Well, tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the start of my Epic Journey. One year ago, I pulled out of the driveway in search of God, inner peace, purpose and a new way of life. As I look back on the ideals I had before I left, I think how foolish I was. I expected this trip around the country to change my life and change me as a person. My life has changed as have I as a person, but not because of the physicality of driving around from state to state. Seeing the largest ball of yarn or the ocean, those things did not create the change I am experiencing today. It was wonderful to see all the things I saw but much of it left me still wanting for something more.
Over and over again in this blog, I have mentioned how the people I have met have changed me. That fact is still true. This journey has allowed me to meet all kinds of people: ex-convicts, possible gang members, homeless people, wanderers, and everything in between. My perception of people has vastly changed. I have had the hardest of people look after me, without a request, while I sat alone in a bus station at 3 in the morning. I have had complete strangers care about me and my well-being in situations I never imagined. People I would have been afraid of in my old life have shown me compassion without expecting anything in return. My heart swells just thinking about it.
When I first came up with this crazy idea I was terrified to even speak about it out loud. I was sure my friends and family would have me committed. Then I slowly started to feel the waters and found out that everyone was ready to stand with me and show me support I never imagined. I could never have done this without them.
The people have definitely changed me. But there has been other aspects to this journey that have changed me also. Flying without a safety net (or not having a home base any longer) proved to more than I could bear in the beginning, then became more and more of a blessing as time ticked on. I have a home base now, but it is different in ways I still have yet to imagine. The concept of not owning much, which was scary at first, is something I freely embrace now. The weight of “things” has lifted and I can breathe again. Goodbye things, I do not miss you.
I have learned the difference between alone and lonely. I am alone a lot, and yes, I am lonely sometimes, but I do not have to be both all the time. Same with sad and depressed, I no longer let the sadness turn into depression. I have learned that having control over everything is like a prison, you are locked in and there is no way out. Giving up control, just like giving up things, is the key that unlocks the prison door. Trying to control everything is just too tiring and it never quite works out. These are just some of the things I have learned over the past year.
This year has been a year of changes and re-evaluating everything I knew before. I am still not “there” but I now have the first year under my belt and I survived. That is a glorious feeling. Now my heart is open to more possibilities and more opportunities. I am looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring. This journey is not over by any means, but it is easier to see outside of myself now. There really is a big world out there and it actually does not revolve around me. I no longer need to carry the burden of having everything in the world depend on me (one of my major misconceptions). I can now start to live a life that is open, even raw at times, but not closed off because of fears and uncertainty. Every new day is uncertain, I am learning to embrace it.
Here’s to experiencing more pain, more joy, more love….just more of everything. It is scary indeed, but worth it every step of the way!
From Ohio to North Carolina….I wonder what’s next?