This one small body has made it pretty far.
It’s walked on the Great Wall of China, hiked Tiger Leaping Gorge, snorkeled in the Philippine isles and the Great Barrier Reef, climbed limestone cliffs in Thailand and thrown itself out of an airplane in New Zealand. It’s dune bashed in Dubai, eaten escargot in Paris, and run through Roman ruins.
17 countries on 3 continents.
I often wish I’d been wearing a pedometer because these feet have clocked some major miles.
I’ve stood in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower and the Berlin Wall, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum. I’ve watched the Pope conduct a service in the Vatican. I’ve watched monks chant in Chiang Mai. I’ve lit candles in the Armenian churches in Singapore, Sydney, and Paris.
Some days thrilled me so deeply I felt drunk on happiness, other days I sat tearful and lost, questioning every last ounce of myself.
Mostly I hovered in between, thankful and in awe, content to be wherever I was, doing whatever I was doing, whether it was riding a scooter through the jungle or hanging laundry out to dry. It really didn’t matter.
People ask me what my favorite place or experience was, and while there have been many spectacular sights, my favorite thing about this year would have to be the people I met: amazing men and women who inspired and encouraged me, helped me learn and love and grow in new and wonderful ways.
I’ve experienced so much kindness and safety and good will.
I’ve learned this year just how big a blessing it is to be alive.
Of course, I realize even more now the depth of this privilege. I set out with a US passport, US currency in the bank, and the US attitude that I had the right to follow my curiosity wherever it took me. Most people in the world couldn’t do what I’ve done, not because they don’t want to, but because there are real financial, political obstacles in the way.
Sure, there’s been discomfort and illness and exhaustion, but nothing about this trip has been impossible and most of the time it wasn’t even that hard.
Tonight I’m going to sleep in my humble dorm bed in Venice, clutching a year’s worth of memories greedily to my chest.
But first I wanted to say thank you.
Thank you for reading and cheering me on in your comments, facebook likes, and emails. It’s been fun to share the journey with you… and we’re not even done yet!