When I left home 3 months ago, I had zero expectations. Family, friends and coworkers kept asking what “the plan” was, and in truth, I had none. I just knew I needed to go.
So I sold nearly all of my things keeping only some clothes, my surfboard, my snowboard and car, of which I’m sure my parents were thrilled to store. I cancelled my cell phone plan, found someone to takeover my lease, and a replacement for my work. I wrapped everything up, threw an awesome going away party, and then hit the road for a loop around the globe.
My first destination was Southern California. It was a chance to release old memories and see about where I may want to live in the future. I passed the Bay and Santa Cruz then continued on to uncharted road. I drove into the smoky haze of LA with an open-mind (and inhaler in hand). And actually, I reeeeally liked it. The new scene, a chance to live in a cool different place, the beach culture. It surprised me. But quickly it was time to fly to Vancouver with my dad to see what living up north might be like.
I was stoked on the 2 hour direct flight from Sac to Van, and upon arrival at the airport, I officially became a permanent resident, meaning I can legally live and work in Canada. It was fun to travel with dad which mostly meant trying (and failing) to keep up with his partying, watching him get hit on by the guys on Davie Street, and telling him to keep his adoration for Trump on the low. Once he left, it really sunk in, I was doing this. I checked out the west coast’s only surf city – Tofino, and attempted to surf in the storming rain before calling it quits. Something about the wild cold and crisp air in B.C. didn’t feel quite right. So I celebrated a rowdy Canada Day, puked before boarding the plane, then started a 30 hour hungover flight across the big blue.
The next stop was Bali where I spent 4 days at a silent retreat quieting the external voice to listen in to the internal voice. The experience was profound – I became So. Present. Finally the excitement of all the transitions in previous months settled, and I could really begin to reconnect with my true Self again. I would’ve stayed longer, but it was off to 25 days in an intensive yoga teacher training course. Along with a dozen other students, I hiked an hour into the lush jungle to our first location – an organic coffee plantation where we would wake up at 6 am and practice yoga and learn until 7 pm every day. We then traveled to the beach town of Canggu to continue this schedule. The experience provided me with the 200-hour accreditation so I can now teach yoga, but really, it gave me so so much more. Through voyage quests, intentional healing sessions, drinking lots of chocolate “cacao”, meditation, yoga, candle-lit ceremonies, and celebrations, I held the mirror up to myself and welcomed everything and anything the universe wanted to show me. And god damn, it showed me a lot. Every day I worked on myself, cleared habits, cleared pains, and strengthened my spirit. It’s amazing what no WiFi, no phone, no TV, no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no added nonsense except you, your supportive community, and nature will do for the soul.
After our training, a few of us stuck together to go to the spiritual mecca of Ubud. I spent the next month continuing my healing journey with sound baths, meditation, more yoga, spiritual healing sessions, Ayurveda consultations, massage (lots of massage), a vegetarian cooking school internship, nature immersion and more. I couldn’t bring myself to leave…until my 2 month visa expired and kicked me out. I completed a Thai yoga massage teacher course and a green educator course, and then off I went to Europe.
By this point, I was starting to feel the call to get back to California, but I had to get back somehow, so why not via Europe? So I went from Bali to Athens to Rome to experience where my family is from, and honestly, to stuff my little belly full of Italian food. And man, was it different there. Where I felt so welcomed and at peace in Southeast Asia, Europe felt chaotic, at times rude, not to mention incredibly expensive. My lifestyle became instantly unhealthy – consuming lots of carbs, alcohol, gelato, espresso, cigarettes… the culture totally through me off, but when in Rome, right? I wasn’t going to eat salads in Italy. So I indulged, gained about 10 pounds, and for 2 weeks soaked in the end of an epic trip. I learned that I don’t enjoy staring at chizzled dead white men, that churches really don’t resonate with me, and that I question history too much to appreciate Europe. But to each their own!
Barcelona was the last Europe stop – via a longlayover – to check out the city and blob out on the beach. This beach time was such a treat and felt so deserved after 3 months of self exploration, learning, shedding layers, growth, and most recently, piggying out. From Barcelona I flew to Iceland where I spent 13 hours in the airport with a film writer from LA sleeping in cafes, talking about magic, and listening to Tupac. Iceland looked pretty earthly from our hike through the parking lot, but it also seemed massively expensive (we were geared up for a day of adventure but the $30 bus to the nearest city quickly deterred us). 15 hours later, two trains and a cab ride, and I was back in the Midtown home I left at the beginning of Summer.
Touching Down on Something Different
After landing in SF, I was waiting for the BART at the airport, and the first thing I came across was a mentally handicapped man with 3 large suitcases trying to get through the gate. He couldn’t figure out how to put the ticket into the slot of the incredibly outdated system. Instantly I thought to go over and show him how to do it (knowing damn well how it feels to be a foreigner or otherwise not understand how to use the public transportation system or in general, being confused in public). So I did that. I walked over and showed him how to do it. The man working behind the desk yelled at me not to help him, that “he needs to figure it out on his own”. My heart sunk. This is how we treat people here? Where is the compassion? Where is the human connection?
The day after I returned, a sheriff was shot by a gunman in the city I used to work in, just 10 miles down the road from my home. The next day, BLM protestors took to the streets to protest a sheriffs conference. Again, my heart sunk. The sheriff’s community hasn’t even mourned the horrifying death of their family/friend yet and radical groups are already attacking them. And this is when I remember the biggest lesson I learned…
We Are All The Same.
We are all the same. No seriously. We ARE ALL the SAME. We all want the same things in life. We all are capable of lightness and darkness. We all are capable of loving and making mistakes and forgiving and loving. WE ARE ALL THE SAME. But. We’ve gotten distracted. We create stories and labels and our system creates stories and labels to separate us in order to distract us from what’s really going on. Stories such as what you do, how much you make, your political party, etc. None of it matters. It really doesn’t. I could care less where you’re from. How old you are. Who you voted for. They’re all just stories. Because what really matters is our connection on a deeper level, and that can be found without words. Try gazing someone in the eyes for one minute without blinking or looking away. It’s one of the most profound things I did while abroad, and its so beautiful to feel this connection. I won’t tell you what you’ll see, but you’ll learn more with that person in that minute than you will in years. Try it!
So now my greatest challenge (aside from finding a job) is continuing to flow from my heart and be my most authentic, loving self in a system and a community where we are constantly at odds with each other. But we can inspire change by being the change. We can inspire love by simply being the love. And that’s what I am and will continue to be as I transition to the unknown.
And so… I hope you enjoyed following my travels! I’ll probably continue my blog with new life things that excite me as they unfold, because I’ve really enjoyed it as an alternative to social media. And the things that excite me now are so different than they were 3 months ago. I want to grow roots, build a home, build a community, strengthen relationships, buy appliances and furniture (!), establish healthy habits, provide healing space for others, go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up with the sun. Meditate daily, eat healthy, and stay present… the yum life. Is this what getting old looks like? If so, 28, I’m ready for ya!
…either that, or I’ll sell all my things and take off for good 😉
So I said I learned some things…
And it’s true – I learned lots. If you’re interested in some of my not-so-secret life secrets, read on.
- STAY PRESENT. Does your mind think about the past a lot? Or maybe it spins about something that’s going to happen. Totally natural. A key to happiness is being exactly where you are, completely engulfed in what you’re doing. When you’re walking, look around. When you’re eating, put the phone down. Show up and be present. That’s where you can find the sweet joy of simply being alive.
- MEDITATE OFTEN. If only we meditated for every time we watched the news/listened to music/scrolled Facebook. We are constantly inundated with external messages from a source whose root is actual evil – Hollywood, government, news… none of those institutions are created out of Light, out of love. Yet we consume them massively throughout the day. They are all distractions. Meditation will help you reattach with your true nature, your true Self, and will allow the messages from the universe to come through. This helps you get back to / stay on your path and find your most authentic self, highest good, greater purpose, happiness, etc.
- TALK TO STRANGERS. My entire trip was traveled without a phone. I was super present with the people around me, and I also had to ask for a lot of directions. And the time. Both of which really confused people. But I met so. many. good souls. From the nice Swiss guy that walked me home from the bus in Rome at midnight because I couldn’t find my place, to the Italian that drove me back to my hostel when it was dark in the city, to the girl from Kansas that spent the day with me in Athens to the girl from North Carolina that became my partner in Barcelona – friends and family are everywhere. Meet them. Talk to them. Step out of your comfort zone and be loved. Or don’t and be alone. Whatever you need is there for you.