I recall my excitement from five months ago having tossed aside my comfortable and stable life in order to experience adventure like I had always dreamt of. Everything felt surreal. As I'm returning home, it feels the similar. This form of traveling has become natural and the thrill of going back and starting life fresh is some kind of intimidatingly blank slate open to dreams and opportunity beyond my control or imagination. I can't seem to envision myself getting on that plane and wrapping up this journey, let alone what my life will look like when I return home, wherever I decide to make Home, that is.
Today was my last day in Ubud (Bali, Indonesia). There's a festival going on just outside of town, but I opted to stay local and let things settle instead of reaching for more new connections. Looking back on the past 5 months I've been blessed with friendships and passing interactions with so many amazing people who crafted this journey into what it was. People who have explored Love with me, offered a compassionate ear or shoulder, been dance partners, invited me on excursions after 10 minutes of conversation... People from Israel, Spain, Argentina, Singapore, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Switzerland, Indonesia, Peru, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and the USA... People that have been to America and people who say the word dreamily because they will never make it there. I've come to LOVE people from all walks of life and they have loved me back.
While I've been away, our country elected Donald Trump as leader, a real-life plot twist I never expected. From the distant sidelines, I've watched a revolution begin as democracy is challenged and hate/fear threatens to tear the United States apart. Each time someone asks where I am from (and that is always part of any conversation), and I tell them I'm from America, they light up as though I am from the promised land while I try to swallow my recent shame. To many, the USA is a symbol of freedom and possibility, cleanliness and safety, to name a few of the adjectives I've been given. I've taken the responsibility to become a diplomat for my country, aiming to show the compassion, humanity, and intelligence that our new leader is lacking. It's become my duty to set an image of MY America.
I don't know where I'm going from here. I'm mostly clueless about what I'll be doing a week from now, much like I've been for the past 5 months. What I do know is that I am going to continue to do the work that I am proud of. I will lead by example. I will embrace all the qualities of the amazing foreign people I have met, showing Love, compassion, patience, and inclusion as a daily practice of living.
Every day is a new beginning, a chance to live better than the day before. I'll see y'all soon, landing hot with Love and hugs.