Life the past month has been interesting to say the least. The hotel I work at closed to the public at the end of March, and I have been on leave without pay (LWOP-by choice/they asked if I would be willing to do this) since 28 March. I could have flown back to the states in the middle of April, but that was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.
I wanted to wait out the Coronavirus storm, although at this point I don’t think the storm will be passing anytime soon.
Financially I am stable, which allowed me to accept LWOP without consequence, and aside from the initial lack of routine (I’ve since created a routine I enjoy) – being able to live in Germany (for free) without any responsibilities at the moment is amazing. The hotel continues to push the open date, and as of right now we are scheduled to open the beginning of June.
Select shops in Bavaria have reopened, and life in the mountains has remained the same. Part of why I chose to stay in Germany on LWOP opposed to flying back to the states was because of the freedom I still have here. I am able to go outside and be active however I please (within social distance guidelines), and I wouldn’t have been able to do that back in Washington.
I’ve been spending my free time doing a myriad of things, like walking, biking, hiking, reading, journaling/writing, watching movies, and reflecting. I can’t remember a time when I was forced to slow down like this, and at first it was a literal shock to my system. I went from 60 to 0 in a matter of days – from a life of non stop travel and work, to a life of stillness.
In the beginning I had days where I feel like I was useless to society, but then I remind myself we are in the midst of a pandemic. Although I am not working I technically still have a job, but even if I didn’t have a job, that would be ok too. I worked hard for my money, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about temporarily living off my savings.
Besides, if I were working right now, I would be doing deep cleaning tasks and I just don’t want to do that.
I trust God, and I trust I will be ok regardless of what’s to come the next few months. I have extended my time here until September, but anything can happen between now and then. I am challenging myself to be alone with my thoughts more which has been amazingly therapeutic and helpful in my growth.
I am consistently meeting with the local chaplain for counseling, and I am loving the progress I have made. Digging deep and working through suppressed trauma has been both essential and helpful. I have a long way to go, but this has been a nice jump start. I am trying to shift my perfectionist mindset from “you’re being lazy by not working” to “you are using this time to grow as a person.”
Of all places to be stuck during a global pandemic, I consider myself immensely blessed to be “stuck” in Bavaria.
I’m challenging myself to learn new things with my free time, and I recently overcame a fear I had with regard to my bike. My bike is officially one year old, and she was in need of some love, so I gave her a bath. In my bathtub/shower. It wasn’t perfect, but I worked with what I had. My chain needed love and lube, and she’s as good as new now.
In the past I had always taken my bike to the shop for a tune up, mostly because I was intimidated by the thought of doing anything myself. The bike shops here were closed at the time, so I decided to do it myself. The chain no longer squeaks of thirst, and riding her feels like it did when I first bought her. Little things like this remind me I am capable of more than I think.
Instead of looking at this down time as a negative, I have shifted my perspective to view this as a positive. I will never again live in Germany like this for free with the opportunity to fully submerge myself in nature. I’m not feeling the guilt of wasting my time off, because my time off is endless right now and travel is not an option.
I’m essentially playing tourist in my own city, visiting new and old places. I am thankful for this time to reflect, and to reinvent a part of who I am.
I’ve been more in tune with my body the last month as well, listening to what she needs. I’m not perfect, and I still make choices that don’t make me feel my best, but I am having an easier time bouncing back. It helps being able to sleep in until 0700/0800 instead of 0530. Time away from the stressful hustle and bustle that is customer service always reminds me just how damaging it can be to my health.
All of this to say I am doing ok. It took a bit of time for me to let go of my anxiety surrounding the uncertainty of life right now, but at the end of the day little to none of this is within my control. I take each day as it comes, and compassionately bring myself back to earth when I get overwhelmed by the thought of what’s next.
So for now, I will continue with my small routines which include daily exploration of this place I currently call home.
Q: How are you currently?
31 thoughts on “Currently”
Brittany, you’re right! There are plenty of worse places to be LWOP! We’re slowly starting to telax lockdown in France and I was so looking forward to going for a ride, but it’s raining cats and dogs after weeks of glorious sunshine. Our hotels, bars and restaurants are still closed so we may well go for a picnic ride this coming weekend. In some ways the wet weather forecast for the next week or so will ensure continued observance of the rules.
The dreary weather definitely keeps people inside, but I hope you’re able to get outside for that bike ride!
Weather looks better for tomorrow
Nice One. Especially the pictures. The perspective change we need about the pandemic will help everyone.
Thank you. Odd times we’re all living through!
Germany is still my favorite holiday. We spent time touring by bicycle in Germany and Austria a few years ago. There are very few places that would get me to move away from Cape Cod. Germany is one of those places.
Germany blows me away daily, a piece of my soul will forever live here.
Great place to hike!
Good read! Don’t stress too much. We’re all in this together. Personally I enjoy a lazy day here and there. So don’t stress yourself out because you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Congrats on your bike, haha. Also, listen to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Sunshine music, and the lyrics will make you smile. 😃🙂🙃
I love that song! 🙃 Lazy days are necessary, my form of a lazy day is not working typical work. HA!
Believe it or not, I know people who wash off their bikes in the shower. They are, as the saying goes, a few spokes shy of a wheel. Make the best of what you have. If you start sleeping with your bike, we’re going to have to stage an intervention.
As far as maintenance is concerned, most of the stuff you need to keep an eye of is easy. Take care of your tire pressure. Make sure your chain stays lubed and clean. Make sure your brakes are working properly. Brake pads wear out eventually but as long as you don’t do a lot of descending or stop and go, you’ll find they last a long time. Cables. chains. and cogs do wear out but they can last a few thousand miles. No worries.
As for your mental out look, good on you! We need to have two seemingly conflicting states of mind. One keeps the focus on today. As the manager of the Nationals says, “Go 1 and 0 today.” If you do that, the future will take care of itself. The other state is keeping in mind that this pandemic will resolve over time. Recognize what is in your control (e.g., distancing, hygiene) and let the rest go.
I know Bavaria is an awesome place but we all need to appreciate our surroundings. The DC area is leafing out. With out wet spring, it’s so green! I’d share more of it on my blog but I hate stopping to take pictures. 😛
Ok, I was noticing my brakes felt “weaker” the last few weeks. There are some good hills here, so I’ve likely used my breaks more than I realize. I plan to get a complete tune up when I return to the states (I’m going to disassemble it and ship it home, and then take it somewhere for a professional to put it back together/have them tune it/replace what needs replacing.)
Tire pressure is the only thing I am comfortable monitoring, I hope to perfect the chain game soon. After that I should be a real biker in no time.
I always appreciate your outlook on things, your input is refreshing and realistic. Thanks for always keeping it real. I agree we should appreciate where we are, but I’m still a bit bias of Bavaria. 😉
Hey B…. Glad to see You are enjoying being in stop and smell the roses mode…👋👋👍
Just the other day a car came racing by obviously going faster than the limit and I felt so sad , this person was missing out on being in the moment, seeing the trees and water, hearing the birds , feeling the warmth of the sun on ones face….
Slowing down a bit just allows You to be more in touch with Your surroundings and self
And low and behold You see and feel things You never felt before….❤️🙏
Embrace this time, this opportunity
Humble and Grateful
What a wonderful time of Exploration
You have such a kind heart my friend, feeling sad for the fast drivers. I do enjoy my days more when I stop to smell the roses! My nervous system thanks me too. 😉
Yes yes yes yes YESSSSSSS!!!!! ❤️ I am SO incredibly proud of you for everything… and especially for the mental and inner progress you feel like you’re making. That’s the hardest type of progress there is, to release the subconscious thoughts holding us back and be okay with the stillness and peace of the present moment, without feeling like we need to fill the present moment with more thoughts and actions and intentions. It’s so inspiring to hear your story, Brittany! 🙏🏻
And that last bit about sleep… Man, it’s absolutely amazing what a positive impact a few extra hours of sleep can have on our bodies! I finally let myself sleep in this past weekend for the first time in, oh gosh, I don’t even know… months? a year? I ended up sleeping 10+ hours each night, and my gut issues were WAY less prevalent than usual. It surprised me so much that I called my mom to celebrate! 😂
Sending so much peace and love your way, sweet friend!! 😘
Progress isn’t always fun, but it’s always necessary! I am SO happy to hear sleep has been helping your digestive system, I have ALWAYS known the importance of sleep, but not until I was older did I actually see the difference. SLEEP IS LIFE!
I knew you would stay! Remember – I told you so :). And I am glad you did, because you know what – you really wanted to stay, even when you were saying you want to go back. Be well 🙂
You know me better than I know myself! HA. I still have moments of “AHH I WANT TO GO HOME!” but then I go ride my bike and bring myself back. What’s another few months going to hurt!?
:). I just know a little bit about people :). Also, my husband is in Finland now, and although it is more difficult than anything we’ve experienced before, I am glad he is there! Even at the cost of not seeing him in person till the next year.
Oh wow, that is brutal! Sending love to you both.
A writer writing.
I love those hike views so much. I hope I can visit Germany one day.
It’s a beautiful country! I hope you can too.
Bradley on the Run
Love this, as I enjoy all of your posts. I think you were wise to stay in Germany, given all of the craziness over this side of the world. I’m thankful to still have a job that allows me to work from home, and also to live close to trails where I can run in peace. Thank you for your wonderful photos and stories – every time I get an email with a new post you’ve written, it brings me joy. Stay safe!
Thank you friend, your comment has brought a smile to my face!! I am so thankful for the freedom here, and I am glad you are able to experience a bit of that yourself with your nearby trails.
Pingback: Bike, Jog, Hike | Blissfulbritt
Pingback: A Tale of Two Trails | Blissfulbritt
Pingback: Mind Over Matter to Mittenwald | Blissfulbritt