TL;DR: I used to write a blog back in 2006-2010 when I was traveling around training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve decided to do something similar for the five weeks I’ll be spending in Portugal and Germany, starting July 1. This post contains some backstory, and in the interest of fair warning, future ones will feature me being my irreverent self. There will be jiu-jitsu, and there will be other things too.
Almost exactly eleven years ago, I left my life in Chicago—including job and home—to drive around the country training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had been living a perfectly fine life in Chicago, but a few things happened to make me realize I needed a change. One day I woke up to the fact that jiu-jitsu was the only thing at the time that I was passionate about, and I wanted to feel more of the joy and enthusiasm it made me feel and less of the heaviness and ennui the rest of my life made me feel. It was the first time I had done anything even remotely like that, because I had generally been a predictable, straight-arrow person. So you can imagine that uprooting myself like I did was terrifying and exhilarating at once, but I had gotten to the point in my life where I was unhappy enough that I thought I needed to make a grand gesture.
Fast forward to now, two jiu-jitsu belt promotions and two black-belt degrees, five home bases, a memoir about my experiences, and, one hopes, a soupcon of wisdom later, and I am still on the search, though now I have a better sense of how to look. I have also developed a clearer sense of what matters to me and what does not, which makes my decisions simpler, though not necessarily easier. I have become more stationary, finding a home in Philadelphia and central Jersey, close to where I grew up. Since I spent so much time traveling around, I figured back when I decided it was time to settle down I could just go to where I already had some roots. It was a great decision.
I still train and teach, and I have added life coach to the list of stuff I do. This arose naturally out of my interactions with people in jiu-jitsu: As anyone with a passion can tell you, something like jiu-jitsu can become far more than a hobby. It can permeate your every waking moment and even some of your sleeping ones. It becomes more of a guiding principle than something to fit into the few available spaces of a life. This can cause fear and confusion among those of us who are not quite sure how we went from being “normal” to actively appreciating it when our friends physically attack us on the regular. Many of us need to work through our thoughts and goals about the role jiu-jitsu plays in our lives, and as I have taken on more of a leadership role in this world, I have helped more and more people do this. Eventually, I earned a certification to make sure I was first doing no harm, and as it turns out, I am pretty good at this life coaching stuff, if I do say so myself.
It is not surprising that after I learned more about life coaching I would develop an interest in other modalities designed to help people self-actualize. So, before long, I applied and got accepted to a master’s degree program in mental health counseling. And since I will never fully be able to get away from a somewhat itinerant existence, I was not completely surprised to find myself deciding to spend five weeks in Portugal, with a detour in Germany. I will be taking two counseling courses in a new setting, trying to pick up some Portuguese, and revisiting German, in which I used to be somewhat fluent. And there is lots of jiu-jitsu in the vicinity. I leave on Friday.
When I traveled eleven years ago, I maintained a blog called Prancing and Sucking. The name of the blog was inspired by my friend Anahi, who, when she found out I was going to travel the continent training jiu jitsu, commented that it was no fair that I got to prance around the country, and that I sucked for being able to do it. That blog has been relegated to the Wayback Machine, or perhaps the dark net, but its memory lives on in the hearts and minds of those who read it when they were bored at work.
I cannot resurrect Prancing and Sucking, but I can initiate the sequence that starts version 2.0, a blog I will maintain while I am traveling and studying in Europe. I am open to suggestions about what to call it. Here are two of my own ideas:
- Strolling and Sniping (too tired anymore for sustained prancing, and possessed of a crabbier disposition than I was 11 years ago)
- An American’s Textbooks in Lisbon (you can see why I am open to suggestions)
Those who have grown to tolerate my neurotic, self-deprecating, stream-of-consciousness writing style will be ambivalent to learn that those qualities persist. I still find myself hilarious, which makes at least one of us, and I intend “play to the cameras,” as my friend Karen would say, to try to craft the best stories possible out of my overseas adventures.
We realize you have a variety of jiu-jitsu/travel blogs to choose from, and we thank you for your attention to this one.
And although this travel blog is mostly for fun, I should include a call to action for the sake of business. Want help crafting your own life adventure? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me at www.valerieworthington.com.