Sunday, February 28, 2010

Interesting artical my good friend sent me after seeing this blog. I swear 11-11 was totally random!
It is fascinating to me all the people from my past that are coming up out of the woodworking before I leave on this trip. It's as if people are saying the things they never said before because I'm leaving and I'll never be back. I guess in a sense this trip is a big deal and I'll be gone for a pretty long stretch. My friends who have done trips like this one have told me unanimously that I will come back a changed person. It's inevitable. So in a sense, these people's "final words" are well warranted. So much has happened in the past three days, that I am very interested to see who else pops in to my life before I head out... There's really not a lot of time to think about it because I feel a bit unprepared and have so many last minute arrangements to take care of!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Life Lessons from Unexpected Places

Even though my excitement is about to begin, the last month or so has been generally uneventful. One thing that I seemed to loose sight of was that no matter what I am doing with my time, life keeps going for everyone else. Being on the outside looking in to the lives of my friends and family has already been quite a learning experience. My Europe trip is intended to see new things and experience new people while embarking on a soul searching journey to figure out my next steps. Little did I know that the time preceding my trip would also provide revelations about life, society, and myself.
Two of my dear friends have been going through painful experiences in the last month and I have been an important sounding board for each of them. They come from two vastly different sides of the spectrum in terms of their trauma, but as we hash out what has happened and really get to the heart of their problems, I see many parallels with the dramatic life shift I have taken. They have no choice but to look inside themselves and learn from their experiences. As I help them put the pieces back together, I too am discovering startling revelations further solidify certain decisions I have made for my life.
Working with my friends in hashing out these crisis times has taught me the importance of living life for what I truly believe is right for me deep down inside, and not attempting to fulfill past expectations that are not necessarily congruent with who I want to be. Last night as one of these friends and I dug deep to figure some things out, we decided to create a silly label for this. Being "domestic" is being the person you made a commitment to be that may not be the real version of who you are. "Imports" is that real version that is suppressed inside of so many people. Most people are some degree of both, but I am striving to let my imports shine and surround myself with people that are primarily imports. I realize this analogy was created in the late night hours during inebriated babble, but for me it makes sense.
It is hard for anyone to admit that a relationship commitment, or an intense career path, or any other decided lifestyle is not well suited, but for me, in order to be more satisfied with my life, I had to make that tough choice. My trip to Europe could not happen at a more perfect time. I also spent a few days with my extended family this week, a luxury I do not get to experience often, but that cannot be endured for an extended period of time. A combination of consoling my friends and spending an intense stretch of days with family has created a slew of new questions to ponder while away. When you stop distracting yourself for long enough and open your eyes to what has always been there, it is fascinating what you discover without going very far at all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The count down begins

Two weeks from today I will be setting off on my highly anticipated adventure. There is still so much to be done, but when the time arrives to depart on March 11th, I know I'll be more than ready. So much has changed in the past two months... No longer living in Atlanta, I am now back in Raleigh with my parents and memories, comfortable, relaxed, but completely out of my element. The shock of going from selling software for IBM to being unemployed and almost entirely void of responsibility is finally wearing off. Now a new sensation is setting in- a combination of anxiety and excitement of the unknown journey I am about to embark on. I have an itinary, a plan, but these types of trips never seem to follow that plan, so I'm prepared to be spontaneous and follow the flow of the trip. The next several days will be filled with tying up loose ends here in the states, arranging my light backpack load, pulling together last minute neccessities, and making sure all of my accomidations are set. I'm in full preparation mode. Even if my prep ends up being mere busy work I never use, it eases some anxiety about the trip to come and helps me feel more relaxed about being in Europe on my own.