“some days you’re the top shelf bottle, some days you’re the goon bag…”
sometimes on a day when you leave a place at 6am on tuesday, 16 september and arrive at your final destination at 6pm on tuesday, 16 september, it shows on your face…i look like a zombie that has been crying for days, died, then been reheated a few times in the microwave. this is not an exaggeration. i have been crying all day. off and on, sleeping when i can, going through the motions…i feel like i’m on a moving walkway forcibly…like someone stuck me there this morning (yesterday in australia now) and my body is moving forward, but my mind and heart have been left behind. it’s on days like this when reflection is important. when the key to survival…since it’s too early for socially acceptable drinking…is embracing the moments when you’re about to lose your shit…the tears are about to spill over as you board your plane back to american soil after 11 1/2 intensely gorgeous months creating yourself abroad…a beautiful smiling fijian man is waving you down, ready to check your bag, happy to be working at 7:40pm to serve you, excited when you tell him you’re from seattle, WA. these moments, bring your heart and mind back to your body…a little bit…briefly. the smile forms and then all of a sudden you remember the smiles you just left behind, the incredible people who’s presence in your life is now permanent…etched on your heart forever. so it’s not letting it go…it’s not ending it all…it’s starting something new, holding onto it all and bringing all the people you have written into your story along for the ride.
after 9 something hours on a jet plane while battling fever and chills, awesome body aches and knee pain, i landed at LAX and realized my trip has come full circle. more tears…blah blah blah. i may or may not have cried when the beautiful woman sitting next to me on my fiji airways flight from nadi pulled out american cash. i may or may not have had a minor anxiety attack while going through US customs, feeling like a herded animal from using the new robotic kiosk tecnhology to standing in three different lines to be welcomed back to american soil by smoggy LA air, rude airport patrons and terrible american accents. what has happened to me? exchanging my $100AUD and getting only $67 something USD in return felt cool…having my $5 fijian money rejected was also a super thing…sarcasm is awesome. i guess i’ll have to go back soon…backpackers don’t waste international cash…hell, we don’t waste any cash…on the rare occasion we actually have some. turning on my iphone was a trip when it found a verizon signal much to my surprise. i was connected to the united states again…and i found myself hating it with every nerve in my sore and exhausted backpacker body. i called my dear aussie friend, tim, who has been adventuring around the states for a little over a month and hearing his accent calmed me. thank goodness he’s coming to visit me in arizona by weeks end before he returns to his lovely island on the other side of the planet…the side of the planet i now feel i belong in more than here.
i am about to board my flight to phoenix. the fourth plane i have boarded in the last 24 hours. i am trying to stay positive. to delight in the memories that i’ve made, smile in the faces that i have welcomed into my life, remember that i am starting a new adventure…but aside from the stuffy heat here in lost angeles, this is my hell. i know i’ll feel a bit differently in a few days when the jet lag wears off and the tightness in my chest ceases a bit, but right now…holding back the tears is taking up all my energy, negative and positive. tomorrow is a new day. and i’ll wake up to vitamin d in the phoenix sun and some vitamin dad…which is always the ticket for me and any sorrow i may have.
after 5 airports, time traveling backwards almost an entire day, 1,438,298 or so tears shed, i have arrived “home”. descending into the desert, a million tiny boxes that look the same, each with their own pool, i felt trapped when i couldn’t see the vast coastline and the turquoise blue tones of the ocean surrounding my island oasis…this is new territory. survival now is in working out like a fiend, pool bumming, playing guitar again and singing at the top of my lungs, hikes in the desert, getting all these posts caught up on my blog, reading notes from australia a thousand times over, going through photos, calling and texting my loves back home in washington and my incredible souls back in oz and drinking muchas margaritas to numb the pain of missing. and getting one or preferably 5 of those job things…so i can pay off debts and save money to get the hell out of america and be on a new travel adventure somewhere incredible as soon as possible. which will surely take bits of my heart, change me in big ways and complete my life, once again…
photo credit: Kary Brennan