ONE YEAR OF TRAVEL: HARD STUFF AND EXPECTATIONS
The hardest stuff is officially over.
The hardest stuff is hugging my mother goodbye. It’s looking my sister in the eyes without tearing up. It’s knowing that I’m going to miss a year of my 11-month-old nephew’s growth, a year where he’ll take his first steps and speak his first deliberate words. For me, the liberation of long-term travel comes with a mandatory tariff: emotional turmoil.
I feel a lot of guilt. Most people in my life are quick to dismiss this emotion, with a simple, “Oh, Daniel… you can’t NOT go on this trip.” And I am lucky to have this response. I focus on the excitement, the adventure. But the guilt is a man who creeps onto my doorstep; he’s a drunken beggar telling me that I have too much. He’s truthful, yet complicated. I acknowledge him, and keep on walking, uncomfortably.
Goodbyes are indeed the blisters of the soul.
MUCH WORK STILL DO TO
I’m currently sitting on a BC ferry, bound for Vancouver where tomorrow I fly to New Orleans to begin a one-month volunteer stint with an organization that addresses redevelopment in the Lower Ninth Ward. I tingle with excitement with the thought of the interesting characters I will get to meet.
The metaphor of rebuilding/reconstructing is most definitely poignant. I’ve systematically released a mini, yet maniacal, hurricane of my own over the past three months, intentionally deconstructing my own comfortable lifestyle. In New Orleans, I don’t know what exact project on which I’ll be working. And I don’t know with what exact project I’ll be internally occupied. But in both cases, there is evidently much work still to do.
Still, just because I don’t know many of the exact details of my travels or my volunteer projects or my personal development, it doesn’t mean I am without expectations. I think it’s impossible to step foot into the world without some form of anticipations. I suppose my strategy has been to keep the expectations a broad as possible.
MY 2011 EXPECTATIONS:
To learn more about the world
To meet some very fascinating people
To feel loneliness
To understand more deeply what I want my greater purpose to be
To need to visit a doctor (somewhere for some reason, currently unknown)
To have my laptop or camera stolen (later, rather than sooner, preferably)
To eat unfamiliar foods
To watch some stellar sunsets
To acquire new skills
To return as myself, but more of myself
There they are.
I look forward to having them shattered.