Open Letter to My Readers

by Melissa on July 6, 2015 · 40 comments

Tap, tap, tap… is this thing still on?

Is anyone still out there?

On the off chance that there are still people reading this ol’ blog of mine, here is my open letter to you about where I’ve been, what’s been going on and why I’ve neglected my beloved blog for so long.

The last time I updated the site, I was in a transition period in my life- I’d recently started my position as an international travel consultant, I was on my way into moving into a new place of my own, and things as I’d come to know it for the past 4 years were just generally changing. It was no longer “life on my own terms” – I had rent and a work schedule to now follow.  I stopped updating my blog because in many ways I felt like a fraud- like a big, fat, liar.  Here I was preaching about living life on your own terms, yet I couldn’t even do that myself.

IMG_6384

I excitedly took the reins of my new job and was enjoying learning a different aspect of the travel industry – it was like a sneak peek behind the scenes of how all things travel actually work! I was excited to put my own travel experiences to good use to help others make their travel dreams a reality. I was eager and excited. At the same time, it was also mentally draining. For about 3 months I was unable to do anything remotely mentally strenuous after a day at work, or on my days off because it was just too much. Every bit of brainpower went to my day-to-day in the office. But things were great –immediately I started to see some of the perks of the job. Within a month and a half of being there, I attended my first gala evening – an annual event put on to honour the best of the best in the company. It was an open bar at a conference center in a swanky hotel in the city… all paid for by the company. What wasn’t to like?

I was picking things up and excelling in my job – my first 3 months I was the highest transferring consultant in my “month of newbies” (aka the others who had started the same month as me). But by month 4 (August), I hit a personal low. My boyfriend had gotten injured in May and was essentially bedridden and living with his parents an hour away. There were personal issues going on with my family that were really bringing me down – things I won’t air all over the internet. I took my first big debit at work – for getting caught making a silly mistake by not properly stating the cancellation penalties. It cost me $400 and the client was a rude nightmare. And then there was the issue that I was simply missing out on so much due to having to be at work all the time. You see – the agency I was working at was in a mall. Shortly after I started, the mall received its “tourist destination” designation. This meant we were open for every public holiday. Canada Day, Civic Long Weekend, Labour Day, New Years Eve… you name it… if others had it off, we were open. I was suffering from FOMO badly.

Then the conference came around and I was spoilt with a work conference at Beaches Turks and Caicos and was like “hey, maybe things aren’t so bad.” I had a new outlook on my job, and was excited again. We were coming into busy season and I was excited to make money – which my coworkers had kept telling me was easy to come by in the fall and winter months, since so many Canadians are dying to get away.

IMG_6743

Around this time, due to the family issues going on – I also signed the papers to the condo I was living in – and before I knew it… I was a homeowner… with a mortgage of my very own. WHAT?! How did this happen?

My relationship felt strained – while my boyfriend was getting better physically –little by little – we were still separated by an hour drive. I had started to shut myself off from everyone but him, yet he still felt so far.

By the time Christmas rolled around I was in a very negative headspace. I remember one night in particular where I just came home from work, drank a bottle of wine by myself and ended up having a total breakdown on the phone to my boyfriend.

Something I’ve kept pretty quiet for a number of years is that I have suffered from bouts of what seems like depression. It’s never been professionally diagnosed – nor have I sought out professional help for it. It’s come and gone in mild bouts, and it had been quite a number of years since I’d felt this low. I spoke to a couple friends who have suffered with their own variety of depression and anxiety type issues – and things started to feel a bit better – as if I weren’t so alone.

My boyfriend and I had a trip planned for Jamaica in February for our second anniversary, and it turned out to be amazing. We got out of the cold (during what happened to be the coldest week of the winter), and got to reconnect. It was exactly what I needed.

I returned to work and immediately planned a trip to NYC in March with my colleague and newfound friend, and that same week found out I was accepted on a FAM trip with Celebrity Cruises to the Southern Caribbean in April. Both trips mentally kept me going as I had new places to look forward to experiencing.

IMG_7563

Both trips ended up being incredible. But by the time I returned, and reality set in, the black dog was waiting for me. The depression hit hard and fast. It was unrelenting this time. I shut myself off completely to everyone but my boyfriend, and even then I found myself picking fights with him over stupid things. I would dread waking up in the morning knowing that I would have to go into work. Nothing excited me about the job anymore. I started resenting it. It was taking me away from my friends and family and I couldn’t attend anything. I even missed one of my best friends bachelorettes because I simply couldn’t get my work schedule to accommodate it. The final straw was when I found myself simply not caring anymore. People would sit in front of me and I used to get so excited to find out where they wanted to go and try to help them piece their trip together – now I found I just didn’t care. I would count down the hours until I could leave.

There was one week in particular this past May where everything came to a head. I felt like Jekyll and Hyde. I couldn’t keep it together. One day in particular, I walked into the back room of the office before starting my shift and broke down bawling. Four of my co-workers tried comforting me, asking what was wrong and I just couldn’t pull myself together.

It was at this time that I realized it wasn’t worth it anymore. I’d been thinking about seriously leaving since I came back from the cruise – but I was scared. I had a mortgage now. I couldn’t just quit and not have another job lined up. But this time it was different. I finally realized it wasn’t worth it. No amount of money (and it honestly wasn’t even that much) was worth being that unhappy. My sanity was worth more. I made the decision that I would finish out the fiscal year – the end of June.

huckleberry

So… here I am. It’s July. I’m unemployed… with a mortgage… and yet I feel like a burden has been lifted. People keep asking me what I’m going to do.   And the truth is I don’t know. Others tell me I’m being irresponsible.  To them, I want to say fuck you.  I do know that I am excited to get back to writing. And have so many things to write about in regards to trips I’ve taken over the last year and a half. Heck, maybe I’ll even finish writing about my experience with Nomad Adventure Tours – like I left off.

I figured if there is anyone still out there reading this thing – it may be worth being completely honest with everything that has gone on in the last while.  And if I’ve lost my readers forever, that’s okay too. I plan to bring back The Mellyboo Project to life in whatever incarnation it naturally takes…and best of all, I’m doing it for me.

subscribe-banner

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Erik Smith July 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm

I say Bravo, Mel!

You need to do what makes you happy. Money is only money, for sure, you only have one life to live and making the most of that is important. You are an incredibly talented person and something will come up. For your piece of mind I hope it’s sooner than later, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Glad to see you back at blogging. I’ve also dropped off the face of the earth blogging-wise, with less than 10 posts this year so fat. I wrote two in the last two weeks and each time I’ve finished I wonder to myself why I don’t do more 🙂

Best wishes on the next stage in your life 🙂
Erik Smith recently posted..West 2015- The Itinerary, Part OneMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Hi Erik, thanks so much for your comment & support. I hope you’ve been keeping well – looks like your trip out to the west coast was lovely!

The thing I realized about not blogging for over a year… is that at times prior to when i stopped writing I questioned why I was doing it, and was putting pressure on myself to make my blog into something it wasnt – but I’ve realized that I missed it so much, missed the community (drama and all) and that my blog can be whatever the heck I want it to be… it’s MY creative outlet.

Anyways thanks again 🙂

Reply

Darcy July 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

I’m so happy you’re back at this!! Here’s to independence, lady. Can’t wait to see more.

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Hooray!!! It’s so nice to have my freedom back 🙂 Hope work’s been going well for you too!

Reply

Sara Blair July 6, 2015 at 3:06 pm

This just made me sad and then very happy to read. You gotta do you girl! I am excited for the unknown that lies ahead for you girl!

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I’m excited and scared but most of all relieved. It became a horrible cycle, and I kept saying “I can’t let this job beat me…” because I so badly wanted to make it work. Being a perfectionist, it’s hard to admit to yourself that you just can’t do it. And this kicker was that everyone would say to me “oh you’re a travel agent? That’s the perfect job for you!” … but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t.

Excited for what’s next.

Reply

Will Castillo July 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Congratulations and thank you for sharing this with us. I completely understand how having a job you hate can put you into a depression and no job should make you feel like that. You are NOT being irresponsible. You are taking care of your emotional health and well-being, which is the only thing worth living for. Money comes and goes and you will do well. Keep it up. I am going to be a big fan of your blog because you are very sincere. All the best!
Will Castillo recently posted..Postcard from BacharachMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Thanks Will! It really helps me feel confident in the decision I’ve made when I have so many friends supporting me along the way. Hopefully I’ll see you at Travel Massive this month and you can tell me all about your Eurotrip! 🙂

Reply

Antonella July 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Good for you! It takes a lot of balls to do what your doing, and I can totally relate (my balls just aren’t that big yet) Hopefully this will inspire your readers to live life on their own terms as well!!

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm

It’s scary, and I don’t know that it means that I have a lot of balls… but I know that I couldn’t keep living that way day in and day out. Thanks for supporting me while I was working there – if anything I’m glad I was able to help you (and so many others) make their vacations/dream trips a reality!

Reply

Michelle July 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I can’t wait to see where life takes you next! Your strong, brave and beautiful – inside and out 🙂

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Thanks Michelle – you’ve always had my back and I truly appreciate it. 🙂 Now that my schedule is a little bit more open, I need to make a point of coming out and seeing you, Carter, Chris & of course, Rookie 🙂

xoxo

Reply

Tracey July 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Good for you Mellyboo! Sounds like you know your own best therapy and we’re here to listen!

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Talk about trusting your gut, eh? 🙂

Reply

Stacey July 6, 2015 at 11:06 pm

Wow the exact same thing happened to me. I worked for Flight Centre in Australia, and ended up burning out after 9 months. I found it drained all of my passion for talking about travel, and quickly became all about the targets. The pressure was incredible and I would regularly be in the office for hours after closing redoing quotes and hoping people would book with me, and not simply take my itinerary and book online. Good on you for realising it wasn’t for you and making a change!
Stacey recently posted..Road trip! From Christchurch to Wellington in New ZealandMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm

You described it to a T! Not to mention the constant having to defend yourself & what you do when people walk in and say “so why should I book with you and not online?” …. I don’t walk into their work asking why I should buy their coffee, TV, cell phone service, insurance, etc. and not make my own or buy it elsewhere…

Here’s to bigger and better things… for the both of us! 😀

Reply

Amanda C @ UnrestingSea July 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

Excited to have you back! I am really looking forward to your posts.
You have to do what is best for you. In 70 years, when you look back on your life, you’ll recall the people you loved, the things you did, and the memories you made — not the money in your bank account. The transition may be tough at first, but if you wake up happier every day, it’s worth it, right?

Good luck!!
Amanda C @ UnrestingSea recently posted..I Traveled to Australia With A Boyfriend & Returned Home Without OneMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Thats exactly the outlook I intend to have! Happy to be back, and congrats on your engagement!

Reply

Debbie Sherwood July 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

Dear Melissa, I love reading your blog. You open your gut and say it like it is. I too was in the travel industry when we were neighbours.. I could relate to a lot of the things you said. . Life is short and you have to find something that will allow you to live your life on your terms and travel too! It is possible, I would love to send you some links to look at. In the mean time, stay true to yourself!

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 9:51 am

Thanks Debbie – and thanks for sending the links to me on facebook.

You’ve hit the nail on the head “life is short and you have to find something that will allow you to live life on your terms”

So true!

Reply

Kristin Addis July 7, 2015 at 11:53 am

I get bouts of depression too – always did before when working full time and now, traveling full time. I guess there’s really no way to travel to happiness, but I find it a constant struggle to maintain it and to come to terms with the fact that there are highs and lows that come with any lifestyle. Thanks for writing about it as I feel less alone in that. I do find writing about it to be therapeutic though as you obviously do as well. Another door always opens. Best of luck to you!
Kristin Addis recently posted..The Singapore Lifestyle: A Guide to the City’s Best HotelsMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 9:54 am

I hear you- there weren’t always happy times while on the road, but at least I felt as though I was in control of my destiny and wasn’t forced into working a 9-5 that I learned to loathe. The writing is definitely an outlet for me, and I’ve really missed it. Thanks and good luck 🙂

Reply

Sarah Todd July 7, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Hi, Mel – I look forward to reading about more of your adventures! The way you follow your heart through life has always inspired me. All my best! From Sarah the “filmie” 🙂

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

Hey Sarah – Thanks so much for the comment 🙂 Hopefully will bring you lots more! 🙂

Reply

Rishi July 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Things evolve and change … but the good thing about your blog and adventures is that you can always come back to it 🙂
I felt bad for only posting a couple times to my blog … but you won that contest with me 😛
Rishi recently posted..What’s going on with RishirayMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 11:27 pm

It’s true… things do evolve & change… and I’m astonished at how many people have shown their support. People I assumed had long since abandoned my blog, just as I did… they’ve come back showing the love.

I’m excited for the future… mine and the blog’s 🙂

Reply

James Kimmins July 10, 2015 at 5:45 am

I can feel some similarities in our work life experiences since Australia in 2011. When I got back to the UK I started working in a Nissan factory, good money but it became hell; no life balance, negative and aggressive people. So I left last year to take regain control of my life. Anyway, It’s great that things are getting better!

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

It’s so tough…. us free birds aren’t meant to be caged and chained down to a life that’s hours are mostly filled with work and negativity. Damn “The Man,” I say!

I hope things have gotten better for you and that you’re able to find some joy and happiness since leaving the factory job 🙂

Reply

Nancy M July 11, 2015 at 11:36 pm

Good for you! I’ll keep watching for more posts. I have had you on a list I have …. “bloggers to watch”…happy I read your latest blog post tonight.

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Thanks Nancy – I appreciate the support 🙂 Here’s to bigger and better things!

Reply

Sammi Sosa ;) July 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

So proud of you Melly! It’s time to get back to what makes your soul feel good 🙂

Reply

Melissa July 14, 2015 at 11:30 pm

I completely, wholeheartedly, 100% agree!!

Reply

Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine July 15, 2015 at 9:21 am

So many things you said in this post hit home for me. The feeling of finally being happy and then returning to find the black dog waiting for you? If this were a poetry slam, I’d be snapping my fingers off at you. I am so, so happy for you that you made this (tough!) decision. I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to read about what comes next.
Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine recently posted..2015 Travel PlansMy Profile

Reply

Melissa July 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm

It’s tough…. and even since I quit there have been moments of doubt, and moments of not being over-the-moon happy about things…. but I guess that’s life, we have to all deal with the ups and downs. I’m excited for what comes next… was super excited to see my latest post (10 things I learned as a travel agent) go slightly viral. Every little bit helps and my confidence is slowly working itself back up to acceptable levels 😛

Thanks for the words of encouragement 🙂

Reply

Janet Caraker July 15, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Hello,

This post will hit home with every travel agent. I have been in the business for 28 years and I have felt the burn out many many times. No one realizes what a mentally exhausting, thankless, and sometimes costly job it can be. It has great rewards but you have huge personal sacrifices to get those rewards.

I plan on retiring in the next few years. It has been a great ride but I am ready for the peace that will come when I hang up my computer.

You will find your way very soon …. I am sure of it.

Thank you for sharing.

Janet

Reply

Melissa July 21, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Hi Janet! Thanks so much for your comment – it’s so true… people do not realize how hard it can be. That while some people can go home from their jobs at 5pm, travel agents often work (unpaid) extra hours just to ensure their clients are taken care of, and when we do go home – it’s hard to turn off your brain. I would often go home and worry about clients or bookings, yet was unable to do anything from home.

There are great rewards – yeah… like the fact that I was able to go to Jamaica for next to nothing… but is it worth all the stress? I didn’t think so.

Good luck with your retirement!

Reply

Tina July 16, 2015 at 5:21 am

Sorry to hear Flight Centre wasn’t what you hoped it would be. I’m headed into my 10 year and still love the job, my team and the company 🙂 Thanks for your other post about why to book with an agent, loved it!! Hope you find your bliss 🙂

Reply

Melissa July 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Thanks Tina! I’m so glad that you’re still enjoying it. There are many aspects that make the company great! It doesn’t win it’s spot on the Canada’s top 100 employers list year after year for nothing. But it certainly isn’t for everyone.

I did love my team- they were awesome and definitely helped keep me around and keep me going for as long as I did stay.

Good luck with everything!

Reply

Tassie July 21, 2015 at 10:58 am

oh my god Melissa. I had tears in my eyes reading your article. You are from now on my if I could say my mentor. You wont believe exactly what you mentioned is happening to me, same same same story being in the travel industry for like 10years now its too much I am heading for depression just don’t have the courage or guts to quit. Well done on your brave decision God bless and may you grow in what have ever career you select

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }