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I feel times in my life when there is an insatiable need to disconnect, get away, clear my head, spend time alone traveling and exploring not only all that is presented around me in the bright colors, sounds, and tastes of a foreign land, but also a need to discover what is within myself, to discover myself. The truth of the matter is there’s a point when running away seems to be the only viable option to survive with oneself. The mysteries of the unknown, and the uncertainties and naked dangers of new, exotic, unexplored places are nothing when weighed against the struggles of your own emotions and having to look in the mirror at that person everyday and see the regret and judgment in the eyes staring back at you. Travel seems like an escape, a distraction, and the ocean has always been my repair shop, my therapist.
So, when the gypsy wind blows across the water and through the trees, and rustles your hair like a loving older family member would when you were a small child, it gently whispers in your ear, “come...see, unburden your eyes”. You can’t ignore its push. So; you pickup that magic little booklet of stamps and visas, and blank pages awaiting the next mark, you put on your hat, and follow your feet where they may lead. That’s what I did, 7 months ago, I ran away. I ran with the breeze. I ran away across oceans, borders, date lines, half way round the world, and found myself fleeing from myself ultimately. Trying to escape my own shadow.
The strength to jump into any unknown adventure has always come to me easily. It takes nothing more than stride, a smile and the desire to survive, a will. The most difficult part is separation. The distance from loved ones eats away at the soul and hinders any true euphoric feeling of happiness. Being alone with only your own thoughts and dreams can be terrifying, but it’s that fear that keeps us alive, it’s the space between where we can slip into. The distance creates a strength found only within, that can only grow from a lone heart, surviving.
We as humans are social creatures, and crave society around us, we crave attention, we crave acknowledgement, we need a pack, but like wolves we are capable of surviving as a lone wolf, and in that solitude, we are open to learn more about ourselves than ever possible before. For me, that is the scariest part, discovering about myself, jumping into the vast pool of my own consciousness and swimming around. Being alone, completely independent, away from social pressures, losing oneself in the endless horizon of the oceans is the perfect canvas to do that, if one is brave enough. It seems like an escape, but I’m not sure what it is an escape from. With each new pinpoint on the map, every foreign country, language, climate, and new world discovered, there is always your shadow following along with every step. The person on the other side of the mirror is always there staring back waiting to be acknowledged. It took me months into this adventure, this journey, this distraction, to realize that it was never an escape path, as much as I had used it as that, but a learning path, a self- growing journey. I ran away from my pain and depression expecting to hide from it behind the facade of a world trek, to smother it with the distraction of this adventure, and every day I miss where I ran from, I miss the ohana, the friends and loved ones that I left behind. But the process of rebuilding or self-medication is the same anywhere you are. Traveling to new places and experiencing the life I do, is a dream to some, but for me it is my job. My profession takes me across longitudes many don’t get to experience, but my dreams take me home, to a life I long for. My path now, my adventure, is a chance to repair myself and reflect on the experiences that I’m challenged with every day into my own self growth, towards a time when I can finally live out my dreams, at home, happy.
“If you wonder where your heart lies, look where your mind wanders”. There is only one place my thoughts go to every time, no matter where I am, the beauty and wonder that surrounds me in any instant is muted in comparison to the picture that consumes my mind. From the bone gripping cold of the Baltic and the Nordic countries, it was the warmth of those smiles that I miss from home that filled my heart. The vast and endless days and nights across the Atlantic, under magical skies and chasing sunsets, were eclipsed by tender memories of embraces and special moments shared at home, in another time, in another life. The separation and loneliness turns the simplest little memories or special times into gems, like a rock of coal into a diamond. Those shards of sparkling light and magic become our own most precious treasures, holding them so tight you can almost bleed from the thought’s sharp edges. Our memories and love kept alive in our minds treasure chest, kept locked under key. My treasures are where I find my happiness, in my dreams, where I’m home and happy, living another life. My dreams are what keep me going. My dreams are where I’d rather be.
The characters and culture I experience traveling around each bring a lesson with them. Everyday I have to take a deep breath, soak in all that is around me and slowly let go a little more, surrendering to this life’s path. I wouldn’t have guessed or chosen to see myself back here again, 8 years on, but here I am, traveling again, to new and familiar places, alone. A captain of not only this new yacht, but also of my own self, continuing to learn and become comfortable with the mirror.
I long to return to where my heat sings for, to walk proudly back to where I scurried away from, but I cannot yet, not until the head is clear, the soul is repaired and the shadow forever following is not a burden but a treasured friend. I continue this path, hoping I know where it may take me, following the gypsy wind, trying to look through eyes clear and unburdened.