Adventure

by Kim on July 7, 2015 · 45 comments

I read somewhere that prayer is how you talk to God and meditation is how God talks to you. And if I have needed anything in the past few weeks it was some kind of sign from the Universe, something that told me that it was okay for things to be how they were. It was okay that it wasn’t all working out exactly as I imagined.

Except, I wasn’t sure I believed it. It felt like everything I’d worked so hard for over the past four years was slipping through my fingertips. And instead of doing what I usually do when I suspect things are sliding towards the shitter, this time I just shut out the world. I read so many books. I stopped writing. I devoted countless hours of my precious life to marathon watching Orange is the New Black.

My life on the couch

Scenes from my life on the couch

I’ve been going through this book submission process and it is one of the most challenging things I have experienced. Basically, you offer up your dream at the feet of an editor and then said editor kicks it to the curb like a stray dog. Rejection is a bitch, even if someone throws you a bone while you’re whimpering in the street. I have learned a lot about growing a thick skin, about how to keep an open heart even when the bombs are dropping.

I had a disappointment a few weeks ago. I cried for a solid four hours. And in the days after I couldn’t shake that low feeling that comes from yearning for something I simply couldn’t have. I developed a pounding headache and sat like a lump on the couch with a bag of frozen vegetables on my head. Brian sat beside me and put his hand on my leg. “I’m worried about you,” he said. And I was kind of worried about myself, too.

I am so rarely like that. Really, it is not my style. Usually when I feel defeated I throw myself into the cause at double strength. It takes a lot to knock me. And I think that’s why I felt so confused by the whole thing. Why couldn’t I just pick myself back up? Why couldn’t I see that there would be other chances?

I moped through the weekend. And then on Monday I told myself I had to pull my head out of my ass. I took out my journal and I made a list. I needed to work, even if the work felt pointless. I needed to connect, even if my friends all live hundreds or thousands of miles away. I needed to realign my priorities. I needed to remember that not all the days are sunny.

So I went upstairs to meditate, to see if I couldn’t clear my mind enough to receive that message from God/the Universe/whateveryouwanttocallit.

I lit my candle. I set my timer. I stared at the flame. I followed my breath. I tried to clear my mind. And after awhile I settled. I felt calmer.

Meditation

My meditation space

But, you know, God didn’t speak to me. God didn’t say, Kim, it will all work out. The flame of my candle didn’t suddenly extinguish. The house didn’t shake. The clouds didn’t even part from the sun.

But then I checked my email. There at the top of my inbox was a message titled ‘Adventure.’ It was from one of the readers of this blog and it’d come in while I was staring at the candle. She wrote that she was sitting in her office and for some reason she thought of me. Then she thought of one of her favorite quotes from The Hobbit when Bilbo is so pleased at how the trip is going at the start. Then the scene changes with one sentence, “But adventure is not all pony riding in May.”

I read her email and smiled. And then I read it again and it was like the veneer around my heart cracked open. I sat back against my bed and cried body-wracking sobs. I cried until I was completely drained. And then I sat there like a zombie, I don’t even know for how long. I could not pull myself up off of that floor.

Because if that wasn’t the message I needed to hear then I don’t know what is.

I have not thought to call this process an adventure. I have called it challenging. I have called it torture. But adventure? No way. And yet, it is an adventure, isn’t it? It isn’t the pony ride in May part of the adventure, it’s maybe the stumbling through the snowstorm in the depths of February with frostbite part, but I’m still on the road nonetheless.

And storms don’t last forever. The temperatures warm, the snow begins to melt and suddenly, like a miracle, the world comes alive again. That’s the way the world works. We just have to endure the freeze to appreciate the warmth that follows.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali July 7, 2015 at 7:25 am

I’m so sorry you’re struggling right now! But like you said, it won’t last forever. I am so confident that someone will publish your book. But you know what, even if it somehow doesn’t get picked up, you can self-publish and still be successful with it. You know you have SO MANY people right here who want to read it, who would gladly buy it whether it’s self-published or comes with a big publishing house name on it.

As for any non-book related stresses, they will pass too. Soon you’ll have a little baby to take care of, and I’m sure you and Brian are working on ideas for whatever the next step is in your lives. I totally get how sometimes you just have to wallow in feeling bad, but this is just a phase. HUGS!!
Ali recently posted..Livorno: Sick of Italy and Feeling Fat

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Thanks Ali 🙂 It is pretty incredible that our baby will be here in less than 10 weeks. All of a sudden it’s just right around the corner. And B and I are scheming away on the next phase but we don’t have any concrete plans yet. I think we both know we can’t have any idea how this baby is going to change our lives and so we’ll need to wait and see. But I’m looking forward to it all.

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Renee July 7, 2015 at 7:25 am

I am sorry to hear that you’ve been having a tough time lately with the book submission process, but I am glad that you ultimately received what you needed to hear to break open the part of you that was missing what you defined as adventure not too long ago. Your life is still an adventure, just of a different sort. Welcome back! 🙂

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:01 pm

All of our lives are an adventure 🙂 It felt like a miracle to receive that nudge right when I needed it.

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Elena July 7, 2015 at 7:51 am

Oh my goodness I love this reflection. I am sorry things are tough right now – I get it…having spent my own time on the couch over the last month… but yes, storms do not last forever. Eventually they clear and reveal an incredible painting of open sky.
Elena recently posted..A Day in the Life at Hilton Head Health

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I guess couch time is a part of life- though by no means is it my favorite part. But we always get through it, don’t we?

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Rhonda July 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

oh dear Kim ~ I Love this.. Adventure. Yes, indeed, or, as our Kiwi friends have said “life isn’t all sunshine and unicorn kisses”. I wish that this time has been easier for you, but be kind to yourself, and each other. You went from being on the road to being back in Ohio, Brian at work, you dealing with rejection while PREGNANT… thats a lot to deal with!! I am thrilled that you got just the right email at just the right time. Once again the universe is giving you what you need. Hang in there, so many exciting things are coming up for you very soon 🙂
Rhonda recently posted..Searching for Answers at Paquime

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I know, I know… the pregnancy really does play a factor. I’ve been focusing so much of my energy on this book that the pregnancy has almost been an afterthought. That sounds terrible, I know, but for example I was at the grocery store the other day and a guy yelled out to me, “Congratulations” and I was like… “What? What for?” And then I remembered, DUH, I’M PREGNANT. We are so so so excited but it still seems a little surreal. But those hormones are definitely not surreal…

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Gillian July 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

I love that quote! I have not heard it before but it fits so very often, doesn’t it? I’m sorry it’s been so very hard but I do believe that we often have to push through the hardest bits in order to get to the very best bits. I’m glad you’re pulling yourself out of it; it’s a good sign. I’ll be thinking of you.
Gillian recently posted..The Pomodoro Technique: How To Get Stuff Done

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

I believe that too. And I knew it wouldn’t be easy, didn’t expect it to be easy… it’s all a part of the journey.

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gail July 7, 2015 at 9:45 am

Beautiful. Feel it and move through it. You so skilled at making meaning, none of this will ever be for nought in your hands. Sending love.
gail recently posted..Redefine Adventure

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Thanks Gail 🙂 And, yes, the typo made me smile 🙂

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gail July 7, 2015 at 9:46 am

*you’re

Ugh. But hopefully the iPhone typo made you smile.
gail recently posted..Redefine Adventure

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Katie July 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

I’m sorry you are struggling right now Kim, so am I. I am two weeks into 3 1/2 months travelling solo without my fiance. Yesterday after a long day of travel I went to put up my tent and one of the poles was broken. Then the other pole broke too. I managed to put it up although it was half falling down around me. I missed my fiance so much so I cried all evening because I felt so alone. I couldn’t sleep because it was the first time I have camped by myself and I was scared. I went to use the wifi at a nearby cafe when it opened this morning and I was going to change my flights to come back earlier. But then I started talking to a lady on the table next to me and she convinced me to stick it out because she has been in my position before. She also invited me to the beach with her and her group of friends and family today to hang out with them. I’m going to go to the beach. And I am going to stick it out on this trip.
Katie recently posted..Sydney’s Best Walks

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Hi Katie, how about we both power through and swap stories on the other side? It’s so hard when we are in the middle but I know these are some of the most important parts of the journey. And I love that you met that woman at the coffee shop. She’s the equivalent of the woman who sent me the email. You got what you needed to keep going- that’s divine. I am cheering for you.

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christina July 7, 2015 at 11:37 am

My husband and I have been following your blog ever since you started your trip a few years ago. Your writing and your adventure inspired us so much we are days away from setting out on a 2mth road trip after quitting our jobs. You are one of our favorite modern day writers, we always look forward to your posts, no matter what you are doing or where, you have us hooked.

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Ahhh, have an amazing trip!!! And what an honor 🙂 The absolute best part of this blog is knowing that it has helped others take a big leap. May your adventure be fulfilling and fruitful.

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Amy July 7, 2015 at 11:38 am

I too am sorry things are so hard. Baby brain makes it that much harder. I’ve just submitted my first piece in years, following tremendous rejections in previous years that held me back. I can’t recall which author (there have likely been many) papered his wall with rejection letters, but that in itself inspires me. I know what I submitted was “off” – I know when my writing is “off”, but I am high-fiving myself for submitting at all. You cry all you need to – any salt water, be it tears or the sea, is healing for the spirit. And when you’re ready, you’ll find that core that drives you is as vibrant as ever.
Amy recently posted..Three Windows

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I have googled “authors who were rejected” and reading their stories helps. Everyone has their stories. And in most success stories you almost never hear the dozens (or hundreds!) of failures that came before the break. I am high-fiving you for submitting too. I am high-fiving all of us writers who put our hearts on the page and send it out into the ether. Writing is an act of bravery for sure.

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Ashley July 7, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Kim, you are an amazing writer & I have no doubt that your writing will bubble to the top somehow, someway. You always give me the spirit to dig deeper & trooper on, that’s life. It will get better, this is just one valley, the peaks are coming.
Ashley recently posted..Life In Morro Bay

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Kim July 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Thanks Ashley. And you know what? I believe you 🙂 The peaks and valleys are all a part of it, hard as they can be.

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Jason July 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

I think Yvon Chouinard said it well — “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts.” This is your adventure, so enjoy it… The ups, downs, celebrations, and disappointments. It all makes the rewards sweeter!

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:25 am

I like that and I think he is right. When everything goes according to plan then that’s just the plan… where’s the adventure in that?

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Erica L. July 7, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Sounds like a touch of post-adventure depression. After a one-year traveling sabbatical, my husband suffered with a pretty bad bout of this, too. It’s hard. You go from travel independence back to jobs, bills and accumulating “stuff” again. It’s a hard transition, even if it’s one you chose to make. We felt like we chose the wrong city when we moved back, too. That doesn’t help much with re-acclamation, either. You’ll find your way. Best wishes!

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:26 am

Hi Erica, it could be a touch of that but to be honest I really don’t miss traveling, at least at the moment. It could have a thing to do with baby hormones though 🙂 But yes we do feel we are in the wrong city and that doesn’t exactly help our situation. Anyway, it is a weird transition time and the book struggle has made things more challenging. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it!

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Milica July 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Dear Kim,
This post touched me so deeply. Right before reading it I was torn apart in my bedroom trying to explain depression to my mother. Reading “We just have to endure the freeze to appreciate the warmth that follows.” was like getting a big hug and a sign saying “everything will be okay.”

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:27 am

Hi Milica, I am sorry that you are hurting but you are not alone. I’m thankful that I could be your sign just as someone was to me. Keep going. There are brighter days ahead.

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Amanda @ Adventures All Around July 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Oh this made me cry! In the good way.

What a beautiful post, and I love that you got the answer you needed, and through love for your blog. Thanks for sharing. It’s so important to remember that we go through these things, and life isn’t just a curated instagram feed.
Amanda @ Adventures All Around recently posted..An Important Life Lesson from Penguins in Antarctica

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:28 am

Absolutely. It would have been easier for me not to share it, but where is the truth in that. Life is hard, especially when we are fighting for the things we really want.

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Cheryl Dinan July 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm

I enjoyed reading your blog. Continue to work hard and stay calm. The best is yet to come! Love, Mom
Cheryl Dinan recently posted..Adventure

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:28 am

Thanks Mom 🙂

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Amber July 8, 2015 at 3:15 am

I am sorry to hear you are struggling, especially after reading Brian’s latest post. It seems that you guys have had a few setbacks. But you know what? You’ve tried! You’ve tried new businesses, new ventures, new books. You guys are my inspiration as I generally procrastinate on any new idea I have, because I am afraid of the failure. So, for that, you should be grateful that you have it inside of you to try, because if you keep trying, at some point, you will be even more grateful for the reward, which I know there will be.
Amber recently posted..Japanese Baseball – a Forgotten Bucket List Item

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Kim July 8, 2015 at 6:30 am

Well, we aren’t quite giving up yet!!! But yes, we have been struggling to get our ideas and dreams launched and we’ve certainly failed more times than we’ve succeeded. But failure is the name of the game. I have to remind myself of that (a lot).

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) July 8, 2015 at 8:29 am

There would be no adventure without challenge and yes, adventures are not all pony rides in May! What a great quote and I’m glad it found you when you needed it most. Isn’t it amazing how the universe always, without fails, offers us what we need at exactly the right time? That’s why I know these hurdles are just that—things for you to overcome—on your way to the blinding exhilaration of your goal. I’m sorry to hear you guys have been struggling since being home and that the road to publishing your book hasn’t been a clear shot but I suppose if writing a book and getting it published were easy, everyone would do it, when really, so few really do. Your story is worth telling and people want to read it… just as that quote found you, your book will find the right editor/publisher. I just know it!
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Haters Gonna Hate, But Guadalajara’s Great!

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Kim July 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Steph 🙂

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heather July 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm

For what it’s worth, I think of you quite often.
We are all struggling at something. The whole world joins you in its immense strain to be something more than what it is at present. Right now I’m jobless, getting up every morning and working all day to get my house to a point where someone else can pay me to move into it, so that I can get on the road to chase the elusive adventure. And every day as the struggle roars on and the bank account bleeds out, my husband and I remind each other that the adventure has already begun.
Stay on the path. You are good enough and you deserve all of the dreams that you have chased, and then some.

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Kim July 12, 2015 at 3:54 pm

“The whole world joins you in its immense strain to be something more than what it is at present.” –> THAT is such a beautiful sentence. Yes, the adventure has indeed already begun 🙂 Thank you for your lovely words.

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Jaime July 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I started reading your blog before you and Brian left Portland and you’ve been quite an inspiration. I’m now off on my RTW trip and writing this from the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. In fact, tomorrow we’ll head back to Puerto Maldonado to spend a day with the monkeys at Anaconda Lodge. If not for you I would’ve never heard of the place. Just know that you’ve already touched more people than most could ever hope to. And chin up, things have a way of working out.
Jaime recently posted..Next Stop, Peru

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Claudia August 6, 2015 at 11:51 am

I am new in your communities of followers, and I think I will stick around because I am loving what I am reading.

We all feel a bit lost at times. It is just the way things go, it is perfectly normal yet hard to accept at times. I have never had a sign in life that I should do things one way or the other, but always took a leap of faith when having to take an “either-or” decision. I often feel lost at the moment. I have recently started blogging, and there is no way I am going back to what I used to do before. It was miserable. And for as miserable as I may feel in my path to success (if that ever happens!) I know that it can’t ever be as bad as it was when I worked in academia.

I remember the moment I finally decided that no, after spending 6 months roaming Latin America, I was not going to look for another job that meant nothing to me, anymore. At the age of 38 my tonsils had been removed and I spent days crying – from the pain, from feeling lost, from not knowing what to do with my life. But then pieces started falling back into the puzzle.

Have faith in yourself!! 🙂

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Rica August 29, 2015 at 5:01 am

Kim, I’m going through something right now and I just would like you to know that your post gave me the light that I needed. I don’t know how to thank you enough. We may not know each other personally; we’ve never met in person but somehow, you’ve saved my mental state from falling apart many many times.

THANK YOU.
Rica recently posted..Batad: A Glorious Adventure

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Sherry Ott September 24, 2015 at 10:19 am

I always say that my life isn’t all puppies, unicorns, and rainbows…and the fact is – no one’s life is. Sometimes it’s just about accepting that and learning how to ride with the ups and downs (which I still haven’t figured out myself). It sounds like you have poured your heart and soul into this book process – as well as dealing with so much change. I think standing still is so much harder than traveling and moving and here you are in the heart of it – standing still, waiting. Keep meditating, keep writing, keep finding things that are your own that you can have a little control over so that it makes this out of control process a little easier to deal with. You’ll get there…where ever ‘there’ is…
Sherry Ott recently posted..99 Best Life and Travel Tips

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April Yap March 23, 2016 at 8:53 am

I believe you my dear, yes meditation can relax your feelings and you can find yourself more while doing it.

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James May 30, 2016 at 2:03 am

I started reading you blog and so sorry!!! Meditation is the good way to get relaxation and only way to control the feelings.

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