In 2010 I didn’t live in, or visit, New Zealand. Since my first trip in 2002, I have been there for a least part of the year five out of the last eight years. However, I did do a bit of traveling around to different places. And by those numbers, this was 2010:
(United States, Canada, Mongolia, Philippines)
(Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Nevada)
(Only visits where I stayed all day or slept there)
(Places I lived one month or longer)
(Including one under the stars)
I lived out of a suitcase quite a lot this past year. I don’t expect that to change much this year.
And you know what the best part of all of that was? It wasn’t seeing the piece of land my brother is working to preserve while simultaneously develop education in Mongolia, it wasn’t the mango smoothies in a marketplace in the Philippines while our military escort filtered through the crowd. Nor was it the beauty of Estes Park in Colorado or morning runs and swims in the lake in the Central Oregon wilderness.
It was the people all along the way.
It’s my friends and teammates from Ultimate Frisbee who, only knowing me for a short while, are sad to see me go.
It’s the random man who paid for my taxi in Manila, the friendly lady who passed the time with me in the airport in Ulaanbataar.
The nuns who showed boundless hospitality.
The people who held long conversations with me to challenge my attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs.
And suddenly I’m stuck because of the overwhelming amount of incredible people I know and met this year. It’s painfully beautiful.
The best thing for me in traveling is the awesome people I meet: be it in transit at the airport or welcoming me into their homes and life at the destination. It’s also the hardest part because I’m always picking up and leaving again.
My friends complain about me traveling because they are afraid I won’t come back. It’s love. What I’m not sure they understand is that it’s not just I who am gone from their lives for that time, but they who are gone from my life.
Sometimes I half-seriously joke about there being too many awesome people in this world. You can’t know or be with them all. But you want to, because they are incredible and have an amazing story. I want to know what makes everyone tick: what makes them love and hurt. But that’s not really possible, there isn’t time or space with so many people.
I haven’t come to terms with that yet; I’m not sure I want to.