I did something kind of crazy last January. I sold the car I had had for seven years and I took a one-way plane ride to Turkey. I spent the following eight months spending all the money I had saved up, traveling around parts of eastern and southern Europe and northeast North America. Below is a brief review of the year and how it affected me.
In 2017, I visited 8 countries I had never been to before, read 35 books (32 of which I had not read before), lost my family dog and a dear friend without being able to say goodbye, and learned of the death of another friend I knew as a teenager. I learned to live without a laptop, without a car, and without plumbing. I had a couple miserable failings with romance and a few potential deep friendships cut short. I had to make some very difficult decisions. I lived out of a suitcase and a backpack, and then just a backpack, for months. I slept on couches, buses, and trains. I learned about gardening, cooking, culture, language, and history. I listened to so many people’s stories, and even lived some alongside them. I experienced some of my dreams come true. I wore myself out, physically and emotionally. For a while, I could hardly feel anymore.
I eventually landed pretty close to where I had launched from, and I was afraid it would feel like a backtrack, but it didn’t really because I have so much more life behind me now and I am still moving forward. I have slowly been regaining energy and strength, relearning how to do all the things I used to be good at, and starting to feel again. In the past few months I have acquired a job, a laptop, a car, and a place to live. I was even able to revisit some of the friends I made on my journey and spend Thanksgiving with them.
Life is pretty okay right now. I live literally a one-minute walk from my brother and his dogs, I have friends at work and others not too far, I have creative projects in progress and others to look forward to, and I am pretty healthy for the most part (besides eating way too many holiday sweets and tamales). I am not where I want to stay, but I am at least in a position where I can get on my feet again.
Thank you so much to all the friends who have supported me, listened to me, reached out when I was silent, stayed in touch when I was bad at it, remained close despite the distance between us, and never lost patience with me. This has been so important to me, and you are so important to me.