Once again it is time for my two-month summer blog hiatus when I laser in my writing focus on my present manuscript and hopefully some fun Facebook musings during my adventures. Last year’s travels were all about healing and perspective. And as I reflect on the place of greater wholeness and hope from which I set out this time, I am reminded that in many ways the greatest journey is the interior one.
My dad had a globe in his study; a globe so big that as a little girl I couldn’t get my arms much more than half way around the equator. Its countries were faded blues, pinks and yellows, and peeling like old scotch tape on discarded wrapping paper. They had soon-to-be outdated names like, Rhodesia and Siam. I would stand on tippy toes, give it a spin and look at Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia whizzing by. In 1969, when I was five, our class watched the first lunar landing in stunned silence. It was the only time in kindergarten that we were allowed to watch the television during school. While all my classmates gawped at Apollo’s footage on the moon, I was mesmerized by the shots of our own planet from outer space.
Forget the silver spoon, when I was born, slivers of my spirit were scattered across the continents and oceans of this earth. Now, if I stay still for too long, my internal compass, spins and whirs, willing me to move in a new direction. And so, I go in search of those slivers. Not that I don’t feel whole, I do, but it is as though each new journey strengthens, mirrors, highlights another facet of this wonderful life I have been gifted to live.
I’ve found those slivers in many places:
Amidst the scents of wild lavender and thyme in the hill villages above Nice.
In the curious touch of a child in a Calcutta slum.
Sipping craft beer flights at a Coloradan brewery with my artist buddy, RoZo.
In the meditative grandeur of an orthodox monastery on a misty peak in the Rila Mountains of Bulgaria.
Peering into the turquoise crater of a Costa Rican volcano.
Playing in the waves with New York friends at Folly Beach, South Carolina after the 2017 eclipse.
Roped together with my fellow-scouts to traverse a glacier in the Austrian Alps.
Surrounded by 2000 year old constructions and 2000 stories in the Colisseum or along the vertiginous Pont du Gard.
Where two oceans meet but never mix at Cape Horn.
Awestruck in front of murals and mosaics in Mexico City.
Kicking down the cobbled stones and sharing savory tapas with a bestie at an Andalusian café.
Cycling through the Sonoma Vineyards.
Hand in hand and barefoot along the beach leaving footprints and memories with each step.
Road-tripping in my trusty blue Subaru along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Treating my taste buds to Masala Dosa breakfasts in Dehli.
Wearing the vivid, hand-sewn fabrics of Malawi.
On a tiny boat, carrying medical supplies to the Chiloe Islands of central Chile.
In the sandy silence of the Kalahari at the midday zenith.
Through the laughter and conversations with locals and co-nomads.
Amidst the stumbling and stuttering of new languages.
In the deep breaths of every sunrise and sunset, I pause to appreciate.
Over a cozy, home-cooked meal and bottle of wine with friends who have become family.
These slivers are intangible. I cannot see them. I just feel them.
I know when I stumble across them, because they make me feel home, for a while.
I can find myself wherever I go, and so I feel like I belong wherever I am.
These slivers weave a story within me.
I become stronger, smarter, and more self-aware with every journey I take.
My perspective, understanding, and sense of gratitude soar.
With every decision, difficulty and uncertainty I face through my travels, I grow.
And it thrills me.
Through every smile and wrinkle of the earth’s people; through every mountain and metropolis of our planet, there is infinite wisdom and adventure. It is ours to seek, and explore, and embrace.
And that is why I cannot stay still.
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain
Beautiful, Joanna. Happy trails! Can’t wait to hear about your new travels the next time we meet!
Thank you, Jilanne. I hope to see you again before the end of the year.