Torn Between Two Worlds

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Loreto, Mexico

Spending time on the West Coast of Mexico has been amazing but also troubling.

The past few months in Toronto have been amazing but being in Mexico, especially on the dry cactus laden landscape I wonder if Toronto is right for me.


I am in limbo.


In just a week I feel like I’ve shed layers of worry and stress. I feel younger here. I have less need for things. I’m not thinking about online dating or stressing that my biological clock hasn’t started ticking and I’m running out of time.

Here I can be in the moment.

It’s weird but I feel a sense of comfort with Spanish being spoken around me, heading to cantinas for lunch. I like being a terrible salsa dancer or people being surprised and how good and horrible my Spanish is.

I didn’t realize how strongly I felt until I was away from it long enough to miss it.

But as much as I love it I feel drawn to home. There is a stability, familiarity and sense of routine that I really love. I have reconnected with my closest friends and made new ones.

I don’t know where I belong anymore. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know the right answer.

When I told a friend I started traveling because I was looking for something more he asked me what specifically I was looking for

Honestly I have no idea.



Join the Conversation

  1. Fortunately, NAFTA makes it easy to live in Mexico if you want…

    Just sayin.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Easy to visit, not so sure if it’s easy to live.

      1. fulfill the Mexican criteria for living there ($1000/month in income) and you can stay as long as you want. Not much more effort and you can become dual Mexican/CDN citizen.

        I’ve considered it, now that I’m dual CDN/US!

  2. I feel exactly the same way! Although for me I am torn between Mexico, NYC and Australia.

    I am still figuring out where I want to live. I know I will have to eventually choose somewhere, but right now I am looking for a way to kind of live everywhere ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mexico has many charms- especially the pace of life, the language and the food. It can be tough to stay away ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Lauren, Ephemerratic says:

    I’ve noticed that as soon as I do the veryvery last thing to really settle into a new home โ€” usually something like hang the last painting or find the perfect plant for next to the couch or finish the last repair project โ€” is just when you realize it’s about time to move.

    Figuring out what you want out of life seems the same to me.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Perhaps that is why I haven’t settled into a place and I keep subletting. The commitment is frightening.

  4. I feel the same comfort when I am there, is like visiting grandma ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes it’s a sense of comfort or familiarity.

  5. Kevin (husband) and I were just having a similar conversation about feeling like we have split personalities. One side wants to go home to San Francisco and resume the lives we left, the other is terrified of giving up all the travel and excitement of our expat lives. It’s tough feeling pulled in two different directions, but I’m hopeful (for all of us) that someday we’ll wake up and discover that we are exactly where we need to be. In the meantime, take comfort that you aren’t alone with your confusion!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It would be tough to have the indecision when you are with another person, is it more stressful or more of a relief?

      1. The answer to that is complicated. It’s nice to have someone who knows exactly how I’m feeling, but sometimes I wish one of us would just go ahead and make the decision. We’re both always worried about making a choice that would be wrong for one of us and not the other. Ultimately, I think we’ll end up moving (or not moving) based on careers and finances (as shallow as that sounds). For me, it’s tough accepting the fact that we have to go with the flow for now and see where life takes us, but I’m learning to live with that “unsettled” feeling.

  6. I think just giving yourself time to rediscover your new direction is a good start. Enjoy both directions until one feels like your fit.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s a really nice way to think about it Lisa.

  7. I sometimes think my ideal lifestyle would be three months at home, two months traveling and six months in my second home of Vietnam.

    Could you divide your year up in some way so you get your home fix, your travel fix and your “feels like home” fix?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well that’s ideally what I hope to do, a mixture of travel with a base in Toronto. That may help satisfy the need to have a foot in each world.

  8. Leaving Toronto was the best decision! The only regret I have is not doing it earlier ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt trapped, stressed, getting from a to b was a daily hassle and people seemed to focus on money and career only but not their community, – something I didn’t want to be part of anymore.You are already thinking about it…just try it, you can always go back ๐Ÿ™‚
    Miss your smile

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I didn’t realize you moved out of the city, but you’re in such a lovely area now.

  9. Chrystal McKay says:

    The more I spent time in Toronto, as lovely as it is, the more I kind of want to escape. I’m certainly not ready to slow down yet.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a delicate balance. I love this city but I do need to get out of it from time to time.

  10. After reading the other comments, I’d made me think of an evolutionary explication: didn’t mankind used to stay put in the winter and travel in the summer?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Good point. Although I’d prefer to do the opposite, it’s a cold winter in Canada!

  11. Ava Apollo says:

    Well I hope we never do have to know what we’re looking for. LIfe is about the questions, isn’t it? I guess if I had all the answers, I’d stop looking.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      True, if anything I’m fortunate that I’m still looking, much better than being stuck somewhere and miserable.

  12. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    OMG do it!!!!!!! How exciting!

  13. I am in the same boat. My plan is to just go with how I feel. It’s cheesy, but I’m going to let the universe guide me.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t think it’s cheesy at all. I believe things work out the way they should, you just have to look for the signs.

  14. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I think if you’ve found a place that makes you happy…go for it. The beauty about being human beings is we can change. If you end up not liking it, you can always go home. Home will not go anywhere.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That is a lesson I have learned time after time.

  15. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    I don’t think we ever really know what we’re looking for or can even nail it down once we feel like we have found it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      True, I’m not sure if you can really articulate what it feels like when something feels right.

  16. Rease and I were just talking yesterday about how the three of us should go traveling in Mexico. I asked her if you were over Mexico since you had just been there for a while. I guess I have my answer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I hope you find what you are looking for. I LOVE Mexico too. It’s the only other place I have found that I would want to live besides San Diego.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t know how anyone could be over Mexico, it’s so big and there is so much to see.

  17. I can totally relate! After a 15 month career break in 2009/2010 I returned home with mixed feelings. It was great to see friends again and to enjoy some Western comforts. But I had a nagging feeling I belonged somewhere else. More than two years later the feeling has only grown stronger and I am planning another extended break next year. Follow your heart and remember we are lucky to live in an age where we have the freedom to travel and no decision is final. Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I do feel like the right thing to do is stay in Toronto, at least for the time being. But I do love how alive I feel in Latin America.

  18. Ah, the joy and confusion of existential migration. The neat thing is how you follow your heart. I really admire you for that, and it’s so comforting to know that someone else out there around the same age and similar life circumstances feels the same way. Sending light your way!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks so much, I guess sometimes you have to think less and follow your heart.

  19. I’m starting to feel torn myself – I love my life in Italy but I recognize that certain aspects of it aren’t working and I’m not doing myself any favors by stubbornly clinging to it. But what to do when you feel like you don’t belong anywhere anymore? Each time I head back to New York, I feel like I don’t fit in anymore.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you’re like me, I find the structure of Canada/US both appealing and restricting. I guess you just can’t win.

  20. I know exactly how you feel! My home is Colorado… when I’m there I always think of how much I want to travel and see new things, and when I’m gone for a long time (we spent a year and a half in Albuquerque and now we’ve been in Alaska for 5 months) I always think of Colorado and how much I miss it! I think it’s good though to think about stuff like this, it helps you stay in the moment and realized why you’re doing what you’re doing. Good luck!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Agreed I think it’s easy to wish you were somewhere else but you can’t live life that way.

  21. I sure understand that feeling, Ayngelina. I’ve been in Australia for almost 9 months now, and as much as I love it, I still feel a bit fish out of water. Sometimes I think we have restless souls that will never feel fully rooted in one place. Tis a blessing and a curse. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Antoinette B. | love.antoinette says:

    I’ve had a love/hate relationship with NYC for God knows how long now. I travel often enough and when I’m away from home, I always feel lucky about living in one of the best cities in the world, and when I get back home, I can’t wait to get away from all the stress and frenzy! I definitely do feel a lot more grounded when I’m home but I’m so much more at peace elsewhere. And although people are always going to tell you you HAVE to know what you’re looking for, believe me, sometimes it’s totally okay not to know. I don’t know where my life is headed most of the time and I think I’m okay with it, for now atleast.

  23. Leah Travels says:

    Perhaps you’ll know what you’re looking for once you find it. That’s how it always works for me. In the meantime, ยกViva Mexico!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m trying to be patience, I know in time things will work out.

  24. I don’t think there is right answer.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Good point and I think the answer may constantly change.

  25. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I think we can spend our whole lives looking for more and that’s OK. I love my home base, but always eager to get away. Nothing wrong with escaping stress and worry once in a while.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I always wondered what was wrong with me for wanting more but I find that it’s a very common feeling.

  26. You’ll figure it out, hun. It’s just society that tells you you need to know what you want ASAP. Why? So you can buy into the Capitalist system that most other people do. (Yup, that’s the Commie in me coming out.)

    I’ve also fallen in love with this country too. My contract’s up Dec 2013 and that’s when I’m heading back home but the longer I stay here, the more I really really don’t want to leave.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I’m Canadian so we’re already part Commie ๐Ÿ™‚

      I find each time I go back I love the familiarity and wish I had more time.

  27. I feel like this all the time. After living abroad, home just feels weird to me sometimes. Yes, it is comforting and easy, and I like having a base and taking trips, but it messes with me. When I am here, I feel like I need to have a “real” job, I have occasional panic attacks thinking “wtf am I doing?! I haven’t contributed to my ROTH IRA in years!” but when I’m traveling, I feel so much more relaxed, more like the person I prefer to be.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That is exactly how I feel and then I wonder which is the right way to live – or more importantly, which is the way I WANT to live.

  28. How mind-boggling life can be! I resonate with this feeling but, for now, a life on the road is definitely for me. I had a conversation about this very thing the other day with a fellow traveller. She asked if it would be different if I wasn’t with Steve (my boyfriend) and I honestly don’t know. Maybe, but I think the wanderlust would still have kicked in. That said, when he was away for work for five weeks when I was in BA, I did miss home more than usual. Like you say, who knows?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      After 18 months of traveling on my own I was definitely ready for something more stable. If I had someone else it would absolutely be different.

  29. I don’t think we ever have the answers to questions like these. I think it’s just good to at least be asking them and challenging ourselves to keep searching ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s a really great way to think about it.

  30. Alana Morgan - Gen Y Wanderer says:

    I think this is the ultimate trade off for enjoying traveling and exploring different places/people/cultures/languages…you’re world is opened up so, so much…yet you don’t know where you belong or where you ‘should’ be and wherever you end up choosing will mean giving up something else.

  31. I always get the same thing – being away from home makes me appreciate all the friends and family I have here. Yet, all I can think about when I am home is when I can get back to travelling. It’s a catch 22 ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    You’re preaching to the choir! We figured if we traveled we might figure out what we want. Now that we’re getting closer to the answer a new question arises, where?

  33. Aren’t some cultures nomadic? Maybe the thought that you have to choose one place over the other as your proper “home” is not the way to look at it. Single or in a family, can’t you just wander? Spend time here, there and everywhere until you feel like moving on to the next place? I am going through this push-pull too…maybe it’s ok to think outside of the box when it comes to what “home” looks and feels like.

  34. Pete (about to quit work for long term travel) says:

    When I started full time work the only thing that was running through my head was, ‘is this it?’ I can really relate to your philosophy for travel, hope you find some answers ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Do any of us?

    I think every time you are “away” in an exotic location, where it’s not “home”, your mind kicks into “vacay mode”.

    I’ve lived in different foreign countries 3 years at a time, yet, it’s a different kind of mindset, a different perspective on life. It’s like an extended trip. Even living as an EXPAT for years in the U.S.A. I didn’t think the same as I do now living back in Toronto.

    It’s easy to switch back once you return and stay still. That’s why I keep traveling and moving, so I don’t fall back into thinking like the norm. Keep moving, Ayngelina! I think if you keep doing what you love, the answers will come when you aren’t looking! =D

  36. I can definitely relate. For the time being, I’ve decided to split my time between two places but I’m not sure that’s a long-term solution. I guess only time will tell ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. This is interesting. I feel as if you have just photocopied a page from one of my journals and posted it for the whole world to see. I am just 20 years young and I have a terrible case of the traveling bug. My step brother recently asked me why I want to travel so badly and what it is that I’m looking for or what I think I’ll find. That answer is unbeknownst to me. All I know is that I feel more at home traveling than I do sitting here in the comfort of my very own bed typing this. I have been to many places in the world and never to Mexico. For some reason it did not appeal to me. So just two weeks ago I returned from an eight day stay in San Francisco (San Pancho), Mexico. This was my first time there and the only reason I went was to attend my cousin’s destination wedding. However, I quickly changed my mind. As soon as the plane touched down I began to think a little differently. We hadn’t been in the country 20 minutes and already we had taken two shots of tequila and were enjoying an ice cold beer in the back of the taxi while driving through the Sierra Madre Mountains. The trip progressed from there, every day was an adventure. The people were fantastic. Such warm hearted individuals. Their way of life was surprisingly easy to adapt to. They have cares and worries just like the rest of the world but for some reason they did not seem so serious in Mexico. Perhaps it had to do with the surf town I was staying in. Ha ha. What I am getting at here is that I, too, felt the same way. Granted I was only there for eight days but I grew to think very fondly of Mexico in just that short amount of time. So much so that I think about it daily and how or when I will make it back. It’s nice to two things: that I am not alone in this situation and that no answer to these questions of where is home and where do I belong have not been answered yet.

  38. I love your honesty about looking for something but having no idea what it is. There are some experiences I have had that I can’t really describe or put words to…and I think that’s OK. About your love of Mexico, I would add that you are fortunate that you have flexibility in your life so you could spend a month or so there every year if you wanted. Great place to spend the winter! (Can you believe I have never been to Mexico? I should work on press trip possibilities because I know I’m missing a lot by not traveling in Mexico.)

  39. Wow, did your blog entry hit home! No worries of online dating (lol), biological clock(I’m 38) and living in the moment with less stress in Mexico!! I’ve been in San Francisco the past 10 years and feel its no longer for me. I’m torn because friends/family are here yet I don’t feel inspired or content unless I’m on the road. 2.5 months in Mexico last summer and I’m going back in August and volunteering in Tanzania in May!! As long as I can sublet my SF apt I guess I’m ok ๐Ÿ˜‰ Besides I’m a freelance graphic designer so I can work anywhere and often elsewhere for a lot cheaper!! Thanks for not making me feel loco ๐Ÿ˜‰

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