I haven’t written a word in almost 6 days. After a shot of nyquil and pulling myself off the couch I’ve been sprawled across for the past 3 days I realized I owe it to myself to write something. So this is what I’m going to write. A blog. I texted my friend and asked what I should write about and she responded “Inspiration.” Touche.
I remember an older version of me… one where I lived freely and openly. I haven’t felt that way in a while, until recently. I forgot what I was really after. The declaration declares we are born into certain rights: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s right there in front of us, teasing us… The PURSUIT of happiness. It’s not given freely, which we know, however it’s understood differently. To me, it’s a challenge.
Oh yes, I will pursue. I will pursue my happiness until conquered and then pursue some more for my friends and family. Living an uninspired life is like forfeiting your right to pursue your own happiness. There are protocols we mindlessly follow that lead us to a dead end. Every time. Same dead end. And then we start over. Sometimes people learn to recognize the dead end coming before the reach it, sometimes people go down that same road a million times until they collapse, under the “dead end” sign and wait to die.
Time is a hot commodity, however unlike money we don’t know the value of ours until it’s gone. I’ve never been a gambler and refuse to think in terms of “the rest of my life.” What can I do now? Working every day to be a better person, setting up long term goals so that I’m not in a loop of aggravation and despair. Realizing that in times like this my heart is guiding me towards the right path, but my brain is fighting it by saying “No! Stability! Don’t stick out of the crowd. Keep your head down and do what they’re doing.”
HA. Not happening. Watching a movie or TV show and having a response to it is an inspiration. An inspiration to get off the couch, turn it off, write something better, do what they did or take what they did and make it better. No one is going to jump out from behind a wall and say “Hey. I’m here to walk you to your happiness. Just sit down, buckle up, I’ll do all the hard work and you just let me know when your mimosa runs low.”
Inspiration is all around us. Not identifying it for that is a personal error, not a system error. I’m inspired to live a life of love, adventure, struggle, happiness and beauty. I forget that. I forget that I have lived it before. I lived for 5 months in the most insecure, awkward, worrisome conditions while I backpacked through Europe. I was able to stop and see the amazement of it, but more so when I was out of it, knowing how it ended. Which is why the book I’m writing about it will be successful. I started the journey so scared I could barely get myself to the airport to then having the time of my life to returning to the States an accomplished woman and roaring to go onto the next adventure.
Three years later and the adventures have been few and far between. I lost that part of me. Luckily, it was returned recently and lit the flame of want and desire. Obstacles that come my way are ladder rungs cleverly placed to help me climb to the top. So that is where I’m heading…
Excerpts from my journal, while in Europe:
Forget fairy tales and your “one true love” fall in love 100 times over. Give yourself repeatedly until there is no more of you to give. Open yourself up to the universe and receive what it gives. Take that blind leap of faith into the unknown – you’ve known you’re known – and where has that brought you? Live for yourself. Quit your job and move to Italy. Quit your job and work your passion. Talk to strangers as if you’ve known them for years – most of them are not so strange. Tell your kids you love them and they can do whatever they want in the world – because you do, and they can. Give money to a homeless person, but look them in the eye when you do it. You may be surprised what’s worth more. Listen to that little, nagging, voice coming from deep within, that is your soul telling you what you want. Regress to your childhood. Throw a tantrum – it’s the most natural form of frustration. Laugh it off. There’s no point in holding onto something that is not holding on to you. Open yourself up to anything. Money is not a bubble. It will not protect you from dying. It will protect you from living. Don’t be angry at other people when you are really only angry at yourself. Keep yourself up at night worrying that you are wrong and nothing is connected and we’re all just floating. Ask yourself WHAT IS THIS? Tell yourself THE OTHER HALF OF THIS. Be Free. Be You.
What happens when you are in the act of travelling is you find every step a little heavier. You continue walking, you know you’re headed somewhere and if it’s a foot more, a meter more or a country more – you’ll get there – it exists. You have an aim, but (sometimes) more important a target. You know where you’ll land. The 20 kilos (40lbs.) on your back seems to know the closer you get to take on last minute “water weight.” The sweat starts d r i p p i n g down your face, your lips become the most chapped they’ve ever been, your pants are slipping under the muffin top, your hair falls out of its pony tail, the strap on your purse breaks, there’s a rock in your shoe and you have to pee- but you don’t stop. Around this corner? Is this the street? What’s it called again? Is that it? There it is! Your pack is lopped to the ground and you yourself lop on the closest bed. It isn’t a full minute even until you’re in the bathroom adjusting those hairs and emptying that bladder. Ready. And there it is… a new city. What happend 10, 20 minutes before is nothing but a memory. This is Amsterdam.
By day is one entirely different thing than by night. I awake in a strange place, a stranger’s place every morning. A souless room filled with a weary, recycled sense of wonder. I get up when I wake up and take my time getting out the door. Once I am out the door I am owned by the city, inch by inch for a set amount of days. The feeling of sight seeing greediness sets in. I have to see it all or it doesn’t count. The exhausting day haults in the middle at a point of a complete listless malaise. Wandering around, alone, with my thoughts lets my mind explore parts it wouldn’t normally if I were to be preoccupied by bills, reservations, saturday night plans or any type of future arrangements. I’m living my dream – I should be skipping through Rome, looking at amazement at everything. Closing my eyes to smell the smell of the Romans, feeling the feel of the Romans… instead caught in this crossfire of doubt, guilt and worry. What is stems from I can not be sure. What is grows into – well, that’s the power I hold over myself – a yet-to-be-determined future. Oy, the pressure!
The dusk flows through the sky. Is this day over yet? I settle back into the state of disposable freedom in the hostel room and get ready for another solitare night of a cold shower and a few chapters of East of Eden. Inattentively making small talk with my roommates. The question is posed – What are you going to do tonight, do you want to come out with us? The toss up… The answer.. of course I’ll go.
By night and the first bottle of finished wine the fog has completely rolled out my body and there is nothing but this bright light shining through. To me, from them, from me to them… we’re all having the time of our lives. These are the moments we came to travel for. This is why we’re here. If you were to blind fold me I wouldn’t be able to tell what city I was in. With the mix of Australians, Germans, Canadians, Brazillians, Italians surrounding me I could just as well be at the Manhattan Inn on 30th St. and 8th ave. I know I am not though, because there is this underlying feeling of uncomfortableness because I am not in my safety bubble. There is no shield. Here it is… here is the world.
What has sent us on our travels varies, story to story. Some of them are just checking things out, studying, visiting someone or other and then there’s the rest of us with no return ticket. We know why we left but as Joel, my finnish friend pointed out, we travel to find a reason to go back.
One thought on “The Traveling Opus.”
Duffy–this is the first time I have read your blog. Loved it. the bit you wrote while on the road reflected such passion, such excitement for the next adventure. You’re right…fight to keep that part of you. It is too easy to lose in the hum-drum of everyday life.