It was two years ago that I published my first words on this blog. I remember the moment vividly. It was an action that changed everything for me, though I didn’t know it at the time.
It was winter of 2010. I was sitting on a couch that I no longer have in a house I no longer own in a state I no longer live in working in a career that I no longer get up and go to every morning. I was a girl with a huge dream that seemed impossible. To write. To travel.
Two years since I sent my first words out into the universe and in that time I’ve disassembled the bricks of my life and laid them down as a footpath to a different kind of future. Life is certainly messier now than it was when it was tied in a tidy box of routine. But it is also zings and zaps and sparkles in a way it never did before.
Against the odds I have managed to scrimp together the kind of life that I dreamed of living when I sat on that couch and first hit publish. I earn enough money as a writer to keep me going, for now. I’ve built an audience of readers who are engaged and loyal.
For so long this blog was a chronicle of getting out the door. I wrote about the fear and doubt that comes will selling everything, leaving a good job and the things I love behind and stepping into an unknown future. Some people may have thought that, when my plane took off to Ecuador, I’d accomplished my goal. But I always knew that travel was just the beginning. Traveling is the door that has lead to a new corridor filled with choices and opportunities. I feel at the very beginning of a new phase in my life.
So Many Places is the story of a journey. Not just a journey through the world but the journey of one life, mine, and the potential of what it can become. We all have this story to tell.
I am learning so much. I have learned about faith, in myself and in things much bigger than I am. I have learned the value of leaping without the certainty of where I will land. I have learned to live with fear. I have learned to recognize and listen to that voice of truth that we all carry inside of us.
Volunteering in Ecuador
I have learned that life is a verb. And I have learned not to just accept whatever circumstances are handed to me but to sometimes say No! I want more than this! To scream it from the rooftops, even.
Frequently, now, I have great moments of clarity where I can really see how my perspective is changing and I know that I am meant to be out here, gaining a deeper understanding of the world and what it means to be human. This, exactly, is what I have always wanted to write about. Not travel. But the messy, confusing, beautiful experience of being human.
Attending a dance with a local family on Lake Titicaca, Peru.
So, So Many Places is two. An infant, a child, learning and growing every day, taking teetering, tentative steps towards a hopeful future. Falling down, getting back up, moving forward.
Yes, you, one of the 40,000+ people from 160 countries that read this blog last year, whether you comment or email or just read from afar, thank you. You have given me the most amazing gift: the great gift of doing what I love. I hope that my words and stories can bring you just a fraction of the joy that you have given me. Every email and kind word and shared blog post from you makes me proud and excited to do what I do. So always, every day, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you! Big smiles in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
(If you have an extra moment, please read what I wrote on the one-year anniversary of SMP because all of that still holds true as well).