Do you miss your family and friends?

[[Note: This was a personal email home]]

Yes, I miss you guys.  Just thought you should know.  Everyone always asks if its hard traveling and being away from my family and friends, and in most cases I say no, but recently, it is.

Sorry, this isn’t going to end with a, “Guess what, I’m coming home!” kind of message.  Even when I run out of money (which will be happening sooner than anticipated, oops), I just wanted you guys to know that I miss you and love you and would LOVE a giant hug from one of you right now.  You know, one of those hugs that lingers a little too long and then you start to tear up a bit?  

I haven’t had one of those in a while.

Nothing’s wrong.  Well maybe PMS is promoting the overly emotional email, but I just wanted you guys to know that even when I’m not writing or calling or texting, I’m thinking about you always.  And I love you.  And I do wish I could see you, even if only for that one giant hug.

Please don’t take this as a cry for a visitor though.  While I would love to see you, I know it’s not really possible right now and that’s okay.  I’ll be okay.  I’ll be more than okay, I promise.  I’ll be back to my overly confident and bursting with joy self in a matter of days, so much so that it’s sickening.

Just felt like you all should know that I love you guys.  And I am so grateful for all the support you’ve given me over the past 10 months… and year-ish… and all of my life, really.  Most people don’t get that and I feel truly blessed.

Do I have bad days?

Someone asked me yesterday if I ever have “bad days” because I’m always so upbeat and energetic and overly positive.  Of course I have bad days, every one does.  Even in paradise.  Even on the beautiful beaches of Bali.

I finally broke down

I was walking home from yoga two nights ago, a peaceful 20 minute walk alone on the beach (at night) and it finally happened.  I broke down.  In tears.  And called my mom.

She immediately knew something was wrong.  But nothing was.  And everything was.

I finally had that meltdown moment.  The one that I always felt too guilty to have because I’m in paradise living the dream and I’m not allowed to be sad.  I don’t think any one thing was wrong, just a mix of everything and nothing.

Again, it’s these stupid PMS hormones and the non-stop feeling of exhaustion that’s getting to me.  It doesn’t help that I’m gained tons of weight and my bank account is running low.  But despite all of that, just talking to her for a few minutes put everything back into perspective.

Thanks mom.

Calm your mind and the rest will follow - Max Pankow Adventures

Your people matter

While you didn’t actually fix anything (lol), it was exactly what I needed.  I knew what this moment felt like.  I had it once before.  November 5, 2015.  Yep, I remember the day.

I was in South Florida and I met my grandpa for lunch that day.  When I left lunch, I drove away from home, towards the beach.  I checked out a wedding venue (that I hated) and continued driving to the beach.  Something was calling my name at the beach and this was so strange for me.

I parked the car (I remember the exact spot), I grabbed my yoga mat out of the truck (I didn’t have a bathing suit or towel), and I sat peacefully on the beach listening to the waves crash.  I even went into the water wearing my maxi dress.  I was breaking.

I broke.

It took me months to realize that was my breaking point, but I finally realized and I took action.  It was horrible.  It was painful.  And it tore my life apart.  But it was necessary.

And the other day, it happened again.  The walk to the beach.  My body collapsing in the sand (without a suit or towel) and the waves crashing in the background.

I couldn’t tell if I wanted to cry or “be strong”.

You know how sometimes we have that option?  So I called mom.  I knew the tears would quickly follow.  And I knew I needed them.

Thank you

So I just wanted to say thank you to you guys for always putting up with me— the good and the bad.  The crazy middle-of-the-night monkey bite phone calls, the late-night (your midday) drunk calls, the crying over life calls, the overly excited I’m never coming home calls, all of it.

Thank you.

I miss you a lot and really would love a giant hug from one of you right now.  I think this is the point where I really start to travel alone and learn how to deal with myself, with the ups and the downs.

Until now, my days have been filled with adventures and awesome people and partying and non-stop fun.  They’ve been filled with what felt like an never-ending bank account and the ability to go on like this forever.  But now, reality is setting in and I’m scared.

I know I talk a big game (and usually I follow through) but this is going to be my ultimate test.

Can I do it?

I’ve dug all my holes so deep.  Not just one, all of them.  Money, family/friends, health, weight, job (or lack thereof), and its going to be interesting to see how I climb back out.

We’ve all been waiting for this.

So while everyone thinks that it’s all fun and games, reality is starting to kick in and I’m a little scared.  So send me a hug and a kiss once in a while.  I’d love that.  And I promise I’ll do the same.

Love you guys

Love you guys more than you will ever know.  Today a little more than ever, and every day a bit more than the last.

I started typing this up as an email but I think it’ll make an awesome (and honest) blog post so I might publish it on the blog (which is up and running by the way but I’ve been keeping it a secret and I don’t know why).  I think it’s time for me to grow up.  Feel free to read along and COMMENT on the website itself and share on social media and do whatever else will make you feel happiest.  I’m not caught up yet (nor will I ever be) but that’s not important anymore.  What is, is that I share my journey and experiences so I can feel like we’re all here, together.

Love you guys,

Xx your favorite person in the whole world (because you know that’s true)


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  • Princess, we love and miss you daily too! This email made us (Emma and I) cry. But we are so proud of you! Continue to explore and be the best proton out there. Dream big, live bigger!

    • Ahh Sam!! I love you and thank you!! I miss you and Emma so much and I am so sorry that I am not there to see her grow up. I love you both (and Adam too) from the bottom of my huge proton heart. I wish I could be there to hug you and kiss you and give Emma lots of little baby kisses <3 Miss you Princess!!

  • Max I love you so so so much !! Your such an amazing extraordinary human being !! Sending lots of lingering hugs and kisses my friend

    • Thank you Kami!! Love you and miss you tons!!! I hope you are filling my shoes and keeping my mom on her toes at home!! She needs to have someone to worry about and love and give lots of hugs too. Steal a big one from her for me… please!!! <3

  • Oh honey! Your post really got me teared up. I love your writings and your travel tips and one day soon I hope to give you that hug on your turf LOL!

  • I really loved this, Max. It’s so genuine and I think everyone can relate to a moment like that. It’s interesting. I read the part of you dealing with your ups and downs and it’s like any relationship. You figure out the limits, weaknesses, strengths, and how to handle situations best. It sounds like you’re doing that with yourself right now which is so rare and not many of us have the opportunity to do. What a great strength you will have after this and what an incredible leg up. Keep up the amazing journey and keep inspiring all of us to chase our dreams! Big hug from an extended family member.

    • Ahh Rebecca, thank you!! You are so true!! Its exactly like a relationship… but this time, with myself. Its crazy to see how you handle things when you’re all alone (with no family or friends). Thankfully technology is an amazing tool and I really feel all the love and support from you guys even when we’re halfway across the world. I cannot wait to see your upcoming adventures!!

  • Max! You are the epitome of girl power! I think what you are doing is so powerful and inspirational! I love you and look forward to reading all your blogs! Sending you a big hug and kiss!
    Xoxo, Viki

    • Aww Viki!!! Thank you!!! Miss you and love you!!! I see that you and Jesse are planning a trip to Japan… is that true?? If so, I am going to want all of your tips!!

  • Max, we love and miss you so much! Even when I’m in the middle of a diaper and forget to text you back, you are always sending a little Bali sunshine my way, thinking of me and Scott on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day even though I don’t even think I would remember what day of the year it was if I was surrounded by all the beauty you are right now!

    My beautiful, amazing, bubbly and cherished friend of 14 years (haaay old lady), what you are doing is amazing. It’s something we all dream about, and something I would never have the guts to do! I am so proud of you and how strong, independent and brave you are. I don’t know when I’ll get to hug you again in person, but I am sending a huge one to you right now to go along with your Mom’s (yes, they are amazing.)

    I love you! And I love the new blog!

    • Omg Liz, you and Scott are my two favorite parents <3 There’s no way I could ever forget that!!! Ahh before I even read the second part of your comment, I started typing that you are probably one of my oldest friends and then I looked up and saw you posted that too!! Miss you guys tons and I cannot wait to watch your family grow then give everyone big hugs and kisses when I see you again!!!! Xx

  • Max, So here I am at work with tears coming down my face from your post. I am so very elated that I had opportunity to meet you and know the woman you are. Its a beautiful thing to experience the joys and trials of your family. Its even a more fabulous thing to see you follow your dream. To travel and to be independent and to be able to share it with the world!!! PMS and all you sound great just like you were standing beside me watching the 4th fireworks!! Scott Peck wrote in the Road Less traveled “Life is hard and when we fully understand that- its easier” I have come to count on the hard days make the good days even better. Know that your enthusiasm is contagious and your dream is well worth living!!! With love Nancy C

    • Nancy, thank you so much for your amazing message!! I completely agree with you and I love that quote!! I hope everything is going well at home. Miss you tons xx