“If we survive, the trip was successful.”
Then there was the changing of the seasons. “This is also a journey,” M said, “and they can’t take it away from us.” – Nadezha Mandelstam (from The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy)
There is always the prior road that leads you to the current road you find yourself on. The turns you chose to take even in self doubt. The bumps and fender benders along the way humbly reminding of your humanness. The wrong turns that bring you to an unexpected view revealing the possible. The roads that were never meant for a car to drive, so you have to get out to walk and hold your breath hoping you make it.
As my colleagues and friends prep their classrooms, walk picket lines, and anticipate the start of a new school year, I find myself on a different road. I knew it was ahead. I planned for it. I dreamed it to life. Yet, it gives me the uneasy butterfly feeling, the one you get before public speaking, the first day of school, or I get when I step off the plane into a new place. It is a feeling I love because I feel like I am embarking on discovery. Discovery of self, of place, of people, of a moment in time that will be like no other moment in time. Usually this time of year, I am introducing myself as a teacher. This particular year, I have chosen to be the student. I fully embrace the opportunity to open my eyes, ears, and heart to the world and what she has to teach me. My professor being the road, those I meet on her path, and the lessons she graces me with over this journey.
At the end of August, I went to Kauai, Hawaii with my brother, Matt, my sister-in-law, Macy and their two kids, Wake and Haven. I broke my toe a week before leaving. Split it open by bumping into a cement block outside, of the yoga studio I was leaving, after a wonderful session on earth and grounding. I have been thinking about my connection to ground ever since.
The experience made me feel immense gratitude for two things: my overall solid health and my current health insurance coverage. This coming year I have to cover my own health insurance cost. The task of finding coverage for national and international travel in case of emergency became more real after breaking my toe. I am a huge advocate for health care for all and my own search for coverage this coming year just increases this support.
Heading off to Kauai knowing Hurricane Lane was on it’s way made the trip even more precarious. I had multiple friends tell me of their beautiful trips hiking, snorkeling, and swimming in Kauai. Our trip held a whole different experience. One of 30 inches of rainfall, cancelled plans, unexpected new ones, and a whole lot of gratitude for whatever the day did bring. It reminded me that despite plans, I lack control and it’s best to ride the wave. I met some unexpected new friends, wandering souls, hanging out next to Hanalei Bay while I was often seeking cover from the rain. Kaleo, Todd, Justin, Kevin, Wes, and the guy who didn’t really want to share his sunscreen spray with me, but did (to ward off bugs) and when he heard I was going to the south of France wanted to show me cities that held his heart, they all became this unexpected group of friends. The brief moments we had there were full of a joy for music, art, and poetry. So much so that they gifted me a song even after my homecoming. Kevin and Kaleo’s jam (humble recording): .
Even with a broken toe and flooded wet roads I approach this life with gratitude and trust the journey. I have a month before I head out on my around the world-wind wandering trip. And 4 months before New Zealand. Still much to do before heading out on those roads, ready or not . . .