By the time I'm going to bed, I'm getting updates from the U.S. and the rest of the world. Majority of the time it's great, it's students who are checking in or my barns giving me updates or my other calling me and asking me how my day went.
It's a voyeur lifestyle being able to look, but not actively participate in something very far away. My news is sometimes second hand. It also screws with you just a little bit.
Homesickness is a bi-product of the job. It's what everyone, regardless of industry, faces at some level when their ambition takes them beyond the familiar recesses of their current life to achieve something.
I love traveling, and I've done it actively since I was 14. I'm used to going away for extended periods and miles. I'm used to long horse show weekends and training trips. I've learned to be lonely but at the same time, I'm lucky that 21st century technology and social media has allowed me to keep abreast without committing to hours on the phone. Plus being busy all day, everyday, leaves little room to think much about anything else but what's in front of me.
So, by the end of the day, only three primary emotions really exist with me: exhaustion, hunger and because I'm honest, a twinge of jealousy.
I'm not really a jealous person. But like what most people experience as they go through expansion, you go on it alone and you question everything. Everything from: did I that make that corner correctly to did I just tell my boss that stallion is a little schnitzel?
You also ask the question why a lot. Why did I just leave my country to do this? Why did I leave steady income behind? Why do I have heartburn from that currywurst? The list goes on and on as you muddle through exhaustion and the other emotions du jour.
You also romanticize your lifestyle at home (bed, TV, barn) and become somewhat jealous as friends, students, other pro's, even people you've barely met post photos and statuses belying their successes, their general satisfaction about their life or goings on or even the commiseration of just how utterly crappy the weather is.
So while I can't commiserate on the weather (it's been seriously lovely), and I've become jealous at the early season successes of some while I'm here; I also find myself knowing a few things.
First, that while ribbons and riding time is nice, I'm also here because for me. I have to be uncomfortable to progress. I have to make my mistakes and be put into situations where I know I'll make them. It's given me a sense of purpose to do more things and be a little hungry.
And secondly, that Europe is the sport and standard of which we compete with within the discipline. Even though I'm not in Florida (the nearest moral equivalent) or at awards banquets collecting trophies, I know that what I'm doing here is having an impact on my career and business and I have to do it now. My mom always said, the circuit will be there when you return, and she's right. I'm putting together my schedule for teaching, showing and hosting and it seems like its going to be an active year. Coupled with a new venture starting in Europe, I'm starting to put the foot to the floor and go hard for the next six years.
I genuinely love it here, I'm finding myself getting excited about going to the barn, but what I'm doing and seeing. I'm equally eager to put things in motion when I get back. So while I feel left behind, I know in the end I'm uncomfortably ahead.