A Naked Reflection of 700 Days on the Road.
Before settling in to read this post, I’m going to tell you what NOT to expect, in this candid 700 hundred day reflection. This is not your typical travel post in any way. I will not share with you any drawn out and dramatic ‘best of’ lists. This post will not include any packing lists, trekking routes, hotel recommendations, favorite meeting spots or insider beach town surf tips. This post does not include opinions on the raddest party hostel, reviews on travel equipment or chicken bus advice. I won’t even address the best ruins to visit, most adventurous mountain to climb, favorite food discovery or the best deal on local handicrafts. There is an abundance of that information elsewhere (including this blog) online and I have no intention of clogging up your mental space with that here.
I am, however, going to get naked, share with you my feelings about this adventure we’ve embarked upon so far, and expose some of the naked inner changes that have taken place inside of me, as a consequence of the last 700 days of traveling with my son.
Here’s some (unbiased?) facts about who I am and what I have become:
I am writing from personal experience here, but I know that all the things I express are also part of my son’s experience as well.
I am, in fact, homeless.
I have no future. (in the conventional sense, which includes equity, career, savings or 401k)
I have no security.
I sit outside of all practical convention.
I have no set of guidelines to follow for this course we call life.
I have not seen my friends is almost 2 years.
I have not had a (serious) boyfriend in a much longer time frame.
I question that my decisions are healthy for my son’s future.
I am sometimes scared I am being irresponsible.
I am sometimes afraid I am being irrational.
I am sometimes freaked out about not having enough money to support myself and my child.
I sometimes fear the unknown.
On occasions, I question my decisions.
But then, I get back into the moment. I look around and everything is always perfect. I am experiencing the moment with my son and I am reminded how much perfection I have experienced in the last 700 days.
I knew going jumping off into the unknown called our adventure was irrational. (I was told so by many people.) But I always knew, there really was a rational side to all of it as well.
My Inner Voice
The rational bit was the process of learning to trust that little voice inside of me which told me to do so, which always guided me. I have had many occasions in my life to listen to this voice, which I remember making its appearance the first time I traveled around Europe alone for a year in my early 20s. It always kept me safe, helped guide my travels and protect me.
However, over the last 20 years, I can say with much embarrassment, I had learned to ignore that voice, which I now identify as intuition. I suppose in my normal, conventional life, day-to-day, practicality became louder and more dominant. I can recall countless business deals I signed (when I ran my company) that I had that gnawing feeling the project would go awry and low and behold it always did. I recall people who came into my life on numerous occasions that the little voice in my head said “get the hell away from that person, FAST!” and I didn’t. I can recall clearly so many times that I ignored that voice and EVERY SINGLE TIME I wish I hadn’t.
But that was then, and in the past 700 days, I’ve come to get re-acquainted with that voice again and have learned to listen. Sometimes its voice is loud, sometimes it’s a soft message. But it is because of that voice, my intuition, my inner guidance that we are on this trip. It is because I listened, we have had the experiences of the last 700 days. It is because of that inner voice I have actively trusted, we are safe. It is the inner voice, that intuition, that guidance that quiets the thoughts I shared above. Doubts have no place in the presence of my inner voices, and for that I am grateful.
The past 700 days has offered me a tremendous gift of change, how I view myself, and how I experience the world.
Other changes have taken place too. It’s perception about myself. Naked perceptions about myself, who I am, what I value, and what value I have in this big picture of oneness.
First and foremost, the past 700 days has allowed me to mentally re-evaluate how I value myself, and experientially have a greater understanding of just “being” through the gift of daily life. What??? I am no longer valuing myself through the things I’ve accomplished??? That’s preposterous.. During the last 700 days, I have been asked more times than I can count, what I did BEFORE we set out on our trip. It’s as if others need a framework to put me into in order to make sense of our experiences. That’s common, and if I bought into that way of thinking, I too, would still be attached to my accomplishments and career to identify myself.
I no longer do.
Wow, that’s a big one.
I am no longer my career or my accomplishments.
I am not what I do.
Another profound naked change inspired by the last 700 days is a shift in how little I care what other people think of me. I spent 40 some odd years driven through the idea I needed to please others to have value in who I am.
What the $&*#!??
Yep, I’ll state this naked change here and now.
I no longer value myself though the opinion of others.
Being separated from the ‘scenes’ I functioned within, fashion, pop culture, consumerism and the American culture as a whole, has freed me up from the distracting ideas about who I should be. Yes, distracting and in some cases harmful ideas. I don’t care in the least, anymore what’s going on in the ‘LA scene’ or any other for that matter anymore. I don’t care what opinions people hold of me. I don’t care what I am wearing (as I have only a handful of clothing in my possession), I no longer identify myself through the state of my appearance.
Taking it one step further, I no longer value myself through what I own. I no longer find my value in where I live. And, as previously stated, I no longer identify with what I do, in order to bring meaning into my life.
A Naked Reflection of 700 Days help me see much more….
The last 700 hundred days has shown me things I hadn’t seen before.
I see experiences, I see joy, I see kindness, I see love. I see possibilities that no longer have the obstacles of conventional thought blocking them. I see love and joy illuminating from everyone around me. I see joy in myself. I see my eyes being used to focus on beauty and compassion. I see this and much more in the moment.
And seeing theses things have become are only a single part of it.
The past 700 days has allowed me to stand naked and ‘BE’ these things. In other words, I am the observer and the presence of the experience, most of the time outside of the thought. And when those thoughts come back into my life, reminding me of the past ideas I had about myself, my past fears, my inner most judgements, I somehow have managed to let that thought go as well. I am on the road and having the time of my life with my son.