"I'm fu$%ing lost."
The real truth.
I got a message late last night from a woman saying this, " I desperately need one of your trips, I'm so fucking lost." This came from a woman who has been tirelessly battling her own personal demons and has gotten to a point of being "fucking lost."
I got to thinking about the messages I send while traveling, the perceived notion that travel helps people find themselves, and all of a sudden, I felt a huge amount of guilt for seemingly showing the pretty side of how travel transforms without laying the foundation of HOW it changed me and WHAT in me needed to change. No one ever wants to put the ugly side of their life out for the public to see but the truth is, no matter how pretty the picture, or no matter how inspiring the quote is, there's always a side of the story that few get to hear; the hard part.
I think to some degree, we've all been "there". We've gotten so caught up in our lifes choices, both good and bad, that we simply feel lost. We want to escape the perceived hell we are living in and get enlightened. We want to escape. Run away from it all in hopes that in doing so, we will some how
"see the light."
Here's the real deal about me :
I was in a marriage that I should have never been in . . . for over 20 years. I did what I thought I needed to do. I was miserable. I didn't know WHY I was miserable, I only knew that I felt my wings had been clipped yet it was ME who had clipped my own wings to stay grounded enough to fulfill a role I was not meant to be in . For years, I dreamt big yet I did nothing. I complained that "he" didn't do enough but in reality, it was me who wasn't doing enough . . . for ME. I was projecting my own insecurities and fears on him, making it HIS fault for why I wasn't happy. That's not cool. It was all my own doing.
Fast forward 14 years to when I started my travel agency. I had always a wandering soul and this felt like the perfect fit for my personality as well as my dreams to promote and sell travel. My first few travel agent trips liberated me beyond words. I was on my own, I was free. I let myself out of the cage, so to speak. Yet, no matter how many great experiences I had on the road, I always had to return home and home was always the same situation for me: an unhappy place. I fought it hard for many years. I traveled more. I didn't realize that I was making excuses for not dealing with the shitty marriage I had found myself in. I ran. I looked for answers. I figured If I just saw a different horizon, I'd be better. That was not true.
Don't get me wrong, there have been many an experience while traveling that hit me deep in the sweet spot. There were moments that rocked my soul so hard I cried. There were times when I was so humbled by natures bounty that I felt tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, yet in those moments, I felt connected to a greater good. There were moments I felt so alone while traveling and in those moments, I realized, I was really okay with that. I began to see glimmers of the me before I clipped my wings out of perceived duty. It was not ONE trip that helped me, it was many. It was leaving and returning. . . over and over again, in attempts to escape my truth. The truth I needed to face became so blatantly clear that I needed to attend to it, head on.
It was therapy appointments. It was taking myself into the woods with my dog. It was crying. It was wishing I could get way again and get inspired all over again. It was sitting still and NOT escaping my problems. It was sitting still. It was thinking about gigantic trees and mountains that I'd seen that have weathered many a storm and that still stand. It was realizing that we are everything we need to withstand our own life's storms and I, like the mountains or the great ancient citadels that still stand amidst years of weathering, am capable of being on my own. And then, over the course of years, after hard core honest moments with my ex-husband as well as with myself, we pulled the proverbial trigger and got divorced. Fear rand deep in my veins but like anything, if we continue to fight what no longer serves us, we'll be miserable forever, making others miserable as well. I didn't want to be the cause of anyone else's misery much less my own, so I owned my shit and took the leap.
I've talked about the power of travel to transform lives because I honestly believe it can be a catalyst for great personal change. If I have learned anything from my own life's experiences coupled with the traveling I've done, is this:
You can't run away from your problems. No matter where you go, there you are. If you're sad, anxious, depressed, in a shitty relationship, battling addiction, whatever, the tendency to bring those attributes with you while you travel is still there. And upon return from your travels, those things are going to be sitting you on your front door step waiting for you to deal with them. They don't go away ... ever...until you face them head on.
In this put -your- best- foot -forward and show only the good stuff to the world society we live in, we are doing ourselves a great disservice . We think if we just find ourselves in a pretty place, and take a picture of us smiling and get a bunch of likes, that our existence will be validated and all will be okay. We create facades of a life we WANT to live but really aren't living.
Do I want you to travel and see the world? Hell, yes. Do I want you to have mind blowing experiences that help you evaluate how you see the world and yourself? Yes. Do I want you to escape yourself? No. Do I want you to run from the things that cause you pain? No.
I want you to sit with your demons. Seek help. Build a tribe of people who believe in you. I want you to be honest with yourself, real honest. Look at yourself, all parts of you and own the things you love as well as things you aren't so proud of. This is you. . . right now. It's not a forever destination unless you choose to stay in a place of unhappiness and not make the changes you need to move beyond your road blocks. Running from them will never help. . . ever. It's a band-aid solution to a much larger problem, please remember that.
I can only write this because I have lived it. I have taken the hard looks at every dusty, dark and lit up corner of my life and I have owned it. I have days where all I want to do is hop a plane and run for the Andes mountains and never return . . . .but. . . .whereever I go, there I am, I can't run from myself and neither can you.
When you are on the verge of a personal revolution, be open to everything and everyone who cross your path and welcome them in. Let your guard down. Surrender. You will begin to see your strength and sense of self return . . . and then it goes away . . .but it comes back . . .slowly. Before you know it, you'll wake up and realize you're doing pretty darn good.
Life will be become less about escaping but more about embracing it and that's when it gets good.
Viva la Vida, friends.
Viva la Vida.