And now my trip is over. Well, it's been over for over a month now. I start my classes tomorrow (ah!), but I'm excited for what's ahead. I really like my house, I love my neighborhood, my roommates are great, I'm glad to be near my L'Arche family, and I already enjoy my professors and fellow students. (There are 32 people in my cohort. We're going to get very, very close.)
I've been so busy packing, driving across the country, and moving into my new house that I haven't had too much time to sit and reflect on my experiences. But maybe that's a good thing. When I complete something in my life (school, work, traveling, etc.), I have a tendency to prematurely write an ending to the story, as it were, and then put it on a shelf, not to look at it again. But I don't want to do that. I don't want to preemptively come up with a list of lessons I've learned and leave it at that. I want to leave this "book" open so that it can still speak to me weeks, months, and years afterwards.
Nevertheless, I think it's okay to come up with a list of "things to take home," while recognizing that this isn't exhaustive:
-Find pockets of stillness, solitude, and silence (thanks to the Maasai and the Camino)
-Take my time...it's all about the journey not the destination (Camino)
-Don't forget to have some frivolous fun every now and then (Berlin, Camino, Ireland)
-Don't get caught up in the "should"s and "have to"s...only do something because I want to do it (Berlin)
-Never get too comfortable...find something new and unknown to experience. It brings me closer to God (Kenya, Doha, Berlin, Camino)
-Exercise (Paris, Camino)
-Love myself (Berlin, Camino)
And there's much, much more that I will take (and have taken) with me. I'm excited to see how my travels will shape me and my personal journey. Thank you for sharing this with me.
If you want an adventure of your own, please come visit me in Seattle! I'm going to be here for a VERY long time. (If I stay on my current academic path, I will finish school in four-and-a-half years.)
I hope you've enjoyed reading my travel blog. Thank you for sharing this with me.