Thursday, January 17, 2008

...across the room into this great big strange world...

A number of years ago my husband and I decided to 'undo all the ties' that bound us to the life we were living to set us free to re-evaluate our lives to that point.  It was one of the few times in my life when I did something quite absurd to my way of thinking, yet knew it was exactly the right thing to do.  It is the strangest feeling in the world!  It seemed both ludicrous and  right, impossible yet doable.  Our plan to accomplish this was to sell our home, car, and truck, place all of our possessions in storage, get on our motorbikes and just simply leave.  Preparations took approximately one year and yet we had not decided where we would go....not even the first day.  There was no itinerary, no real plan, and that is what we wanted.  This was our life for eleven months.  We never knew where we would be sleeping or eating at the end of each day.  We wanted to be open-minded to make any changes we felt we needed to make.  This included career changes as well.  While most of our friends and family saw this as the adventure of a life time (it was!) we saw it as a year that could change our lives drastically and forever.  Looking back on our journals now, we see that it was a difficult year in many ways.
A complete re-shuffling of priorities took place that year, freeing me up to consider what my focus in life should be.  The most frightening aspect to all this introspection and evaluation was the realization that the areas of my life that I thought were sure and strong were shaky, weak and susceptible to failure.  I felt vulnerable, emotionally sick, empty and very small in our great big strange world.  Thankfully every day was different for us as we kept moving around, zigzagging our way through Canada and the USA.  There was beauty to be admired everywhere we went and somehow spending the majority of a year out of doors produces feelings of strength, vigor and ambition.  
I found that when I got to the 'end of myself', acknowledged the state I was in and the issues that needed attention, the desire to do the hard work I needed to do helped me to look for answers and solutions.
I thought that at the end of our year away I would sit down to write a book because I would have seen so much,  learned so much, changed so much that the story would need to be told.  Not to mention the fact that so many people had told us we would come back completely different people then when we left.  They EXPECTED it!  Strangely enough, it seemed whenever I was asked what I had learned on our year away I had very little to say.  I did not realize at the time how long it would take to process that experience.  It is now going on five years since we took that trip and I am finally putting together the pieces of the puzzle.  This may not be a book, but it is a start.  This blog is to say that I AM a changed woman because of that year away, even though I have never really been able to put it into words before. 
Now that I've written this, I'm thinking there may be a "Segment #2" to follow (maybe, some day)!


Jobina said...

I'm still amazed that you both agreed to that trip and did all the hard work and sacrifice to go on it too. I'd love to hear Segment two, in what ways do you think you have changed? From my standpoint, I'd have to say that I think you are a lot more open about your relationship with God now than you were before. Though I never know if I notice these things because I'm older now and we talk more about those things or if it's a change in you. Hmmm.

Michele said...

I think we all changed a bit from that experience. I don't know if you came back as completely different people. I don't think so and actually, I'm grateful for that. I do think that you both changed in subtle ways. I noticed changes in Dad right away but like Jobina said, it could be that I just got older and we talk more now.

Stacey said...

I've noticed some changes but I didn't realize it had anything to do with the trip. I agree with Michele that you're not completely different and I too am glad about that! But as Jobina says I notice a new openess but on a myriad of levels. But you're like a fine wine that just got a little better :)

I'm just happy I managed to get a few visits from you while you were "away" :) Now if I could only convince you to move here for another "year" adventure (or longer)... But I'm sure your daughters would have something to say about that! :)

Michele said...

They could move! That would free up Jobina and I to pursue our dream of buying a 3 million dollar house with 2 log cabins on the property and it's own island. Mom and Dad can visit. tee hee!!!

Elayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elayne said...

Hey! I thought there would be room in that 3 M dollar home for me too! Never mind visits! I want community with my family! Ha!
I need a little time to do Segment 2 but I will say that for the most part people may not notice the kind of changes I'm talking about. Also, there are aspects of my growth that I would consider to be private enough not to share on a blog. I might share them with my daughters privately. It's OK to have a few secrets even though they are wonderful and special!
Jobina: I am more open about my journey with God because I know Him so much better after that year away. Thanks for noticing!
Michele: We did not come back as completely different, but definitely different.
Stacey: How special to be compared to a fine wine! Is it red or white?! Ha! I feel more like champagne...bubbly! And YES, I still think a Toronto condo would be just the ticket to kick off retirement!
Thanks everyone for your comments!