For this weeks Throwback Thursday I’m posting a blog post/ journal entry that never made it to the blog. It was written last year in mid November on my final night of Dirtbagging it– or living out of my car and traveling the United States. Enjoy!
Its 12:30 am and I know I will feel this late night tomorrow as I wake up and drive more hours than I slept home. Yet despite all that, the words lay storming in my mind waiting to stream out of my fingers and swim like migrating salmon onto the page. Tonight is my last night. The last stone of this path of youthful wandering. I have been wearing the skin of a wayward traveler for just over 5 months now. First in Costa Rica shouldering the guardianship of 4 students, then through the countries of Europe stuffed together like a premadonna packing for a weekend trip. And finally, a road trip around the country where old friends and new opened their doors and took my scarred hands into their own.
I have laughed, cried, rejoiced, and mourned while taking this soul journey. From my first night in Boise with forgotten, old friends to the weekend in Denver bonding with my sister and learning the lesson of wedding photography and homemade moonshine. To sleet and fog in the desert of Moab and high plains of New Mexico and the 10 hours of nothingness from El Paso to Austin. I remembered just how friends can balm a weary soul, no matter the many years and life changes exist between now and then. I visited friends of my mind and spirit in my old home of Baton Rouge and elated in the joy of seeing my old students even as the halls called in familiar ghosts. I traveled up North and learned the sorrows that exist when trying to help a young boy grow into a man. I built family bonds I hadn’t realized were in adequate as familiar battle wounds found comfort in old hands I hadn’t realized cared. Reformed old friendships in the comfort of like-it-was-just-yesterday.
I didn’t know what I was looking for during these past months. Didn’t realize I was running from the husk I hadn’t noticed I’d become. With my heart beaten into an unrecognizable pulp I was lost in a sea of maybe. I had spent 3 years dedicating my life to the lives of my students. Determined to be someone worthy of the title teacher. However in this drive I forgot on of my favorite adages “you cant care for others if you don’t care for yourself”. And my how spectacularly did I do just that. I hadn’t realized how much weight 25 pounds truly was until I started to gain it back. I became aware of just how little joy I felt when joy began to flood me on the small Isle of Eigg.
Every where I went I picked up small bits of who I was, or who I wanted to be. My travels took me to many amazing places, even better people, and all the while I was like Hanzel, or would that be Gretel, picking up the crumbles left behind.
When I arrived back to Seattle after Europe and began to analyze the changes during the first leg of my trip I wept. I had all the pieces. I could see all these little parts I had found of who I was and wanted to be laying in crooks and crannies and scars of my palms but I hadn’t put them back together. They were supposed to be back together!
The long hours on the road forced me to face the haunting ghost of alone and I have begun to emerge on the other side.