FEEL YOUR FEELINGS

Travel brings about certain feelings that you just must let out in some sort of expressive manner. I suppose that is just life, but when you are alone in a foreign country, you feel life intensified.

 It seems as though all of your emotions are extremely heartfelt, whether a moment of sadness, frustration, or elation, it is felt in its entirety.

You become consumed.

There is nobody around you to pawn your thoughts off to or to ‘distract’ you from your own mind. When are you alone, you are wandering, marveling, and interacting.

The smile you exchange with the wrinkly, bright-eyed Burmese woman is felt through your entire body. It captivates you. It is pure, raw and felt from each layer of your heart.

You are lost in that moment, sinking deeper into the depths of life’s connections. Your mind drifts off to wonder about her family, her upbringing, her daily life, and her happiness.

Instantly, you are brought back.

Dogs are barking all around you, chasing one another, scavenging for food, and trying to impregnate their friends. There are about 15 of them now circling each other. Some are trying to play and others are trying to escape. You become wrapped up in it, thinking about this society of dogs. All around you these dogs exist in various parts of their cycle – eating, sleeping, barking, chasing, itching, sleeping, eating.. More thoughts arise. These dogs are free. They roam through the fields and through the city, doing whatever it is that they please. Are these dogs happier than those of our western homes? Are dogs meant to be immersed in a community of similar creatures or to be loved gently by a human?

Sounds of laughter break up your train of thoughts and as you look up you see three little girls covering their mouths as they ride off on their bicycles. As you lock eyes and share a smile, these squeaky giggles echo louder.

Two young monks walk past, sharing an umbrella.

Your eyes shift off to the women in the distance. Their sweaty, winced faces are covered by pointed bamboo hats as they work, keeled over in the fields.

How much money do they make? Do they do this everyday? Is that woman carrying a baby as well?! What would I sound like if I did their work for even just one day? I am so privileged..

My god it is a beautiful day.. The entire scenery just paints a scenic portrait. These three little birds sitting along the telephone wire above these incredible women perched up in the tall green stalks with the bright blue, clouded sky decorating the expansive ceiling.

Life is truly so breathtaking.

The sound of life existing around me right now is whispering the most peaceful, delicate tune in my ear. Closed eyes, open heart; I pause, soaking in all that is going on inside of me. There is as much to observe on the inside as there is on the out. 

A soft smile appears. I feel it. Then eyebrows raise and one sweet tear glides smoothly down my cheek.

Happiness. Love. Beauty.

 I am engulfed in it.. It overwhelms my whole being causing this drip of life to inch its way out of my eyeball. I am so affected. It is just an incredible thing to feel life so strongly.

Let life move you. Let yourself drown in its ups and downs. Cry when life is too good. Cry when you see tragedy and suffering.

 FEEL. SMILE. LAUGH FROM THE DEPTHS OF YOUR BEING.

Live with no barriers. Allow yourself to feel without limitations.

Breathe in everything around you and watch how it fills your body. Use your empathy. It is your greatest tool to connect you to the world around you.. We are all one entity. Empathy could save this world of most problems.

We only inhabit this Earth for this one life. Why limit yourself from feeling it to the fullest? Experience it. Sadness deserves to be felt in its completeness as well. Sometimes, life is sad. Embrace it. Feel it. 

 

SLOW DOWN

I am going to start a series called “What I have learned traveling long term…”

I am no professional. To some of my friends at home it may seem as though I am so well traveled and experienced, but to those out on the road, I may be another yuppie. I am not trying to declare myself anything, just a girl roaming around trying to figure out little bits of this world.

So what have I learned thus far while traveling..?

Slow things down!

This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is your life.

It is okay if you miss out on that last temple or volcano hike. There will be other opportunities. If your body is telling you that it needs to sit this one out, it probably does.

The last thing that you want while traveling is bed rest. Well… now I can think of about 200,000 things that are worse while traveling, but nonetheless, if your body needs rest, take it.

You cannot have this “FOMO” while out on the road because it will run you down.  Trust me, I have acquired issues from double ear infections & sinus infections to the flu to questioning dengue fever and MUMPS.. I mean really, who gets mumps?

Things come up. You will get strange insect bites and wounds from your motorbike. Viruses and infections and everything in between will come your way.

I could go on to write about the hospitals in each country that I’ve visited, which may actually be a good idea. The point that I am trying to make is that traveling is not going to be easy. It is not going to be luxurious all the time. It is not going to be something you want to shout from a mountain top when you come across your first trip to the hospital or the first time you really mess things up. It will however be worth it.

In every trip that I have taken within the last few years I have had disaster after disaster occur. I won’t even talk about everything that I have had stolen… But really, situations have happened, but you know what? Each of those experiences shaped me.

Flights missed, doctors visited, and Iphones stolen have each turned into their own story. I can now laugh at the encyclopedia of traveling fuck ups that I have accumulated.  And man.. they are pretty funny. Stick around and I may shamelessly expose a few of them.

For the good, the bad, the sticky, frustrating, ugly, and glorious moments, slow things down.

You won’t get much rushing from country to country – temple to temple – or mountain to mountain when you don’t stop along the way to smell the flowers.

Even if you have the most kickass immune system, your body can’t move as fast as your spirit can.

Take the time to reflect, write in your journal, paint a picture of that mountain, whatever gets you going. When you are sitting at home, wishing you were back on the road, you won’t be wishing you saw that last sight. You will be wishing to have one more day spent experiencing.

From my past trips, I have realized that the moments that resonate the deepest are those that are the subtlest. A lunch spent with a local family or laughs shared with friends from around the world are what I think back to.  I treasure the companionships that grew from sitting on rooftops or trudging along on another grueling night bus together. When I go home, what I long for the most are the slow days with the best company. I dream of the little moments that I would have missed had I been hurrying along.  

So there you have it.. Some people may tell you differently. Some people may enjoy rushing along checking off different countries on their bucket list. For me, slowing down my travels typically brings about some life changing moments that I would not have encountered otherwise. I don't push my body to its limits because I have learned that it will always backfire. Breathe, relax, and enjoy the rollercoasters of this grand adventure because it slips away into nostalgia real fast.