Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Endings

May 3, 2013

The time has come to pack our bags and head back to the United States after four exciting, frustrating, fulfilling, hilarious, touching, life-changing months. So much has happened along the way, and I have felt the changes happening in me as they've occurred. I noted lessons as I learned them. I got to see this world, myself and the United States through different eyes, and those moments provided some of the biggest perspective changes I've ever experienced. I grew closer to our film crew and documentary subjects than I had expected. I met a new type of person on this trip: those who travel for a living. The worldly person. The global citizen. I feel like they've given me some of their drug, and I'm addicted.

I'm expecting to be asked many, many times once we get home: "how was your trip?" My initial response would be in the form of a question, "how was the last four months of your life? Go ahead, try to sum it up in a single answer." All joking aside, this trip wasn't just a trip, it was my life. It's how I lived, worked and played for a third of a year.

I met and hung out with people who created businesses that affect our lives on a daily basis. I met people who have started social movements and covered major news stories on the front lines. Each of them was down to earth and willing to share their advice. They were just like any other person on the ship. It encouraged me in my own future. I'm also just another random human and with the passion in the right place and the right amount of hard work and drive, I can achieve anything I set my heart to.

With that encouragement and sense of excitement comes an odd sense of emptiness that both Matt and I have. Matt described it as climbing a huge mountain and coming to the summit and finding a cloudy day. We know we made it, we have a sense of success, but the view which was supposed to be an enlightening 15,000 foot view of all of the interworkings and components of our lives, how they interact with each other and how they influence one another, was instead a mushy, complicated mess of clouds, and we can't wait here for the sun to burn them off. We have to move on and allow our minds to process what we just went through, and it will come into focus as we look back from further on in our journey.

Our next steps are to re-assimilate and get to processing what just happened. We'll slowly make our way down from the mountain and back to "real life". I'm sure the emotions I expected to feel now, but don't, will come. I'm sure they'll come in waves like they did as I got used to ship-life. I'm sure some old things will feel comforting and others will be unsettling that that's the way things used to be. I'm sure some relationships will be stronger than ever and others will wain as I grow away from them.

One absolutely vital piece of the trip was Matt and I's relationship. It's tough to move into a world where the only alone-time escape is in a 5x5 room with fold down bunk beds. Our experiences drew us together and bonded us stronger, and I'm so thankful for that.

I can't wait to see what's next, and I can't wait to face it with my best friend and amazing husband. Side by side, we're moving forward. "Keep going," as Pedro would chant. We're going to miss everyone from this trip, but in this day and age, we're no further apart than we decide to be. It's not goodbye, it's a big, fat "heeeeeello!"

"...every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end."