Embracing Uncertainty

The past few days have been difficult for me because I’ve really been at a loss for exactly what to do.  The process of finding a job in Madrid proved to be more difficult for me than I anticipated.  There are English teaching jobs in Madrid, but I had multiple interviews cancel because I didn’t have the proper paperwork.  I came to Spain knowing that I didn’t have all the documents I would need to work, but I was willing to work “under the table.”  This is a fairly common practice for Americans in Spain due to the difficulty of obtaining a work visa.  This may have been foolish on my part, but the process was still pretty frustrating for me.

And now, full disclosure. 

Upon arriving in Spain, I admit that there was a part of me that knew I didn’t really want to stay in one place.  There’s so much of the world I haven’t seen, and this is a season of my life where I have the ability, the desire, and the means, however meager, to travel and to see our beautiful planet.  Truly, I made an honest effort to find work.  Yet I have to admit that there was more I could have done.  And so, after about 10 days in Madrid, I bought a bus ticket and booked a hostel in Barcelona.

I’m fine with uncertainty because uncertainty is a part of life, but I hate indecision.

I’ve developed the pattern in my travels of not booking too far in advance.  This prevents me from feeling the crunch of having to rush in order to be somewhere by a certain time.  I realize this would be neither suitable, nor feasible, for everyone.  However, this practice gives me options without unnecessary limitations.  It’s liberating.

And yet, even by my normal practice of waiting to make plans to continue to the next place, I am behind.  In the past, I’ve always had future arrangements set at least two days in advance.  However, as I sit here at a café in Barcelona, I have the vaguest of notions as to what I’ll do next.  I have a place to stay tonight.  Nothing more.  I feel a draw to Valencia, which is only a four-hour bus ride from Barcelona, but as of this moment, I haven’t purchased a ticket or booked any accommodation.

There are a few reasons for this delay.  The first is that I’ve really fallen in love with the city of Barcelona.  It’s great, and I can’t say I’m in a huge rush to leave.  I suppose there’s also the side of me that’s waiting for some sort of divine  direction as to where to go next, though I realize this isn’t necessarily how God operates.  I believe He gives us certain desires, and then we act.  I trust that I’m not on my own, but I also have to pay attention to my desires.  I mentioned a certain pull to Valencia, but on the other hand I do have a desire to go back to Madrid in order to continue to find work.   Or I could stay here in Barcelona longer.  I feel a bit stuck.


Much of what I write in this blog consists of the “life lessons” I’ve learned through travel.  One of those lessons is that life is full of uncertainty.  My habit of waiting to solidify further travel plans is my way of learning to embrace the uncertainty of life.  I’m fine with uncertainty because uncertainty is a part of life, but I hate indecision.

Indecision is often caused by a lack of the information we feel we need to make an informed decision.  However, it can also be due to fear.  Fear of making the wrong choice.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the uncertainty of life.  Fear can be paralyzing, but this is only true if we let it be paralyzing.

I refuse to let fear paralyze me.

Even in my personal journal, I strongly dislike using the word fear.  In my thinking, to say “I fear x” or “I fear that if I do this…” is to give fear control of my actions.  Granted, sometimes fear is an appropriate and rational response to one’s circumstances.  In my life, though, this isn’t usually the case.  So instead of fear, I actively want to choose boldness.

When I first started writing this blog it was going to be the story and the observations of an American expat living and teaching English in Madrid, Spain.  Now, it will be the story and observations of an American expat likely doing something else.  I could end up going to Madrid to teach, or I could end up going elsewhere to do something else.  At this moment, it’s uncertain.

It’s time to embrace uncertainty.

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