When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?
When the former Yugoslavia was falling apart, I was working in a local newspaper in Spain as a pretty seasoned journalist writing about courts. (Yes, I am so old). I decided to offer my services to a news agency and a magazine, and leave my safe place in Spain to go as a special envoy to a country, first on the edge of the war, and after immersed in war.
I could speak one of the languages and I had a knowledge of the history and the complex political situation of those territories, so I felt I was ready to do the job. It was a great professional experience though personally was tough. It’s not easy to witness so much suffering and write with a cold mind. But what I found baffling was to come back home and find out that most people didn’t care. People were more worried about tiny local problems. I thought on if all that effort had been worth it.
Despite my travels were quick, each time I come back home, for me it was hard to get used again to the uneventful, normal life. I felt guilty. Having seen how my new friends and my relatives were living their day a day in the uncertainty of the war, I perceived my security as an undeserved luxury.
Some years later, my doctor advised me to put some distance between my job and me. Too much stress was taking a high toll in my health. So I left everything and took a plane to the US where I spent two years working as a stringer for a news agency from Spain in San Francisco. Two wonderful years. My nearest boss was in Washington DC. I was as free as a bird. I even earned enough money to pay my rent and live. I enjoyed the city a lot.