I am on my way back to America. It is an extremely long journey. One that would have seemed impossible three and a half years ago. It will take nearly 72 hours.
I can remember many trips to Florida from Arizona that could take up to 6 hours. I remember thinking to myself—that is absolutely unbearable— how will we do it?
But traveling is like any endurance activity that I do—whether it is swimming, backpacking in high elevations, cycling long distance.
Like endurance sports, there are ups and downs; highs and lows. There are hours that go by seemingly instantaneously while others seem to feel like I am crawling to get there.
There are times that I can feel motivated to work and write and feel happy just looking out the window. And then there are moments that I am overwhelmed by the inhuman scale of the trip as well as the airport itself.
As though my humanity has been stripped and I am left there standing empty and confused.
At times my body and mind seem to merge with this large collective mass of people and lights and shops and sounds. I lose track of where I am, what time it is, if I have all my things.
All that said, I am also able to honor the sweetness of this time that I have all for myself.
In Hong Kong, I find a free “relax lounge” with leather loungers where I sleep and smile to myself that I can be in such luxury at an airport. I indulge in all of the free food on my 12 hour Hong Kong Airlines flight back to America. I enjoy the spacious upgrade seat that the woman at the counter gave me for free.
On the FlixBus from LA to Tucson ($24), I actually enjoy the cozy ride with the reclining chairs and more humane pace (than the long flights I have just taken). I breathe in the desert air and remember how much I love this land.
This journey back to America is dramatic. It covers great distance between two very different lives.
On the one side is the life I left three years ago. A life I lived for nearly 25 years where I strived for comfort and stability. In many ways it was a beautiful life with a loving life partner. But that was not the comfort and stability that my soul was crying out for.
And there is the life I live now. I am a citizen of the world. I have a different kind of comfort and stability. One that most people would not consider comfortable or stable. One that honors the uncontrollable, unpredictable world that we live in. I do not have a home or car and virtually no payments.
Whether I am cycling or backpacking, or hitchhiking, I have comfort in knowing that often I do not know exactly where I will sleep each night; allowing the flexibility for spontaneity and creativity.
I have comfort in knowing that I can create my own adventures.
I have comfort in knowing that I am being true to myself.
I work hard, just not in a traditional way. I push myself to physical limits that I never could have imagined. I am dedicated and passionate about communicating how liberating it can be to challenge yourself, face your fears, and dare to dream really, really big.
I am starting to do this through writing and creating videos. It is in this process of moving through the world (bicycle, etc.), and creating (through writing and video), that I can best express myself and hopefully encourage others.
It is a beautiful, magical way to live. But it is not always easy. After many hours of travel and lack of sleep, my mind can get negative. In these times, I use the strategies that I learn and practice in meditation. And remembering that it is not always easy to be chill in the tough times. But I can be present to them and accept the moment. I can manage my expectations. And know that the tough times will not last forever.
I know this kind of travel is not for everyone. Not for most people. But we all have the potential to create our own adventures. Something that challenges and may have some unpredictability. When I get myself out of my comfort zone and push myself further than I could imagine, I start to realize how much untapped potential I have.
Like the cycling or hours of silent meditation or any other endurance activity, I remind myself of why I am doing this. I am paying a cost for something that is worthwhile. There is always a cost—for action and inaction. I am always weighing the cost.
I am learning that life is a practice of patience, presence, and letting go of expectation. Challenging myself allows me to practice these skills. It allows me to witness my strength.