We spent the month of December as nomads, roaming between the homes of friends and family who generously welcomed us (thanks y’all!). It was a whirlwind of catching up and being amazed that people had managed to have birthdays and new babies while we were away. (In my mind, everyone else remained frozen in time while I traveled. Turns out, not the case at all). It was a soft landing to return back to our previous lives.
The soft landing can only last so long, and eventually (January, time of so many new beginnings), it was time for one for us. We gathered our things and moved to Austin, where we know only a few people. I know very little about the city. I don’t know what we are going to do for work. But now that the last box is unpacked (okay, I have one left, but it’s just going to wait for a new burst of motivation), it’s time to address the burning question on everyone’s mind – what are you going to do for work? (Okay, I think it might actually be — when are you going to have babies!?! but I’m not answering that here.)
I haven’t felt ready to write a post wrapping up the trip until tonight, when I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down…and I felt ready. The trip was amazing. Most importantly, I think it gave Tommy and I the chance to really grow as a married couple and learn to work together better, be more patient, and understand each other’s way of communicating better. I cannot articulate very well the changes there, but I can feel them every day.
I think I have become a little gentler on others and myself. I made an unconventional choice, and I feel more openness to others who make unconventional choices. There are a million ways to live, many of which I haven’t chosen yet, but certainly I don’t know the future. I never dreamed I would take a trip for 14 months around the world. I’m sure plenty of people thought me a little crazy and irresponsible. It was the right choice for me. So – whatever to those people. And I am working on being less judgemental of others. We all have our own challenges and rough roads, poor choices and regrets. I don’t need to heap my foolishness or scorn on top of the climb for someone else. Keep yours off mine too. Being out of the loop of gossip within a circle made me appreciate more how very pointless and damaging it all is. I’m sure I’ll slip and I know I already have, but at least I have turned my face toward a different direction.
I have gained peace with less planning. By nature I am such a planner, wanting to research each decision in order to make the right one. Travel doesn’t allow for that, and often surprised us with delights in the least expected ways. I don’t need to make a plan for everything. I can trust that God will carry me forward. Patience.
I place more value on taking care of myself. I am more aware of my need for personal time and more aware of how to fill that time for maximum satisfaction. I am more spritually aware than I would have been attending church and listening to sermons each week (at least that’s how I feel). I can see my perspective a little clearer, and I have more peace with the fog and doubts that travel with me no matter where I go. Experiencing other religions in small ways only enhanced my own relationship with God, as did lots of quiet time away from the hustle and bustle.
I am excited to turn thirty in a few months. My twenties have been filled with surprises — marrying my college sweetheart, living in NYC, working in finance, starting a healthcare business with my Dad, taking a trip around the world….if you had asked me at 18 – not a single one of those would have been in my expectations for my twenties. Without a plan for work or really much else, I’m excited to see what adventures my thirties have in store.