How does one condense the experience of 13 months on the road into one blog post? I'll start with some fun and some numbers:
- I saw 17 World Heritage Sites
- I ate at four Michelin starred restaurants.
- I visited four continents, 19 countries, eight islands, and had my feet in 11 different oceans/seas/gulfs
- I used 24 different types of transport, flew on 34 airplanes, and took 32 trains.
- I went to the emergency room three times and had surgery once.
- I took part in eight retreats.
- I worked with innumerable teachers and healers.
- I learned to speak one new language and tried to speak several along the way.
- I fell in love.
To piece it all into a set of numbers doesn't begin to scratch the surface of how this year has changed my life but it offers a glimpse into how I spent my 9240ish hours on the road. Something I posted on facebook to my fellow travellers speaks to how this kind of travel can open your heart:
We have laughed - oh how we have laughed, we have cried, we have witnessed glorious sunsets and sunrises, we have run naked down beaches, we have howled at the moon. We have loved. Each of you has transformed the surface of my heart, the way I see the world, the way I move through my days. I will not soon forget the gift of looking into your eyes and realizing that we are all the same, we are all one, we are all simply trying to not just survive this crazy life but thrive and dream and stretch and grow. I carry each of you with me - each of the lessons that you taught will always be held dear. I will not forget the way the wind spun through your hair, the way your eyes lit up at the unexpected. I will not forget your courage, your hope, or your story. Thank you for your gift of companionship - even if it was just for an hour, a day, a week, a month. Whenever folks ask me about this year they always say in awe - OH - you traveled alone. No, no I was never alone on this journey. I had you.
I'm sure as time passes I will be able to more fully digest what this journey has meant to my life but for now I can say that I am transformed. I no longer live my life by shoulds or have to's, I no longer fear the possibility of myself. I walk more softly but I laugh just as loud. I see differently, I feel more, I cry easier, and love faster. I embrace the crazy adventure that is this life and don't feel the need to explain myself or my choices. I feel a freedom of self that I have never experienced before. Really all of this to say that this trip taught me to lighten the fuck up and have some fun - and for now - that is enough.