Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Yesterday was my official One Month Until Departure to my next travel adventure: Vietnam and China. The countdown reminded me of what a nice time in my life this is — being home, time to pursue personal projects, friends and family close by, and the joy of being in the Sonoma County for the quiet and slower pace it affords — and how I have to appreciate it while it’s here.

I keep telling myself “enjoy the moment” before I go away again. Simple things have felt deeply important: coffee with friend, evening walks around the neighborhood, breakfast with my mom, morning tea with my cat, hours of personal writing time — little things that remind me: this is home, now.

It reminds me that a deadline shouldn’t be necessary to feel this kind of appreciation.

* * *

I had dinner with my friend J. the other night. She has spent the last 8 months traveling through India and Asia. Change was apparent: Her hair was blonde and stylishly cut, she had many stories to tell, and she looked softer and happy. Even the cadence was different when she spoke, more knowing, and when I pointed this out she responded, “well, I feel different!”

After dinner we went for a walk around Sebastopol. She began to speak of this evolution. As she touched on theme after theme of what she had learned while abroad, I couldn’t help but smile and realize that these same themes had woven themselves through my past half-a-year as well: balance, finding a healthy pace of life, the courage to deviate from plans, acceptance of self As Is.

And in fact, how no matter where you go or are, how readily those lessons seem to pop up in anyone’s life who’s looking for them.

With gratitude infusing her breath, she said, “I’d have never learned these things had I not traveled; I learned all this because I left home.”

I smiled at her, and nodded quietly, knowing that I learned all this because I’d returned.

§345 · July 9, 2007 · Narrative, Sonoma County Splendor · · [Print]

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