I Remember Who I Am

apartment view
A room with a view

I believed for a while that the most difficult decision I’d ever make in this life, and the most courage I’d dare exhibit were ensconced in the choice to give it “all” up and travel around the world. I had not, it’s now quite clear, taken into consideration my journey home.

I certainly didn’t think it would be easy breezy to waltz back into a stationary life, move to a city that’s never felt quite like my own, delve into an existence where a home, a job, and a life that I’d built with my own devices had disintegrated. It’s been an emotional haul to a degree I just hadn’t counted on — and haven’t been comfortable writing about.

Most anyone who’s spoken to me in the past few months has heard some version of the story. It generally involves me feeling overwhelmed to the point where I can’t quite breathe, or me trying to wrap my head around building friendships and unearthing my interests in a city that I can’t manage to navigate without furiously referencing a series of iPhone apps.

Or it’s simply a glimpse of me trying to make sense of how to embark on the non-traditional life I adored so dearly on my trip, when I can’t quite define what non-traditional actually means to me.

For months now I’ve aimed to be grateful that not only did I land on my feet post-trip, but I landed spectacularly, with a job and a brilliant apartment.

But there’s also been this element of anxiety, one which has been compounded by so many changes and life events and trying to navigate what’s gearing up to be an enormous moment of personal growth — because that IS what it’ll be in the end, right? — when I had never banked on the process manifesting in the midst of so many shadows.

view from the hallway
A hallway with a view

Everyone’s tolerance for what they deem difficult, what they can handle, what makes them sad, what drives them crazy, what inspires them, what frightens them will vary. In the past, I’ve thought I understood that as truth. And I believe I’ve respected that truth. But after these 7 months home, I understand in a far deeper way that we’re all wired to cope with our stuff differently.

And it’s been a long fucking trip back, but for the first time in months I’m seeing myself again. I’m breathing again. I can honestly say I want to dive into this city, learn it, and build a relationship with it — in a way I understand. I’m not sure what that coexistence will look like, but I can finally say that I’m hopeful to find out, because it will be my own — defined on my terms and through my heart.

I’m trying these days to look at what scares me most, particularly when I am being wicked hard on myself, and I’m beginning to realize I default to doing this to myself because I am absolutely terrified I will not act on the heart and love and enormity that lies inside me — and which I want to share and have never quite known how to channel outward for the best.

Facing this understanding, and sitting with it — not running from it or distracting myself from it — well, I ย believe that’s going to bring me closer to my truth.

Now, here’s to a new chapter, a new journey, a new iteration of Passenger Conners.


  1. ohhhh yay val, so glad to see you back!

  2. Oh yes, lady! I’m so glad to hear you’re finding your way out of the morass. So, so much love to you!

  3. I feel you, lady. Though I didn’t take a trip around the world and then had to settle back into just one city (especially NYC), I’ve often had difficulty trying to understand how I get in the way of my own wants/needs/desired, and how I constantly want to share the good inside of myself with the rest of the world in a constructive way. I’m so glad you’re getting there and that you’re easing back into NYC. And with all this new found love, Spring is just around the corner! My favorite time of the year in New York :). Xoxo

  4. well done, lady, well done! xoxo

  5. Maya Northen says:

    Welcome back! I know a good deal of what you’re going through – not from the ‘coming back from travel” side, but from the “major changes and trying to find yourself in the midst of all of them” side.

  6. Lovely post, Valerie. I followed your travels closely on this blog and have been hoping for an update. Trust me, you aren’t at all alone in feeling lost to yourself amid challenges and changes. I hope you will continue to write your way through it. (Slurping a few oysters always helps if you ask me.)

    • Valerie Conners says:

      thank you, Joy – I really appreciate your writing to me. It’s so good to hear from you! I’m motivated right now to write, write write – I think it’s what i’ve been missing most in a lot of ways. Well, that and oysters with good friends ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope so much to see you in NYC should your work bring you up this way. It’s been too darn long.

  7. Oh Val, what honest, heartfelt words. Thank you for sharing and continuing to write here. I’ve always admired you and your true desire to continually ask yourself what it means to be true to yourself. I feel so honored to share a friendship with you for so long and witness your various manifestations as you grow, change, evolve and strive to be true to your soul.
    Love you…

    • Valerie Conners says:

      and oh, how you inspire me! can you believe we haven’t spoken? let’s remedy that asap – we have SO MUCH that needs to be discussed. I love you to pieces.

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