As everyone knows my blog is still a work in progress. Like many of you, I just got out of the military and I’m trying to find who I was before I joined. Taking away from it what I liked about my training, and leaving behind who I don’t want to be. This can lead to a lot of intraspection and, hopefully, growth. During one of these moments I was digging through old journals and designating them, this one for my to-do list, this one for my travel journalism, this one for my writing notes etc. In my old travel journal I found a slip of paper that I had lovingly placed for me to find later. It was more a note to myself than anything else, as I read it I remembered. One day during a biology course in college I had slipped away during a field exercise. The campus in Pennsylvania is situated right next to an old gorge with a river flowing right through it. (I loved that place, I could talk all day about it) I sat on a boulder by a stream just listening to the water and thinking about who I wanted to be (this is before my military service, I was maybe 21 at the time). I had just spent the whole summer traveling the world, and I had loved it, but we had spent a lot of our time in the various cities lining the Mediterranean Sea. I’m mostly a hiking, camping and small town culture kinda girl (hence traveler vs tourist). I do enjoy some city time…but finding this slip of paper just after my military separation it stirred a memory of who I am. I’m the girl who talks to nature and makes people smile:
“I sit listening to the stream bubble and I encounter a strange sense of tranquility. I managed to lose the group, mostly on purpose. I’m an independent person, and I need to embrace that. I don’t know why I’ve neglected the gorge for so long. Maybe it’s because this is where I left my sorrows on those days in April when I lost my heart. All I know now is that there isn’t a better place to give my sorrows. Even in winter this is a place of beauty. Being in so many cities showed me I can find beauty else-where, but every time I come outside with trees and bubbling water, that’s when I feel at home. Give me the ocean, give me a creek, give me a signing flock of birds. Give me a deer minding her own business. You can keep your Concrete Palace.”
And at the bottom I had drawn a heart with my name, how I sign my hand-written letters to people. As if this was to someone. I cried when I read it, I had found myself and I knew only one thing would help. More. Time. Outside. I eat my breakfast outside listening to the birds, we’re buying camping equipment for in between jobs. We plan on buying a trailer so we can stay at campgrounds more. We’ve gone on a few day hikes since I got out (it’s only been two months). I’m planning a yoga retreat to Thailand for a month on my own, to rediscover myself. Through that, my self identity is coming back bit by bit. I walk outside through the grass barefoot and I no longer feel embarrassed if I spend more than a “normal” amount of time enjoying the beauty of a tree or a mountain. I’m constantly working on myself, but my smile and my light are coming back. People have always said, that I smile at even the darkest of times, and I attribute this significantly to God. However, I also attribute it to a life long confidence in who I am as a person and my ability to be happy. No matter what this life is an adventure. I have included some pictures of various hikes I have completed, this is obviously not all of them. But they’re all solid hikes. I’ll probably write another blog about specific hikes. Most recently was Belcher Hill in CO which was a test of will just because there was so much “up” going on with each switch back. If you have any questions feel free to comment and ask. Obviously, whatever works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Just try and redefine your center, and I do think everyone could benefit from some unplugging and spending time outdoors. (Just don’t miss my next blog post!!)
As always, never stop exploring.