You Are Where You Need to Be - This American Girl

(This post was originally published on The Freedom Experiment, an inspiring blog by a creative, beautiful, sensitive woman who shares her life struggles and triumphs to help others feel less alone. Give The Freedom Experiment a read, it just might change your day.)




I’m sitting in bed in my bungalow in Bali, alone.


balangan bali


The sun is shining and the turquoise sea just beyond my porch glitters beneath a cliff backed golden sand bay.


Uluwatu Bali


I am unbelievably blessed to be here, on possibly the most coveted island in the world, with no attachments or responsibilities, and the freedom to do anything that I want.


Growing Up - 04


But what I want to do is hide under my covers and cry.




I have no return ticket home, no home to return to, and I spent the last of my savings to leave Cambodia and come to Bali to reunite with the first man I allowed myself to be vulnerable with in years.


Uluwatu Bali


He leaves in three hours for another continent, but mentally and emotionally he was never even here.


Uluwatu Bali


My disappointment is palpable.




I feel foolish for straying from my plan to see him one last time.

I question if I made a mistake in finally letting my guard down.

I worry that my lifestyle leads me to men laden with limits.


lan ha bay


In this scenario where everything that surrounds me is foreign


Koh Rong


emotionally it feels painfully familiar.


Ha Long Bay


Resisting releasing something I already know I don’t want in my life.


Cat Ba Island


Seeking fulfillment for my needs from someone else instead of empowering myself.




Accepting less than what I deserve because something seems like a better offer than nothing.


An Bang Beach


Occupying my mind so entirely with another person that I become distracted from who Iam and what I want.


Manuel Antonio park



after two years of traveling the world on my own


Corcovado national park


hiking through the South American jungle

sailing to deserted islands in Southeast Asia


Puerto Viejo


riding on rickety buses across Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, and Morocco

taking countless cold showers


San Blas


communicating in foreign languages

and sleeping in dorm rooms with complete strangers


mombacho volcano


am I back to being the girl who bases her confidence on how much attention she gets from a guy?


Growing Up - 21


Haven’t I grown beyond this?


Growing Up - 22


Are you ever

where I am now?


Growing Up - 23


Back in a place you thought you outgrew?

Re-enacting the patterns of your past?

Being the person you swore you would never be again?


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little corn island





Growing Up - 26



how did I get back here?


balangan bali



if you were actually



Ha Long Bay



or happier?

Koh Rong



if you were just coasting

until a difficult moment


Koh Rong



how flawed and broken

you still are?


Cat Ba Island - 20



that you will never

get back

to feeling


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and content?


koh rong long beach



that you didn’t

grow up

after all?




Right now, my mind is cluttered with these ideas.


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But the healthy, happy me

buried beneath the insecurity and the fear



San Blas


that those negative, destructive thoughts





playa guiones


Because growing up doesn’t mean always being your “best” self.


Padang Padang


It doesn’t mean never being sad, angry, imbalanced, lost, insecure, or what some people might even call “crazy.”


Koh Rong


It doesn’t mean being protected by an ego that the cruelest words can’t crush.


Growing Up - 39


It doesn’t mean having all of the answers


Growing Up - 40


and it certainly doesn’t mean never making mistakes.


manuel antonio


Growing up means gaining the awareness

to recognize


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what makes you feel good

what doesn’t

and why.


playa samara


It means shifting

your self talk

to a dialogue


Koh Rong


that makes you feel


and loved.


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It means accepting

that you cannot control the way that others treat you


Growing Up - 46


but you can absolutely control

the way that you treat yourself.


bocas del toro


It means recognizing

the impermanence

of everything


isla tortuga


experiencing the darkness


that one day


you will feel light.


Koh Rong


It means empowering


with the responsibility

to choose happiness


Koh Rong


whether that means

being patient in discomfort

or making a move

that completely

changes your life.


Koh Rong


It means having

the willingness

and the courage

to let go.


San Blas


So right now

I am quieting my inner judgments

and I am amplifying my voice that says:


Growing Up - 53


Hang in there babe

you are strong.


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Believe in your dreams

they are inevitable.


Growing Up - 55


Everything will be ok

because everything is already ok.




You are worth mountains and oceans

no matter how others treat you

or how small you feel.


Lonely Beach Koh Chang


Where you are today is perfect

because it is where you need to be

to get to tomorrow.


Bingin Bali


In honor of the person I am today

I am getting out of bed

I am walking down to the sea


balangan bali


and I am watching the dramatic progression of the sunset



Growing Up - 60


Wherever you are

on your journey


Ha Long Bay


in a moment of glittering bliss

in a moment of deep dark pain

on the brief, vast, varying spans between


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feel it

cherish it

and know


Growing Up - 63


it’s all just part

of growing up.


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