopt one of my own. After all, I live in an apartment in the City with a roommate and a cat. I would have to turn my world upside down if I got a dog.

I would need a new apartment. I would need to quit my night job so I wouldn’t leave the dog home alone all day. I would need to cancel my trip. But as I looked into Bodhi’s beautiful eyes, I thought, Maybe I can do it. Maybe I can give up everything for this dog. Maybe I don’t need freedom. Maybe I need something to tie me down.

For three straight days I kept a picture of Bodhi my purse. I showed the picture to everyone like this dog was my firstborn child. My aunt, the one who isn’t so excited about my travels, even thought it would be a good idea for me to get a dog so I could understand that “being ordinary is okay.”

And for a second, I almost believed her. Maybe ordinary would be okay for me.

Compared to saving for and going on a year long trip, getting a dog would be easy. I could fall into the kind of calm life I’ve only ever half wanted…but maybe it would be okay. Maybe this time, I would be happy working a normal 9-to-5 then going home and taking Bodhi on a walk, then maybe having a friend over for a glass of wine. Then, at the end of the night, curling up on the couch and watching Netflix. And I wouldn’t have to leave my theater life–my greatest sadness about leaving is that I will have to leave Broadway behind.

This is someone else’s dream that I’ve tried to talk myself into many times. Every time I try to “settle down” into a normalish life, it backfires. I get bored. I think about all of the other things I could be doing with my life–traveling and finishing my book mostly. I get so wrapped up in these thoughts that I eventually sink into depression. It seems like a never ending cycle in my life that I finally intend to break.

On the fourth day of carrying Bodhi’s picture around in my purse, I called the shelter asking about him.

It was too late. Bodhi had been adopted. My decision it seemed had been made for me. I felt mostly relieved, but also a little sad. Bodhi was supposed to be my dog. My life with him flashed before my eyes in an instant.

I went home. I checked my bank account. (I am behind in my savings because I can’t seem to break my wine and Broadway habits.) I looked in my closet, which still is too cluttered and I need at least a full weekend to purge more before I can reasonably pack all of my stuff away and put it in the basement. I gave up on saving money for the day, ordered a roll of sushi and ate it in bed while watching TV.

Over the past week, as I run from my office, to my job as an usher at the theater, then home again, I have gone through the same doubts while still trying to get myself back on the financial track. It’s been only mildly successful and majorly wine filled.

This is where my conclusion paragraph should go. Isn’t that what they teach us in school? You always need an introduction and a conclusion. Except, I don’t have a conclusion right now. I don’t know what this feeling is: perhaps it is only nervous jitters which I think are completely acceptable when you are about to uproot your whole existence. Maybe the doubt is only because the weather in New York is perfect right now and the breeze coming through my window is crisp and full of Fall. Maybe it is because I saw a beautiful piece of theater (Curious Incident in the Dog in the Nighttime) that made me openly weep and revamped my love for Broadway yet again.

The best conclusion I have right now is that, yes, I am still leaving for my trip in the beginning of next year. I’m just going to stop calling it my year-long trip because it puts too much pressure on the whole thing and gives me anxiety. It doesn’t mean I won’t be traveling for a year, but it doesn’t mean that I will. I just find it best for me to take one day at a time for now and not look at any dog adoption websites.

22 thoughts on “How Falling in Love Almost Made Me Change My Mind

  1. Catherine

    Aw, he’s such a cute dog! Don’t know if I’m saddened or relived that you missed your chance to adopt him though – from what you’ve said it does sound like you need to get out there and do some travelling, so I guess it is good that the decision was made for you and you didn’t end up hating that cute little face for tying you down!

  2. Jo

    I was wondering where you’d been! Bodhi is adorable, I can see why you’d be tempted to stick around for him.

    I think it’s a good call to move away from labels like ‘year long trip’. You never know what the future brings! I find that when I overplan and hype things up in my head with fixed durations etc, I feel like im failing if I don’t stick to the plans-even if I’ve had an awesome time with what I have done! Much better to go with the flow and enjoy whatever you do.

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      Usually I have a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attitude. But I’ve been working so much lately to try to save money that I barely have time to do anything. I think I’m just a little discouraged and I start to wonder what I’m doing it all for. Then I go look at guidebooks in the bookstore to remind myself!

  3. Shirley

    I absolutely LOVE your website Kendra! It’s honest and real! Keep up the good work!
    P.S That is the most gorgeous dog I’ve ever seen too!

  4. Becky Padmore

    I adopted a street dog from Athens and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, I do still travel a lot but thankfully my parents look after her when I’m away on trips 🙂

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      That’s amazing! I don’t think anyone in NYC would be thrilled with me making them watch my dog. It’s great that you have your parents to do that…and I’m so jealous you have a dog! What kind of dog do you have?

  5. Heather @ TravelingSaurus

    Oh, I totally know what a dog can do to your heart. I have one, and part of the reason we don’t like to spend more than 2 weeks away is because of her…

    But…you can always get a dog later, when you return from your trip 🙂 Or whenever you think the time is right.

    I know it’s easy to say and hard to do, but try to go with the flow, your gut, and stop overthinking each decision (I’m an overthinker too…I need to take my own advice); be happy, do what you want, whether that’s traveling for a month, a year, or a lifetime.

  6. Marie @ Marie Away

    I completely get where you are coming from, it’s hard to live in a temporary state sometimes. I have been living in one place for 7 months now in an effort to save some money, but sometimes I get the urge to buy something for my home, get a cat or a dog (also love animals and am not used to living without one), or do something in an effort to feel more comforted in the situation. Then I realize that being tied down to one place would make me unhappy in the long run, and even if I had a nice solid home life, I wouldn’t be able to commit to it at this point in my life. I would just get bored.

    It’s sweet that you had such an immediate connection to Bodhi (and I can also related to the family pressure to stay still). Sometime in the future, when you are ready for it, I’m sure it will happen again. Travel while you enjoy it, and when you are ready to come home, you’ll feel it.

  7. Katie

    Seems like the universe decided for you (so stop looking at doggy adoption sites, haha). We have a dog, and I love her. Really, I do. But there is now way less of a chance we go on a RTW any time soon, or move to Vietnam to teach english for a year, etc. We have a great support system that watches her when we travel, but it definitely changes your life for a LONG time. No more late nights out, or meeting friends right after work for drinks, etc. There are plenty of positives, but having an animal is definitely limiting in some ways too. Keep chugging away, can’t wait to see where your adventures take you! 😀

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      Thank you, Katie. I know I don’t have time in my life for a dog. I work almost 80 hours a week and I like to go out for drink and such very often! I just saw that face and thought I might just uproot my life (I even thought about moving back to North Carolina where I would have a more steady living situation) for Bodhi. Of course, it wasn’t meant to be and I’m glad! Not long now until my grand adventure!

  8. Kim Dayman

    Oh Kendra I’ve been in the same headspace myself the last few weeks. Not with a trip as open ended as yours but my need to constantly shift and take on new “projects” whether it be dogs or jobs is an issues I’ve always struggled with. My job now is letting me take a leave of absense to travel, yet I’ve been applying and interviewing for new jobs somehow in denial that taking on a new job AND travelling isn’t doable.

    It felt a little like I was trapped in my own decisions but when I took a step back I realized just as you did I didn’t necessarily want to be saddled with new responsibilities and, at least for me, one of my purposes for travelling is to get away from work. So in a sense taking a new job and cancelling my trip is the exact opposite of the goals I was trying to achieve. It’s a form of self-sabbotage in a way and I always find taking a step back and letting the universe intervene, like with Bodhi getting adopted, can sometimes be the best thing!

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      Applying for jobs! Yes! I’ve been doing that too. And suddenly I’m making all of these connections in the field that I wanted to be in when I first moved to NYC. I feel like the universe is trying to sabotage me! I think stepping away from work, especially when it’s a job you hate, is so important. I’m in a job I definitely do not love and that is part of the motivation for me to travel!

  9. Karyn @ Not Done Travelling

    As beautiful as Bodhi is, I think it was best not to adopt him. It would have completely changed your life’s plans and that’s a lot of pressure to put on anybody (human or animal). Having a companion animal is a lifelong commitment and I think you would have felt really guilty if you’d had to leave him.

    When the time is right a furchild will come into your life. 🙂

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      Furchild! Ha! I love that. I don’t think I’m ready for any type of child yet. I’m ready for a little adventure! Also, I’m sad you are not coming to New York anymore! Another time!

  10. Rebekah

    I totally relate to this. I definitely want to own a dog, as well as have a garden, and a million other things that being in one place would allow me. I agree though, settling for things that will make you happy now aren’t good if they won’t make you happy long term.

    that’s such a cute dog though

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      I know, right?! That face is too much! But you’re right. I have to look at being content with my life for the long haul and I think I would have resented Bodhi for tying me down.

  11. Charlie

    Aww, what a gorgeous dog! I can totally understand the second-guessing if the alternative is seeing that cute face everyday. And I can relate to the doubts pre-trip. The nervous jitters, I’ve had loads of moments where I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing. But if you decided not to go on your trip you’ll always be wondering “what if?” it’s so much better to go and see and you can always go home and adopt a dog after 🙂 love the blog by the way!

  12. Paper Boat Sailor

    Bodhi would’ve been a gem of a BFF, but I think you ultimately made a responsible decision. I live with three cats, and while they are low-maintenance and can look after themselves when I’m out on trips, I constantly think and worry about them. Luckily I have amazing friends who look after them when I’m away, but I know with a dog it would’ve been a different story. Dogs get far too attached to their keepers and feel heartbroken every time you leave.
    Still, I’m sure you’ll meet the most amazing animals while you’re on the road! Every time I go trekking (be it Wales or Nepal) I come across dogs that join me on my day-long walks and send me back with wonderful memories. 🙂

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