Today marks the end of my journey around the world, circumnavigating the globe from Honolulu to Honolulu, going east and east until the circle was complete, crossing oceans and land via trains, planes, buses, horses, camels, and foot. I’ve explored 10 countries over the past 9 weeks, broke both my cell phone and my camera, and made numerous new friends along the way. It was certainly a once in a lifetime adventure I’ll cherish forever.
This journey started with a great need to rebalance after a turbulent last year in New York City. It provided me with countless hours of solitude under the stars of the Arctic Circle and the endless miles of the Trans Siberian Railway. It fed my heart and soul the deep reflection time it so desperately longed for. So did it work? There were certainly highs and lows, tears and laughter, soul searching and questioning, authentic honesty, and interesting revelations. So am I back to my pre-NYC self, no, but is that even possible? I’d say I’m definitely more balanced than before for sure.
As I sit here on Kailua beach watching the turquoise waves crash against the white sands of Oahu, it’s hard to imagine a week ago I was in the middle of the Gobi desert in a yurt eating mutton completely disconnected from the world. Wearing the same two outfits and not showering, but it brought me back to a rawness that made me question if we really need everything we say we do… I can’t help but smile remembering the joyful giggles of the two little boys as we played hide and seek, feels like yesterday and decades ago all at the same time.
Although I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights in all their glory, I did get to see real reindeer (that look nothing like Rudolph!) and hike the Lapland with huskies which were absolutely awesome. If you’ve read my earlier posts you’ll know I’m a hopeless romantic that believes in fate, so I’m taking this as now wasn’t my time to see the lights, it’s supposed to happen later, in another experience somewhere down the road. Only time will tell. For now I’m focusing on the fact that I did it, I really did it, I took the plunge, and went solo around the world, having so many awesome experiences I’ll never forget.
Which brings me back to the realness of today, the day my decision not to move to Hawaii becomes solidified. The door closed, I hate closing doors, finality, change. I like making plans and following them. Today is the day I have to admit to myself I changed the plan and I will no longer be following it. Hawaii is not now. Maybe later, but not now. No matter how much I wanted it to feel right it didn’t. The drive to my cousins house to pick up my moving boxes felt like eternity as my emotions were on a roller coaster of ‘Am I making the right decision’ ‘What if I change my mind’. Though deep down I knew, this is the right thing and I’m just wavering because I hate decisions that result in no.
Though aborting my plan to settle in Hawaii left me with the three boxes and two suitcases I’d brought over on the first load. This is on top of the duffel I’d been traveling with for the last couple months. United allows only three checked and two carry-ons, so after a bit of rearranging everything, I was able to cram it all down into the acceptable levels for airline travel. Over 180 pounds in the boxes and around 100 pounds in the suitcases. Let’s just say it was a lot for just me to handle, but it was free and I like free. Sure I could have paid to ship some of it, but why spend hundreds of dollars when a short period of discomfort and inconvenience means free?
As I drove to the airport with the windows down, the breeze in my hair, and sun warming my skin I couldn’t help but feel a little sad saying goodbye to the voyage, goodbye to the dream of moving to Hawaii, and hello to the realization I had no home, no idea where to go next, and no special someone waiting for me. On one hand I feel so incredibly blessed to have worked my tail off so many years to be able to do this trip, so blessed I didn’t have a complicated life to prevent it, but on the other hand, how I’d give up everything for that complicated life. The husband the kids, the family that keeps you grounded. This trip was my ‘no regrets’ trip, the last hoorah that says I’m ready to give up everything for love, I’ve done everything I wanted to do, and if I never get to travel again it will be okay because the trade will be so worth it.
The day felt like forever as it dragged on in this limbo of being tied down with an enormous pile of luggage, a feeling I’d seen everything I’d wanted to, and a fear maybe I’d missed something. By the time I got to the airport, the sun had set and the emotions of the day had exploded into an uneasiness that made me question if I was making the right choice. I nestled into the lounge, plugged my gadgets in for the long trek ahead, and tried not to focus on the overwhelming feeling of being lost, completely lost, with no where to go.
Being a nervous flyer, the more uneasy I feel in life the more uneasy I feel when flying. Given how the day was going I was sure the flight wouldn’t go well. Though something surprised me. Not only did United give me yet another upgrade to first class (I can’t believe they’ve upgraded me on every ocean crossing on this journey – it’s like they know the water freaks me out!), but I was calm. The skies had bumps, but I was calm. It was in that moment, lying down at 30,000 feet staring out at the stars and feeling this chapter closing, that I realized, this is exactly how it is supposed to be, this feels right. And East I go, again.