Reflections @ 6 Months

Thank you to everyone who wrote to me recently, I realize now that I projected an image of being quite pathetic a few days ago! I’m back in Kathmandu, looking at spending a week here as I wait for my India Visa to come through. I made the mistake of not beginning this process before my trek and am now faced with numerous days of queuing, waiting, queuing, waiting, and hopefully I’ll have a visa in my hand on Friday. Several people I met at the embassy had this turn into a multi-week saga. There are definitely worse places to be than Kathmandu. There is a great traveler vibe, an abundance of western comforts like book stores and coffee shops, perfect weather and cheap food. The major annoyances here are the tiger balm touts and excessive noise pollution. I didn’t do anything touristy on my first run through the city so I’m planning on seeing a few sights between coffee shop visits and blogging 🙂 I have not updated my blog since leaving Beijing over a month ago – sorry!

After my last post, I should clarify some things around my trip home. Its also time for everyone’s favorite post – my bi-monthly, “Reflections”. First, my decision to come home in December was actually made IMG_3904almost 2 months ago, during my travels in China. I reserved a flight using frequent flyer miles, knowing I would have the option to cancel the flight if I decided to stay on the road. I can’t quite recall my decision making process, but it was at this time where I began to feel a sense of momentum and speed to my travels that had gotten a little out of control. It was during this time that my plan to travel through Mongolia, back to Tibet and onward to Nepal and India became real, and the days ahead were no longer as free and open as I once envisioned. People since have asked or suggested – Why not just stop? Just sit still, change course and throw out all of the preconceptions? The irony is that this feeling was no different than one that nagged me the past couple of years at work. Its not that I didn’t want to go to the places I did – I very much did. Its more that there was an undercurrent of not being completely true to myself in some way or another.

  Its clear that there is something much more fundamental at work in one’s sense of freedom than outward appearances, physical location or commitment levels. Needless to say, I endeavored ahead. I saw and experienced an incredible amount in a few short months. I have not a single regret. But I am exhausted. I mentioned a few days ago that this feeling doesn’t go away no matter how much I rest. Its my body (and spirit I believe) telling me to go home and rest.

It’s not just for physical reasons that I am coming home. I’m considering my forthcoming time at home an opportunity, an exploration if you will. I significantly overestimated the amount of time I would have during travel for investigation of the more practical aspects of life. Examining career possibilities, networking with people from home and teaching myself Spanish were all on the list when I left. I laugh now, but in Japan I started a concept of using one day a week as a work day where I would sit in a hotel or coffee shop and do some of these things. The burdens of travel, the quality of Internet in 3rd world countries and the speed of my travels quickly made this an idea of the past. My notebooks are riddled with one liners and thought bubbles that require a 24 inch screen LCD, a comfy chair and Google to investigate more thoroughly. I find myself frequently wanting to reach out to call people, to discuss something, quickly to realize I’m nowhere near a phone or even if I am that its 4:37am in the Colorado. My business school professors would consider this a midyear review.

A midyear review in conjunction with setting ideas into action. This entire trip has been about ego deconstruction, self awareness and exploration of truth. Seeking to be a vessel of divine will, not a creature of whim and momentary desires. I’ve been able to sit with many different aspects of myself, digging deep into my habits and my conditioning. I’ve broken down a number of these to their roots, seen how certain fears and attachments to the past drive my actions and words. There are many, ohhhh so many, aspects of being that continue to ask for my patience and careful watch to reveal their true nature to me. The people and places of the world have been great gifts for me in this discovery process. But right now I want to experiment with the application of these gifts in my daily life in the place where I plan to spend a large part of my life – Colorado. The meaning of a retreat is to go away, reflect and to return. I mentioned in my 4 month reflections that long-term travel, the endless vagabond journey will never be my forte. I have collected many golden nuggets from this journey and my bag is getting a little heavy. Its time to bring them home and smelt them into something useful.

Why would I pick the coldest months of the year to return to Colorado? Well, steep turns in knee deep snow at Berthoud Pass comes to mind very quickly… 🙂

The truth is I’m just ready. I miss my family, my friends, the small daily joys of my existence in Boulder. And despite our countries share of problems and clear disregard for so many things – I’ve never missed her comforts and opportunities so much.

Goodbye Colorado

Yesterday was a very emotional day for me. I said goodbye to many people whom I love and to the town I’ve called home for almost 6 years. I feel an immense gratitude for every moment, every relationship, every hardship and every wonder that has occurred in these 6 years. It is these seemingly disconnected events that have made this journey possible. As I sit on this plane flying to Florida barely holding myself together, the only thing that prevents me from immediately turning around and returning home is that trust that I discussed several weeks ago. Trust that I am listening to my soul’s direction, trust in the love that our universe revolves around and the great unknown of every moment.

My life has found me crossing this threshold before – leaving Syracuse for London, returning from London after a year of discovering myself and new relationships, and most recently my move to Colorado from Pittsburgh, 6 years ago thrusting myself into that same unknown and leaving so much behind. There is one aspect of this departure that stands out significantly compared to the others.  That is that I anticipate returning. Boulder is the first place that I truly can call home since leaving my hometown many years ago. Of course I cannot say this with absolute certainty, but those of you who have lived here and even visited can understand the effect this place has had on me.

I am grateful to all of you: to my very best friends, my family, to those I’ve only recently met and for everyone who has influenced my life, from near and far. This blog will serve many purposes, but as far as I’m concerned, its primary purpose is to take everyone with me, if only for a few minutes a day.

The pressure of blue sky

It has been one of those quintessential Colorado weekends. Blue skies, 70 degrees and no wind. I was undergoing a slight battle with myself – fighting some unknown impulse that I should be outside and climbing or hiking or otherwise taking advantage of such perfect weather.  Its funny that even though I am currently unemployed the fact that it was also a weekend added to this pressure.

Where does this come from? I spent time with friends, relaxed, read, packed for my trip to Mexico and from most perspectives this was a great weekend.  I wonder if this is yet another area of life that I put undue pressure on myself?  I live in a place like Boulder with 300+ sunny days so that I DON’T have to get out every single nice day but can gladly choose what works best for me. If I really delve into this feeling, I think it comes from a fear of running out of time, of getting old, of only having a finite number of days to live to the fullest.   The irony is that as I felt the pressure to get out and do something ‘adventurous’ today I was detracting from whatever I was doing  in the moment.   This entire week has highlighted the distinction in my life between planning and being. There is a delicate balance that I am trying to master… more on this later.