The Long Way

20140907_214515When we got near Buenos Aires, there was a pretty intense storm. I had my face stuck to the window to capture the beauty of it all. I was slightly surprised that we were flying right into it but strangely, I wasn’t scared. I guess I was too excited to be feeling anything else. I have been thinking about coming back here for quite a while. But only in the last few months was the feeling very very strong. I am not sure why but I just needed to come back. And stay a while. A week wouldn’t do. No, I had to revisit my life here. I am so glad to be bringing Michael. It’s a completely different feeling traveling with someone. And right now, I need his moral support.

When I liv20140908_172930ed here almost a decade ago, I was a different person. At least I think I was. I feel like the places that have defined me have been the ones that have most challenged me. And Argentina was the best and the worst, in so many ways. I knew before I landed the first time that I would stay here for a while. I wasn’t sure why but I just knew I would stop moving from place to place and take a rest. I had been traveling non—stop for three years. So it was time for a break. Some part of me knew it was home. At least for a while.

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Reconstruction Zone

There are only three sleeps left before I begin my next big adventure. I am just starting to feel gurgles of excitement from the deep depths of my traveling soul. I have not traveled like this for years. It hasn’t been since my last RTW (2002-05) that I have really felt free. And if I were to be completely honest, I don’t think I have been truly happy either.

The past four years have been quite a struggle. I have faced serious health issues, major loss, and endured acute trauma. I outgrew my job at TravelPod, ended an abusive relationship, and confronted my oldest, most powerful demons.

There are some things I will never get back. Like my friend who took his life last Christmas after an unsuccessful battle with depression. And my bike that took a hit from a careless SUV last summer while I was on it. And though I am trying to maintain my eternal optimism, I am now more likely to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I guess what it comes down to is that these past few years have made me more honest with myself.

My double decade long flirtation with death finally came to an abrupt stop this past year. My moment of truth came 20 months ago when I decided that I would rather live than die. They say when it rains, it pours and I was drowning in this flash flood. My tendency towards self destructiveness was amplified from moderately toxic to lethal when suddenly, everything came crashing down at once. A dangerous combination of random events put me in a precarious position. In no time at all, I was in over my head. Normally I am pretty resilient but finally I reached my breaking point and became overwhelmed.

I was in a sharp downward spiral heading into a black hole. After crumbling to my knees at lightening speed, I identified that I was smack dab in the middle of a serious crisis. Fortunately there were a few choice moments of clarity which rocked me out of my stupor long enough to initiate a call for help. It took a lot of humility to admit just how far out of control this runaway train had gotten. It was devastated that for the first time in my life, I couldn‘t “handle“ this alone.

My predicament had gone beyond the scope of a friends and family fix so I didn’t waste time talking to them about it. After a frank discussion with my doctor, I enlisted a team of professionals. Just to be sure, I hired a second line of defense and alternates for those backups as well. As I had fallen through the cracks before so I made certain I had extra insurance. The gravity of my situation had finally hit me and I realized this was my last chance. I couldn’t afford to lose this war which had deeper roots than I had ever imagined.

I did everything right, followed all the rules, and began the harsh uphill climb that would be my recovery from a very dark dark place. In order to ensure my success, I isolated myself from anything that could knock me off track including everyone I knew. I dropped off the face of the earth for a year, informing only a few people that would be “away” for a while.

I signed up for an intensive program which had me challenge my entire belief system and deconstruct my fragmented foundation. Then it would arm me with the tools needed to start from scratch and begin rebuilding my constitution. It was a sobering moment indeed when I began to comprehend the true origins of this disaster. I did everything in my power to replace my deadly state of denial with life affirming decisions.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. I can testify. I also found it to be bitterly cold during this transitory phase. Those who know me have an idea of what lengths I will go through to avoid chilly temperatures. But there was no getting around this deep freeze. If I wanted to do it right, I had to go through and bear it before I could experience the thaw.

What learned is that there were parts of me that had been “frozen” many years ago. Certain things had happened in my past that in essence, stopped time. In order for me to heal those hurts, I had to go back and revisit them. This is not an easy task and was not only confusing but downright scary at times.

Becoming healthy became my full time job and although there was a steep learning curve, I now seem to be winning. For the most part I am keeping natural, eating well, sleeping, and exercising regularly. I know it sounds trite, but somehow adherence to these simple routines is making all the difference.

Grateful for admittance.

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You Are WhereSheGoes

WhereSheGoes is a collection of stories, letters, poetry, and experiences written by women just like you. This site is a free forum for women all around the world who want to tell a story of inspiration, share a moment of laughter, and learn about ourselves through each other. No matter where we are from or what we do, we are all sacred mirrors for each other in the journey called life. Finding our connection is just the beginning of what is our powerful existence.

Years ago, a young lady decided to write down her thoughts and reflections as she traveled alone around the world. She unabashedly shared her innermost feelings and challenges. Over several years, she thoroughly described her experiences so others could know “where she goes”. Originally her online diary was intended for her family to keep track of her, but it turned out many could relate to her sincerity and open heart. After many letters of gratitude and encouragement from her readers, she began to understand the meaning of courage. She found that the more honest she was, the more rewarding her writing became. She was inspired to create this space where other women could safely express themselves and support each other in this great adventure we call life.

WhereSheGoes is an opportunity to witness and participate in authenticity in action.

You are invited to contribute your prospective about what you have learned, experienced, and created in your life. Travel tales, love lore, and reflections on self discovery are just a few of the topics we can explore. Happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointment are all emotions on the quest for truth. Send us your words and we will post them to share with all our sisters. Specify if you would like your name and/or city credited, otherwise entries will be posted anonymously.

Send all submissions, comments, and feedback to: whereshegoes at gmail dot com

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the after shock

Shattered and shiny
Frazzled and frayed
Your story was solid
You were not afraid

But suddenly they came
Like shadows in light
Took over your being
Enlightened your plight

Shot back into past lies
Your loss now became
Like lightening to thunder
Your truth was your shame

Flashback to pureness
Define what you know
Foundation you question
Like ice turned to snow

Your crystal white castle
That held up till now
Infiltrated slowly
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BE the Change you want to SEE

The things I am learning right now are just how important it is to be responsible with my energy. It has been easy in the past to just do what I wanted because I really didn`t think that my actions affected anyone except me. I now am beginning to comprehend how naïve that type of attitude is. And it can have disastrous results if one is not living to their potential. I cannot know what results my good deeds will have but I need to be very aware of my mistakes. It is sooo hard to admit them but recognizing and correcting our faults will have a stronger lasting effect to the development of the human race. All my good efforts will have been in vain if I cannot overcome my obstacles. read more

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REALLY Happily Ever After

So. How does it feel to be home? I feel different. I feel a little wiser. A little more weathered. A little more genuine. Life. It`s not all peaches and cream. But it is real. And real matters. Real feels. It feels to a level and intensity that nothing superficial can touch. And now I know that is a fact. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to substitute and short cut my way through…for one reason or another. But I just can`t simulate the real deal. The authentic article produces a result like no other. I may get amazingly close and even fool a lot of people (including myself). But in the end, there is a sense of emptiness. A nagging tug that something just ain`t right. read more

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Dear Darkness

Dearest Dark Side,

Never again. I am wise to your ways now and I will not be misled. Now I know what you look like. I have seen your face. You`ll NEVER defeat me. Through this battle…I have discovered a key. In trying to destroy me, you have strengthened my character and created a legend. read more

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Body Heart Mind Soul – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The day before I came back to Canada, I got a bellybutton piercing. I wanted to do something symbolic to ritualize the end of my trip and it was one of the safer, more reversible (not to mention non-committal) options. I got three stars with diamonds in them which graduate from biggest to smallest, hanging vertically. One for each year I was away. I had three romances. The first lasted one day, one was a week and the last went for one year. I lost three cameras. read more

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END the page BREAK this way BEGIN

End the Break way Begin

END the page no words are left
From then to now the hand has lept
One door closes slamming shut
Before another opens up
Stand alone dark long hallway
As echos of what was now fade
Its that moment in between
When all the seams just seem to seam
In front down low beneath the door
Above the floor a crack no more
Creeps through a light of sunlit fuzz
Fun sounds excite a static buzz
Click goes the catch now come what may
Invites step forward come to play
Enter this play to move within
New chapter starts this way BEGIN

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Mission Statement

This is what I learned from traveling. They started out with simple concepts like packing light, writing a journal, not wasting, sharing, playing, paying attention, listening, trying new things, and keeping balance. I was able to expand them into my own personal mission statement. What`s yours? Everybody has one…whether you have written it down or not. How do you choose to live?
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