I read yesterday that "whenever you travel you actually take three trips. There's the first phase of preparation, anticipation, packing and daydreaming. There's the trip you're actually on. And then there's the trip you remember. The key is to try and keep all three as separate as possible."
I realize this is very good advice and likely something I should be doing - that this is a time for reflecting on the things I experienced when in motion, the beauty I saw and what I learned about myself. Yet when I think about any of it, I hurt. I ache for what I cannot be doing. I grieve for the loss of such a beautiful way of life, one that while difficult and the opposite of what society expects, gave me my best self. On good days, I'll try to sort through images from our journey and I'm smiling. Dancing. Holding my daughter and my wife close. I am healthy and sunkissed, freckled and streaked with dirt, barefoot and in awe.
In my daily life, amongst the friends and family that are nearby, and even many that are far, it's as if I didn't have the experience at all. That I didn't return changed, or different, or better. We are not asked about our travels very often, and sadly, they are often mocked or dismissed (as irresponsible, as different, as trivial). I'm trying to understand why. Is it easier for them? When someone goes through something life-changing, soul-reviving, why are we so quick to dismiss their absolute need to share with the people they love most?
You see, I can't share it all. I'm not even going to try. The trip we actually went on - that's ours. What I want to share is how I feel now. I'm bursting to tell the people I love what I've learned, who I am now, how this particular journey changed me (and my wife and daughter) in beautiful and irrevocable ways. I want to stumble over my words when trying to share because no words are good enough. I want to share how I am grieving for the loss of freedom we found, for the people we were able to slip effortlessly into being, as if that's who we were all along.