The toll it took on me.
If you know me, you know that I love to travel. Flying to new places away from home and immersing myself in new cultures has been a wonderfully enriching experience, one that has given me perspective, growth and inspired not just creativity, but understanding, patience and flexibility as I engage with people across geographic boundaries. For the last year, I found myself not home, but ELSEWHERE almost 2 weeks out of every month. Looking back, that was a lot of time, but I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Europe for the first time since studying abroad seven years ago, take my first trip to Africa, make extended stays at home in Minneapolis with my family. I also sprinkled in visits to New Orleans(thrice), Chicago (twice), Los Angeles (thrice), Florida, New York (twice), Las Vegas, DC, the Virgin Islands and Honolulu in there as well.
However, after I returned home from Dakar last December, I was just tired. Tired of security lines, red eyes, hotel rooms, delays, airport food and schlepping 75-pounds of luggage for two weeks at a time. And more than tired, I felt unrooted, disconnected and out of balance. Turns out when I made my home an airplane, my REAL home–the one in San Francisco where I sleep in my big pink bed, host my beloved dinner parties, eat with roommates and shoot the shit with neighbors on my stoop–had become as foreign as the places to which I was jetting. Coming home to hibernate away from the world only to leave six days later is no way to maintain a home, friendships or personal sense of equilibrium.
I haven’t been on a plane since December 4th, 2012 and that’s the longest span of time I’ve been on the ground in the past two years! Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am very fortunate to be able to travel so much. But now that I’ve been home, I’ve realized the the toll it took on the things I truly value that make me a whole person. In a way, it became easier to be away than home; now that I’ve nestled back into my routines, committed to community (hell-O Team In Training!) and re-established focus on my work, I very much appreciate the stability that a non-flying routine affords. In a word, I just feel mentally and spiritually healthier and it shows: my skin is clear and I’ve lost 20 pounds!
Aside from a trip to Chicago in early March, I’m going to be keeping my wheels on the ground for the next few months and I’m looking forward to rebalancing, refocusing and recharging. What it means in terms of NaturalSelectionBlog is that I HAVE A LOT OF EXCITING STUFF ON THE HORIZON!!!! All of the travel time (read: no WiFi and just a journal) have left me with a lot of ideas that are starting to sprout and come to life! So trust, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Now that said, you can take the girl off the plane, but you can’t take the plane off the girl. No really, you can’t because I’ve got one tattooed on my arm.
I definitely still have my eyes set on those distant far off horizons. But for now, I’m going to zip my desires to experience the rhythms of Brasil, flavors of India and vibrant metropolises of Morocco safely into my suitcase and pack them away until later.