I’ve been on hiatus. This last month has brought thousands of miles traveled, hundreds of photographs, four American states and one Canadian province, three national parks, and a lot of neglecting the blog!
Jesse and I just finished our West Coast Road Trip – 2,531 miles from Kelowna, BC to San Diego, CA on Jesse’s motorcycle (see photo updates from each of our 11 days on the road on instagram).
It was an incredible trip with so much to write about, but I’m taking some time first to breathe, sort through photos, and appreciate what that trip, and this past summer, and really, whole year of travel, has meant.
This has been my wanderjar: my year of wandering, a post graduate leap into the waiting arms of the world. I traversed an incredible amount of North America, spent a month in Indonesia, lived in Canada’s NWT, visited friends and family from San Diego to Toronto, Denver and Chicago, traveled from the Canadian Arctic to the red rock canyons of Utah, went scuba diving in Bali and walked beneath Giant Sequoia trees, and now have officially traveled the US from top to bottom on its Pacific Coast.
It’s been so much, and I’ve tried my best to absorb every detail, every sunrise, and every breath of mountain or ocean air…
Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world: How you don’t have to live the way everyone else does, and how differently people around the world actually do live. How important it is to have grace in the face of challenges, to be resilient, and humble.That moments are fleeting and precious and worth savoring. And I’ve learned to be a better traveler.
“Traveling’s not something you’re good at. It’s something you do. Like breathing. You can’t work too much at it, or it feels like work. You have to surrender yourself to the chaos. To the accidents.” – Gayle Forman
In travel, and in life, there will be chaos. Despite our best efforts and preparation, we can’t plan for everything. You don’t know who you’ll meet (hey, Jesse!) or how connections made or missed will steer your life into places (Yellowknife, Indonesia, Chicago) where you never imagined you’d end up.
“Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.” – Anna Quindlen
Being a traveler has helped me appreciate that journey, and the little things, good or bad, that end up being everything. It has helped me be better at finding contentment in life no matter where I am, who I’m with, or what chaos is happening.
Whether I’m stuck at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal for five hours eating hot dogs with my mom and sister, after arriving two cars and maybe two minutes too late for the 4pm ferry, or alone in the Tokyo airport during an eight hour layover, or driving Jesse to the Stanley Clinic for six stitches after our dirt biking plans smashed a gash into his shin as he loaded a motorcycle into the trailer up a slippery ladder ramp in sandals, I am okay. I am whole. I have enough good things to sustain me.
I have enough sun to keep my attitude bright, enough rain to appreciate the sun, enough happiness to keep my spirit alive, enough pain to amplify the small joys in life, enough gain to satisfy my wanting, enough loss to appreciate all I possess, and enough hellos to get through the goodbyes.
I ride the waves of our adventures, and sink into the lulls between them. When Jesse leaves for Ontario to go to work, I do the same wherever I am. Work, write, recover, plan, pack, and hit the road again. I take what I can, and try to give more than I get. I want to make it all count. The miles, the meetings, the moments that slip by so quickly. Said so beautifully by John Muir, “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” I do. I want a good look. I want to live. Right now, that means movement.
Traveling, saying goodbye… I’m not “good” at it, but I’ve surrendered myself to the chaos. The missed ferries, canceled flights, the stitches and purple toenails, and all the laughter, small joys, incredible views and perspective that the trouble brings with it… this is our crazy life together, and apart. This is my nomadic life.