There will be times when you travel, you move, you explore, you wander.
There will be times when you transition.
There will be times when you leave familiar for unfamiliar, and ‘decent’ for ‘just okay.’
There will be times when you get lost among a sea of maps and signs, yet lack the knowledge and patience to truly find your way.
There will be breakdowns. Several. And this is okay. Breakdowns are okay. Transition is okay.
There will be times when you find yourself at 6:00AM, wandering around a city, only to end up at a McDonald’s, and to order more food than you need, mostly because you felt completely and utterly alone before you saw that big golden arch.
There will be times when you want to walk away. And that’s okay too.
But if you do, walk quickly. And if you don’t, your mind must also choose to stay. Your body cannot operate alone. And your heart must pick up whatever pieces are missing in your new-found life.
There will be times when you find solace in a Pringles can, and mostly because you’ve worn out your welcome at McDonald’s. Eat those Pringles. Eat the entire jar.
There will be times when you loathe you’re own race or gender or hair color, when every familiar person you see darts their eyes in avoidance when all you seek is for acceptance and glancing-validation. Do not be this person. These people suck.
There will be times when you troll the internet, search for a flight home, and then remember this is now your home, and turning back is not an option. Remember your options.
Also remember that nothing is permanent. And whereas this may be your home now, you believe in taking risks, and home is where your heart leads you next, and next.
There will be times when you spend five minutes trying to cross one street, almost get hit by ten cars, only to eventually find fifteen other brave souls who are willing to take the walk with you, purely in solidarity.
There will be times when you are solo, and you must take this walk alone. This moment is essential. This is transition’s rite of passage.
There will be times when you are the only person who speaks the language, leaving you to only speak with the voices in your head. Befriend those voices. Nurture those voices.
There will also be times when you speak the same language yet lack shared-experience and personal connectedness. Befriend the voices in your head. Nurture those voices.
There will be times when wedding photos and baby pictures are the only way to truly celebrate with your friends, and technology serves as the only vessel for human connection. This allows you to opt in and opt out, and becomes a beacon of hope. It becomes a filter for all the bull shit you put up with in your previous adventures.
There will be times when all you want to listen to is Tracy Chapman’s, “Fast Car,” over and over, and in those moments, you start to believe you can actually cut it, and that you can actually thrive in this new-found space.
There will be times when you have camaraderie with your coworkers or your traveling counterparts. Celebrate together. Capture those memories and share them with your people, “back home.” You see, they too have a choice to opt in or opt out. Your captured-memories are essential.
Remember, “back home,” is, ‘back,’ and you’re moving forward. And even if or when you go, “back home,” you’ll be a different person. You get to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. But either way, there’s no truly going, ‘back.’
There will be times when you cry. And you will wonder if the tears are from happiness of perspective, sadness of loneliness, or just pure exhaustion because your mind is on overload.
Your mind is on overload. Let the tears flow.
There will be additional times when you cry. And not out of anger but mostly because you lost 14lbs in five weeks and can finally fit into that pair of white jeans.
There will be times when you wear those white jeans, meet a stranger, and engage in, what can only be considered as, “what happens here, stays here,” behavior. Engage frequently, engage freely.
There will also be times when you gain 14lbs but you cry because the local food is just so damn good. Engage frequently, engage freely.
There will be times when you answer the same questions over and over again, yet discover that no one is truly listening. Start answering for yourself. You’re listening. Watching. Waiting.
There will be times when you dream up scenarios and issue yourself a could-be play-by-play. Allow this to guide your next steps, your next adventure.
There will always be next steps, a next adventure.
There will be, “once in a life,” times, and times which, “take your breath away.” These times are not quantified by distance, duration, or depth. Only you define the validity and impact of these moments.
May your bags remain packed, and your feet eager for new pavement.
May you trust the process, and allow the process to impact and shape you. If you’re not dreaming big, someone is dreaming big for you.
Now, go. Move. Be shaped.