Occasionally, my inborn predisposition toward depression hits a wall of travel-induced overwhelm and loneliness that is only temporarily relieved by a visit to a giant underground cave or a vast expanse of sand. My spirits lift as I soak in all of what there is to see, knowing that there’s a chance I may never be here again, that this is a huge, lucky, privileged, chance of a lifetime walk into a place a lot of people will never get to see.
Loneliness is no joke. One of the things that worried me about this trip was leaving my small, close group of friends, a support network that props me up when I get like this. I also feel this part of me whispering “You can just go home” and another part pointing out in a rather nasty voice that I should just get over it and not squander this time on feeling sorry for myself.
I’m learning new limits in myself and new ways I can expand. I hate being cold, but I miss snow. I am lazy about moving around, but the best thing for my head is to get it outside into the wide sea of blue sky and move my body around. Depression is a fickle mistress. You can know a lot of things intellectually, but it’s hard to act on the ones you know will move you in the right direction, back toward the middle and away from the hypnotic pull of grey static.
I have reconnected with people I never expected to see again, strengthened friendships that lay fallow for years. This is the strangely unexpected gift of my trip and there is so much more to come. I'm relearning that my home is in people. I get asked a lot about what or where is my favorite part of this trip. Hands down, it is the first tentative and last never-ending hug of a friend I haven't seen in far too long. I'm out here finding myself in what people I love reflect back to me. Given time to relax into it, I am good at connection. I like myself more and more as I go.
I miss home, but I carry it in my heart every day.
Here's what I'm listening to these days: SXSW.