24 October 2015 – Six months before departure.
It sounds so skinny. Mini.
Yet I feel as though my whole life is lived here. Stuck here. Like a huge expanse of inescapable sea. Unable to settle into anything and feel as though it’s permanent. Always ready for movement and change. Like it is a sleeping lion, about to awake.
Unable to rest, for I may have to move. Never feeling like I belong and can be home. Because I am not complete. Being tossed about by the sea.
Life is no adventure to be embraced (although some ideas are – the reality is much less exciting). But lived on edge, waiting for a nightmare to run from.
“If only I had a partner, then we could start a journey together, settle in a place, together, be safe, together…” Then life would be allowed to begin…?
After eight months of movement, change and impermanence, it is no longer scary and stressful. Life is an adventure because I choose to see it that way. There is life and joy in the scary, unknown, and challenging. Even in the mundane. And I am not alone.
I’ve shared meals with, worked with, explored cities with, and had to trust, people I would not naturally choose as friends.
I’ve had to force myself to go outside and explore, even when I felt unsafe and anxious.
I’ve said a hundred goodbyes, some more painful than others, with the knowledge I will probably never see those people again, yet my story is now stitched together with theirs, in parts of its fabric.
I’ve gone from community to completely alone more times than I would like, and my heart has left pieces in so many of these places.
I missed people in Australia, and yet to be here meant that I was not elsewhere, with my new friends. Yet my new friends are scattered around the world, and my heart knows deeply that it will always miss someone, and some place. Fellow travellers in new places – situations that will never repeat themselves. Even if I return to the place, the people who made it what it was are long gone.
But to live in nostalgia is never healthy, and we all must continue to walk forward, with the hope that all that is learned and gained will be carried in our heads and hearts, not to just be held in a photograph to look back on.
To all the people who shared the journey – of all different ages, countries, beliefs, and walks of life – fellow travellers, roommates, hosts, and friends – in the end, you are why I travel. You make the places and the adventures more fun, meaningful, crazy and special, and I will never forget you. Thank you for being part of the experience and opening your homes, hearts, and arms to me (there’s nothing better than a good hug!).
Eight months, five continents, fifteen countries, and a lifetime of memories.