Except that we didn't know anything.
Before we left, we researched our trip by reading a hundred different excerpts from blogs and articles about traveling the world. We had pack lists and pinterest boards and guide books and maps. We had excel sheets and several jobs and bank accounts that reimbursed ATM fees around the globe. We had jobs lined up for when we returned. But the one thing we didn't have was an apartment to come home to. We had try to sublet and after a couple people who were interested and then fell through, it got down to the wire and we gave up our beautiful big apartment in the best damn neighborhood in New York: Park Slope. I was heartbroken to leave this home, this home that we had worked so hard to get. This apartment with its beautiful big windows facing 7th Avenue, streaming light into our blue-walled bedroom. The open kitchen, the huge living room, the tiny office with the fire escape. The neighbors who were all cool. The kind of people you really could borrow a cup of sugar from. We had a crazy deal on the place and the minute we gave it up the rent went up. It was the first place I lived in that I really felt was my home. Everything in it was a creation, a collaboration, a symbol of me and Mike. We had put so much love into that apartment and then we gave it all up for another dream - a bigger dream.
|Me trying to talk with a bunch of kids in Tibet. They followed us around shouting, "Hallo!"|
I panicked when our move-out day became official. I doubted everything. We were at a crossroads. Travel or Stay here. Enjoy this sweet little home, unpack our wedding gifts, host dinner parties, repaint the living room a different color, start a family. It was hard to give up the one thing we actually did not have in place for our return - a place to live. And somewhere in my heart I knew this would come to mean much more than a roof over our head. It was the true anchor to New York. It was the carved out real estate we had made for ourselves in a city that elbows the weak out and rewards the strong by giving them roaches and rats as pests and hurricanes and Nor'Easters as seasons. It was home. But I convinced myself that this was the universe's way of telling me that there was a better home out there. I never in a million years thought we would come back from traveling and head west.
|View from my old apartment office|
And he said, I know.
|With friends at a friend's wedding the day before we left!|
Poor me, right? I traveled the world and spent all my money and boo-hoo, now I have to get my shit together in another fabulous city in the United States of America where I have wonderful friends and awesome family, an abundant support system and sunshine all the time. I know, I know. My misery does not deserve any company and this could be seen as the most grotesque pity party ever. I am so damn lucky. I have a great life. Even now. I am not a girl in India fearing for my safety or struggling for justice. I am not freezing my ass off in oppressed Tibet wondering when the next time the Chinese police is going to harass me. I'm not a young woman in Vietnam who can't give birth because I'm suffering the effects of a war that happened over 40 years ago. I'm not a girl in the Moroccan desert trying to schedule out how much clean water I have for the rest of the week. I have perspective for it all. I'm a privileged, educated and wealthy citizen of the world with experiences beyond my comprehension and about fifteen pounds of extra weight solely gained by excessive eating of delicious foods. And yet, sometimes, it feels like the trip never even happened.
That's the bitch of it all. In a blink, it was over. And sometimes, it really does all feel like it was just a dream.
One thing people tell you before you leave to travel the world is "Take lots of pictures!" But only when you return will you realize why. It's not for anyone but you. And when you look through your pictures, only then will you be able to feel just a piece of that fearlessness, a piece of that adventure, a piece of that part of you that made the best or stupidest decision of your life.
When you come home, your pictures will be where the trip lives while you wade through the current of consequences stirred from the bravest thing you ever did.