I have this tendency with my site to focus on the positive, to write about my travels, and sprinkle in my back story, my point of view, but very rarely my current life. And so, as I spent the last three months fighting overwhelm back home in Florida (writing a non-fiction book, handling family dynamics, and trying to meet deadlines), I chose to mostly stay silent, figuring if I didn’t have some inspiring travel story to share, everyone reading would likely just prefer me to say nothing.
But I’m breaking the silence now because I can’t be the only one who has to pause from one part of life and just take care of things. I travel…a lot, and when I am traveling other things tend to be left undone. And on top of that, life just throws curve balls. When I returned in May from my travels with my niece, these “undone” things decided curl up under my desk chair, mewl pitifully, and taunt me.
I write this now as a way toward a bit more transparency. From emails of reader feedback, it tends to look like I quite seamlessly integrate travel and home . But really, I’m on this odd rollercoaster of circumstances, choices and life too…which means I juggle unequally weighted balls labeled: work, family, blogging, homeschooling, travel plans, and time with friends. And for the past two months I just couldn’t keep all these balls in the air. (And yes, I’m done with the strange mewling-juggling-rollercoastering analogy now, I promise).
Anyhow, last summer I described my relationship with travel in an introspective piece, a love letter to travel that detailed my decision to come home for the summers each year and see my family, while traveling for four-six months at a time to other places. That still summarizes the travel side of my life, though I have now added a tween-aged student to the mix, which changes the dynamics of travel and life altogether.
A few weeks ago I hit a wall with this site – the fact that I had not posted in weeks caused me all sorts of stress. I was overwhelmed by the number of “must dos” pulling my attention, and yet felt an obligation to the site. For nearly four years now I have written at minimum four posts a month. And yet in the last 30 days I managed nada. Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. I got frustrated one night and penned an epically dramatic post entitled (and my eloquence here is fabulous): A Little Decision…I Quit. I’ll spare you the details of that, but it was stream of consciousness post scrawled in dark navy ink and barely legible since it was written in near darkness on the top of a hostel bunk bed. The final thing I wrote, though, was perhaps the truest of it all:
I can’t quit, I love writing. I love how my photography has grown over four years because of a commitment to A Little Adrift. I am grateful to the community and the people I have met by the mere fact that in sharing my travels, I joined a global community of like-minded souls. I’m grateful for the opportunities traveling and writing have brought to my life. I’m grateful to every person who has ever read and support A Little Adrift. I won’t quit, I can’t quit, I just don’t have time this month…and that’s okay.
And so, instead of a travel post, you get this. My honesty that life is overwhelming for all of us, and this is a summer of overwhelm for me. And it’s ebbing a bit. And with that in mind, I’d like to share a series of photos. The summer’s highlights so far. And to share my thanks and gratitude to the friends who hosted me, the travelers who touristed me around their town, and people who shared time, space and stories with me at conferences and get-togethers.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] In early July, a group of WDS conference attendees and I gave our time for a build day at Habitat for Humanity in Portland, Oregon in the days after the conference. I roomed with each one of these great people (and each deserve a thanks: Devon, Jacob, James, Steve, Jodi, Nicky, Nate, Nathan, David, Dave and Nathan for making it such a fun and rewarding day). And in true form, I encouraged us all to do an epic jumping shot on site :)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] Back in May, my friends and I went to Discovery Cove at Sea World, Orlando to see dolphins and generally just to spend the day together. It was good fun and neat to see the dolphins up close and playful. These are some of the people I leave behind when I travel, and it was so nice to relax, snorkel, and chat with few other worries.[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] After the conference in Portland, friends (and fellow Chiang Mai expats) Sean and Eva took me into their home in Seattle. They showed me a lifestyle I often miss from my two years spent living on the West Coast: fresh juice each morning, a focus on nature, and huge quantities of berries just nearby for the picking![/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] The NVR guys took me on an informal walking tour of their city and hilarity ensued for most of the day. A highlight was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center — it was free and worth a visit, so a heartfelt thanks to Kent and Caanan, I hope our paths cross again soon. (PS Can you find us in the photos? :)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] My friend Jenn opened up her home to me in Denver, Colorado and then showed me around the city. We found beautiful flowers in the Botanical Gardens and I learned the value of sunscreen at high altitudes on our visit to Red Rocks. And best of all, I got to meet her new son on the trip. :)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="654"] And this little guy, Jenn’s newly turned 1-year-old was a highlight of the summer. Just three days with him in Denver reminded me that we’re meant to see, smell, taste and experience this world of ours.[/caption]