This is why I travel. I tangle my physical body up with the world I have in my head. It perhaps feels something like if one were completely obsessed with chocolate and then BECAME CHOCOLATE. I become the thing that I love by being a part of it. I love the world. I love all of its quirks and strange people and architecture and smells and customs. I love the smell of Southeast Alaska just like I love the hairline fractures, sprouting flowers on the sidewalk in Rome. I love the little boy crying in Spanish and the taxi driver who tried to rip me off in Barcelona. I love the recognizable sound of the market in Seattle. I love the teenage girl in gold, walking down the street in Oakland, arguing with her mom on the phone. I love that I get to witness these moments and be a part of all of them, even the negative ones. I feel so unbelievably lucky to be alive and to be me and I CAN"T BELIEVE I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE REDWOOD FOREST WITH THESE BEAUTIFUL BEINGS THAT HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR ME. I cry right now thinking about it.
Traveling isn't glamorous. I don't talk about sleeping in rest stops, bum showering in a gas station bathrooms, getting lost and frustrated for it. It's not for everyone. But those inconveniences are nothing but that. They are just what I have to do if I want to live the way I want. Everyone has to be true to their nature and stay as close as humanly possible to what they love. Don't venture out too far in search of things you think will make you happy, like money or a relationship. If you aren't happy with yourself and the way you are living your life, you are wasting it. You don't have to do what I'm doing. You shouldn't. I shouldn't do things your way, either.
I sometimes wonder if other people feel the same way as I do about traveling and experiencing these things. I don't know, but I didn't see anyone else crying and smiling in the Avenue of Giants.
Sometimes, I wish I could find someone who is like me in this way. Sometimes, I wonder if there is anyone out there like me. I get discouraged about meeting that "right" person, because I feel so specialized . Sometimes, I feel like a cherry pit removing tool in a drawer full of spoons.
Ultimately, at the end of the day, I get to go to sleep knowing that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life. How many people can say that, every night? Nothing can beat that feeling, and nothing can take it away. It is the deepest, most invigorating emotion. It makes all the pain of uprooting my life and sacrificing a future with someone I loved, worth it. I am happy in a way that makes me feel guilty.
Do I deserve this?
I struggle with enjoying the moment. It's hard to turn my worrying brain off and take a look around. I have a lot of self-doubt, still. But, I am learning how to be healthy in my outside life so that my inside life, the one in my head, doesn't have any negative ammo to hurt me with. That deep feeling of contentment conquers those feelings of self-doubt and worry.
I finally feel like I am winning at a game I didn't even know how to play not too long ago.
I can still smell the bark and their leaves. I can still feel the coolness of their shadows and the warm slivers of sun slicing through the openings. I can feel the heavy presence of them, so confident and bewildering. I am still mesmerized by how dwarfed I felt. It was so quiet. I tip-toed around barefoot.
I am both a 25-year-old woman, standing in a forest, desperately trying to make sense of the world and her place in it,
and that baby
safe in my father's arms, sitting in that Previa van as it tinkers down the winding curve of California.
These things are both existing now, together.