It’s been a solid 3 months of traveling now. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and for me, it has taken 3 months to really get in the flow of my new nomadic life-style. I jumped enthusiastically into traveling from the get-go. My previous focus had been the tedious task of fixing up our house in North Carolina. Week after week my mom and I worked to make it perfect enough to sell at our asking price. I painted every window, door, and baseboard, at a bare minimum, three times. I painted our wooden swing-set that had been sitting in our yard since I was a child, no longer used, but still useful for selling a house.
The craziest thing I did for that house was when I took a sheet all the way down the hill to the stream in our back yard and, one by one, I filled up the sheet with small and medium rocks until it was heavy (but not too heavy) enough to carry back up the hill and to the side of the house. From the garage leading to the back yard on the side of the house, I spent many laborious hours coming from the stream to dump my sheet of rocks. Little by little, a walkway began to appear.
It was that glorious walkway that sold the house, believe me. The funny part about going to Israel immediately after selling the house was entering the tunnels beneath the Wailing Wall to see one of the largest stones in the world. In view of the famous western stone, which is 14 meters long and weighs almost 570 tons, my little rock lugging shrunk to puny proportions.
I knew beyond doubt that the USA had nothing left to hold for me. I am so thankful for growing up in the midst of great abundance and all the qualities that made North America great. I am especially more thankful after seeing some other countries. But there are things that made my home country a dead end road for me. I saw no future for the country and saw no future for myself so long as I was living there. Now that I am gone from the west and out exploring the east, amazing things are happening to my mind and vision.
I glanced at a large billboard sign in Casablanca, Morocco today and suddenly my mind was drawn to a far off memory of a story that I read a couple of lifetimes ago. It wasn’t so much the specific memory that was important as much as the speedy recollection of a dusty memory in a forgotten corner of the brain, freshly called forth by exotic streets and a foreign sunshine. Everything I look at, everything I experience, holds a bit of new life in it now. My mind is sharper for remembering and figuring things out. Once a fire as a child, yet dulled in adulthood, creativity is once again perking up in occasional, exciting sparks.
Brene Brown, a shame researcher, called vulnerability creative. To create is to make something that never existed before. There is no mode of courage greater than being open, available, present and in a word: vulnerable.
Where I’m from, traveling the world instead of going off to university is an out-of-the-box thing to do. I’d like to call it creatively different from the skewer-thin options high school graduates are presented with. Consequently, I’ve received a fair share of pointed questions from people who don’t quite understand my current choice of lifestyle. They are often caring people who worry that I’m throwing away an important time to study and prepare for a career in the future.
I’ve even been told that “some day you are going to have to leave your mom and go off on your own.” How easy that would be! No strings, free living, no one else to worry about! My father did that. So did my sister, and then my brother. They didn’t stick around to help with Grace though, and that’s why I’m not out on my own. I’ve tried it, my mom has tried it, but having only one person to care for Grace at all times proves to be too much. She’s a lot of work, but of course she’s worth it. 🙂
I don’t think there is anything too terrible about staying with my single mother and handicapped sister. Family is supposed to support each other, right?
I’m not sure what I will do with my life next, but the longer time goes on, the more confident I am in my decision to see the world.