We made it, 2020 is in the books, really all the books - we're living through the contents of future history lessons. Where were you during the pandemic? That's not what I'm here to talk about though, old news, overdone, saturated. This post serves both as a reflection as well as a look to the future, but maybe what I really need to do is ground myself in the present. I spent the better part of the first day of 2021 sorting through old pictures. I knew the minute I opened Pandora's box it was a bad idea, emotions were about to be evoked, and in my already iffy (Wisconsin winter) mood this was a risky move to make.
For the last 10 years my life has bee one adventure after the next, but that's no surprise. This is the first time in 10 years that I have been in Wisconsin longer than 6 months with another 18 on the horizon. When I signed up for these two years, by committing to to grad school, friends asked how it felt to be grounded for so long and when the last time I made such a commitment was. I laughed it off, the last time I made a 2 year promise? College... since then it's been a year here, 6 months there, flying by the seat of my pants with no one to answer to. I have to admit though, this is weird.
With school in full swing, the arrival of a new niece and a beautiful Wisconsin fall, I had little time to think about myself. All of the above came to a close together and I was suddenly presented with loads of free time, cold and a longing for the adventures I'm accustomed to. Had it been any other year I would be writing this from a beach somewhere, but alas there is a global pandemic and I'm [trying] to be mindful of my actions. Instead I've invested in the life I have here and am trying, so desperately trying, to be content with it.
Until today, when my silly brain thought that sorting through the last few years of pictures would be a great idea. I've worked through 2016, '17 and '18 and have already laughed and cried. I've longed to be on beaches, climbing mountains and eating food, but most of all I miss, long for, and cherish the people that have been a part of all these stories. I wholeheartedly appreciate and cherish each and every person who has played a role in my life story, and hope to see them all again. Whenever I reconnect with old friends, travel buddies and partners, I'm met with surprise by my remembering each person, but how could I forget them? The people I shared meals with, drank until the early mornings with, accepted generosity, learned or taught a lesson, how could I ever forget them?
I sometimes catch myself down the Instagram black hole and wonder how my travels [and life] would have been different had I done it all with a partner. I do believe it would have been just as amazing, but also so, SO different. I have no doubt I would have missed many connections and I'm not sure I could have traded that. It has often been my status as a solo traveler which has forced me outside my comfort zone, talk to strangers or accepted help or guidance. When I'm with a friend or partner the mood isn't the same, we're already a unit, not always in search of additions. Being home, among coupled up friends and family, I've felt the loneliest I have in a long time, oh the irony, but can I be mad about it? My choices until this point have put me here, I've had adventures and relationships along the way that have made me the person I am now.
I don't do resolutions per say, but I've been trying to refocus myself. Getting back to this blog, my passion for the written word and emptying my head [so it stops waking me up at 4 am to chat] are at the top of my list. As 2021 begins, I look back on the last 10 years of adventure and am grateful, astonished, and proud of all the things I've done, places I've seen, and friendships I've made. Even the accidents, broken hearts, scars and mistakes because those are the parts that make us human, make us humble.
Emptying my Head
I'm an overthinker, my brain is always on overdrive. Sometimes the thoughts are pertinant to life, and other times they're just a trove of wonder. They're usually about, related to or in memory of travel. When they're good I like to share.