4 reasons why I’m restless, and what I plan to do about it.

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Lately, I've been noticing a sense of restlessness that's been creeping its way into my thoughts at inopportune times — like when I'm at work. It's been difficult for me to put my finger on its source, but I think I've finally come up with reasons why I'm so restless. But just explaining why I'm restless won't get me anywhere; it will only make me sound whiny. So, after identifying the sources, I've also come up with ways to combat them.

So why am I so restless?

I’m in limbo.

I’m going to be turning 24 in less than three months. I’m in that stage of my life where I’ve outgrown my college years and mentality, and moved on into what some would call “the real world.” And yet I don’t really feel like an adult yet. There’s still so much that I want to do before I settle down. Which is why…

I have a job, not a career.

I landed a job last fall as a copy editor at a small Ohio newspaper. It’s a great job, and I’m thankful that I was able to find something within the first year of graduating that actually puts my journalism degree to use. I like what I do, and I like the people I work with. But, the longer I work here, the more I realize that this is just a job. I don’t want to make a career out of sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a night, editing the news. Plus, journalism really doesn’t pay very well. Which is why…

I’m poor.

Okay, so I’m not living in a cardboard box or anything. I make enough money to pay my bills every month and perhaps go out to dinner or a movie every now and then. I live comfortably enough for a 23-year-old. But my salary doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for putting money aside into a savings account like I wish it would. Which is why…

I’m not traveling, nor do I have plans to travel soon.

The family

My last adventures have all been family vacations — NYC with my mom last spring, a family reunion in Florida last summer, a family cruise to Alaska last month. I’m extremely thankful that my parents are still willing to foot the bill on these trips for me, and I jump at any chance to hit the road with Mom and Dad. But my next opportunity to travel (seriously travel, like outside of Ohio) probably won’t come until next year at the earliest, since I’ve already used up my vacation days for the year.


All of these things added together make me feel extremely restless. Like I’m just wasting away my 20s. I live on my own (which, honestly, I don’t mind), which gives me ample time to think about the fact that I still have no clue what I want to do with my life. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know I’m not alone, though, and that gives me some hope.

I don’t want to simply be complaining about all the things I want to change in my life, however, because people who do that kind of bug me.

So, here’s what I plan to do to try and cure my restlessness:

Read more.

I read news all night at work. A lot of news. So, often by the time I get home, I don’t feel like picking up a book or browsing the many travel blogs I follow. But I figure the only way to really get inspired is to start immersing myself more fully in the world of travel writing and blogging. I’m making it a priority, starting now. I realize this will probably only enhance my sense of wanderlust, but it will also prompt me to…

Work harder on my blog.

In the past few weeks, I’ve really been focused on expanding my blog — adding more new segments and photo-filled posts, inviting other bloggers to contribute, and spending extra time on Twitter each day. I may even start looking into purchasing a domain and self-hosting my blog. Which sounds daunting, but I’ve been getting some tips from fellow bloggers. The travel blogging community, I’m discovering, is fantastic. I’m meeting some amazing people who are doing some amazing things around the world, so I want to keep this up. And, since I can’t be out there traveling the world with them right now, I’m going to…

Travel closer to home.

Ohio isn’t exactly a mecca for travelers, but my home state and surrounding areas do offer some interesting things. I’ve already been to Cedar Point this summer (the best amusement park in the world, no matter what you say), and have plans to visit southern Ohio, Sandusky again, and Pittsburgh all within the next month. I may even throw in Chicago if I can manage it. I think it’s possible to explore and learn — to travel — closer to home and still take away lessons that are just as valuable as those you bring back with you from overseas. But, just in case Ohio proves to be less than thrilling, I’m also going to…

Enter some contests.

Yeah, yeah, I know the chances of winning amazing trips and giveaways are slim. But it never hurts to try! Over the past week or so, I’ve stumbled upon quite a few contests that have piqued my interest that I may enter.

And, along with contests, I’m also going to…

Give back.

With my not-quite-ideal work schedule and middle-of-nowhere location, opportunities to seriously volunteer are few and far between. But I want to continue trying. For example, I’m going to be helping ProjectExplorer.org out with some little side-note bits for their upcoming Mexico series, which I’m actually really excited about. I love what they do, and am more than happy to devote some time to helping them out. Hopefully I can find some other small side projects like this to work on. And by melding things that I love — travel and writing — with some new endeavors, I plan to…

Go after what I want.

What do I want? Well, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to work at a small newspaper in a small town until retirement. I don’t want to feel like I wasted away my youth working a job that I don’t love. Is that unrealistic? Maybe. I just know that I want to be engaged. I want to be challenged. I want to learn. And, someday, I want to be doing something that incorporates my love of travel. What will that something be? I have no clue. When I find out, I’ll let you know. And then I’ll go after it.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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23 Comments on “4 reasons why I’m restless, and what I plan to do about it.

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  1. Oh, and I just realized this post is almost four years old and that the last comment is from last year, but the message stays the same. Although your situation is probably different now that it was four years ago, what you wrote still has an impact on people. Thank you!

      That’s the cool thing about blogging – the messages are still valid even years later. I’m so glad this resonated with you!

    This is so empowering! I’m proud of you for realizing what your situation is and even coming up with some solutions to your situation. I hope you can achieve what you’re after, and even though there’ll probably be ups and downs, keep working for your dreams! I myself have a restless feeling right now, but seeing that you have even greater restlessness in your life and you have a plan to cure it helps me to seek solution for mine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, this really gave me a lot, and I wanted to comment to give something in return.

    I’d like to applauded you for taking this journey. I am what you’d call on a “10 yr plan” with my college education after changing my major twice. I will be graduating in December and have a jobe, been on my own for that 10yrs, and recently began thinking of what to do afterwards, and this makes me restless. I think the best thing to do is to realize we are all on our own paths. We make decisions that follow us, and we just have to be able to be at peace with ourselves and seek input from those around us who can relate. You are doing all those things. I look forward to seeing where your travels bring you. I, myself, am looking for that next step and freedom from the feeling of being on a plateau at 27yrs old.

      I’m sure that you, too, will find a way to cure your restlessness. I’ve been there, but can tell you that if you follow your passions, it will pass. Good luck!

    This is a true story haha. I’m 21 and I feel the exact same feelings of restlessness. I just wish you would have given a better solution for me! You still don’t know what you want to do, and I don’t know what I want to do either. sigh

      Sorry! Unfortunately we all have to figure these things out for ourselves… I’m still working on getting rid of my restlessness!

    I, like many others, typed in “I’m restless” in Google. Unlike the others posting here I’m 50 and feeling restless for the same reasons you are. Life is circle and we find ourselves in the same place sometimes. My 2 girls are in college now and I’m ready to begin my life with my husband as a couple again. Travel is a big part of why I think I am restless. There are so many places I want to go, but can’t afford right now. SO…I’m taking your advice and doing some traveling within easy reach. Luckily I am in central Texas so Austin, Houston, and DFW are well within driving distance.
    Good luck to all who are feeling restless. May you find peace in your travels…

      You are very right about life being cyclical – it absolutely is. If travel (or lack of) is a reason that you’re feeling restless, definitely do what you can to fix it! You live in a great part of the country to make short trips from!

    Can I just say… I typed into Google “I’m restless and I want something more” just to see what would pop up. I’m a 23 year old working in advertising at a city newspaper. I like my JOB but have no plans of making it a CAREER. I’m in the same boat – I have no earthly idea what I want to do with my life and have recently found myself very depressed because I, too, feel like I am wasting every minute of my young adult life. These are supposed to be my happy years right?! UGH. Glad to see I’m not the only one who feels so lost.

      You are definitely not alone! Not by a long shot. My advice to you would be to really do some thinking and figure out what would make you happy. Don’t be logical about it — figure out what you would want to do if you could do anything in the world. Then, after you figure that out, start plotting how you can make it happen. You’ll be surprised at how much more content you’ll be when you have a goal to work towards. That’s what I’m doing!

    Great blog! I got here because I googled “I’m restless”, so it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that I share many of your sentiments. The lack of travel in my life makes me feel like I’m wasting my life. There are so many places that I want to go, so many cultures I want to sample. The fact that they’re all out there, existing, living, right this second, and that I’m not there to see it happen, makes me feel disconnected from the world, and also from myself.

    Well.. I hope you got over your restlessness!

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re so restless, Gda! I just hope you know that you are not alone — as this post should prove! I know exactly how you feel; I’ve been there many times.

      The trick is to evaluate what you’re doing now, and figure out what you can change in order to start working toward your travel goals. I promise you can do it!

    I just found this post. I feel you — can’t wait for my trip to start so it’s been hard to concentrate at work. So this was written before you moved to ur own domain name, eh? Wow, you’ve come a long way 🙂

      Yup, this seems like so long ago! Though, most of those feelings are still lingering, even months later. But I’m trying my best to remedy them!

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying about being restless & not knowing what you want to be when you grow up. I just turned 30 & I still feel like that! But you have realistic goal which I’m sure will eventually lead you to something that makes your life more of what you want it to look like. Better to be trying to figure it out now rather than later.

    This blog totally brought me back to my 24 year old self (those were the days! like less then 5 years ago, but stillllll) I totally know how you feel about so much stuff, you are totally not alone.

    Snaps on traveling closer to home. In thinking of all the far off places I have been, I realized that there are so many places close to home that I have never been. I have been to Uluru in Australia but I have never been to the Grand Canyon (and I live in Los Angeles!)

    And lucky you that your family still takes vacations together and invites you along! With the exception of a family visit while I was in NZ, my parents haven’t “sponsored” (as I call it) a full-on vacation since 1999 (well, 2001 but that was just NYC for a family wedding, I hardly count that)!

    I can totally relate to this. and it sucks. it’s frustrating and you just feel so… restless. Being stuck in the “I just graduated but I’ve been in school all my life so now what?” stage of life just isn’t a fun place to be… all of the time. keep up the soul searching tho and something fabulous will work itself out! can’t wait to read about what… 🙂

    Love this post! Sounds a little close to home, and I’m glad you have figured some things out to do! Yours, along with other posts have made me realize I need to get my butt moving! Keep it up!!

    I feel your pain!! Being in limbo sucks. Especially when you’re fresh-out-of-college and making enough to live, but not much beyond that. It’s tough. You’ll get through it. 🙂

    I know I’ve told you before, but I mean it…move this blog into being self-hosted. I think it’s the smartest thing you can do.

      I just hope I get through it sooner, rather than later!

      And okay, okay. Self-hosting. Where to start? Tips appreciated.

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