March 11, 2016

Symbols of strength

Five months ago, I left familiarity to chase curiosity. To test my definition of home and follow new conversations. To see if I could find pieces of myself scattered elsewhere. Anywhere, if I looked hard enough.

I thought that this was the scariest decision of my life. I thought it was the choice that would shape my year, that it would be the one moment that changed me.

I was wrong.

This may sound shocking, but swapping country codes and living out of a suitcase doesn’t exactly come easily after your first step out the door. It makes things a hell of a lot harder and a hell of a lot lonelier. It makes your days interesting but exhausting. It forces you to come face to face with the baggage you thought you left in your closet, and it makes you choose whether these things will build you up or tear you down.

Leaving impacted me, but it didn’t change me.

Setting out to do things differently isn’t about the first step. Even though it’s the one you play out in your mind a million times. Even though it is terrifying. "Different" doesn’t just happen. It forms slowly, after a series of steps. And it doesn’t just show up on your front porch. You have to keep moving, keep walking, every single day. It takes effort, and it doesn’t get any less scary.

The last few months have had their fair share of eye-opening, soul-filling moments, but they have also thrown me the most defeating and confusing days I have ever had. They’ve made me question everything, but they’ve also made me a bit bolder and a lot stronger.

I wake up each morning and make a choice—a conscious decision to continue the chase. I have yet to call it quits, but still, I think about it. Then I remember that if I focus my efforts on changing one small thing each day, I will see a different picture by the end of this. And that’s the part that’s worth more than I can see right now.

It isn’t always easy to believe that I can handle more movement, but I’ve found that the best way to fight my inner doomsayer is to surround myself with things that will remind me how far I've come. To look at old tickets, scribbled notes, photos, and other trinkets of travel. To count all of the steps I’ve already taken. To see them as symbols of strength.

I may not have what I set out to find just yet, but I have discovered much more than I ever expected. And when I look at these tangible reminders, I see it. And I remember why I’m pushing for that one small shift each day, why I’m living in a caravan, why I don’t have a normal paycheck, and why on earth I am stuck in the middle of a windstorm attempting to write a book.

Your world can change remarkably if you just change a piece of it each day.

You just have to remember that you can handle it.

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