The Moments that Change Our Life

When was the moment that you realized who you are, what you love or what you’re supposed to do with your life?

In my life, I’ve experienced many of these moments, from being arrested and realizing that getting fucked up everyday wasn’t the life I wanted to the road trip to the Rocky Mountains with my friends where I found my passion for travel.  Both of these moments caused a fundamental shift in my thinking and instantly changed the direction of my life.

When I was arrested, I promised myself that I’d do whatever it took to get myself clean, even if it meant losing every friend I had and starting over from scratch, which is exactly what happened.  The road trip gave me a chance to see the world beyond the limits of my small Midwestern town and after that trip, I saw life from a different perspective and a new way of thinking.

And while I didn’t realize it at the time, my hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park also helped define who I am today.  I’ve been reminiscing about that trip in my mind, thinking about the beauty of the park, the challenge of the climb and the triumph of reaching the top.  The sore knees and the other pains have long since faded and now I’m left with only fond memories.

I want to go back.

Thinking about everything I want to accomplish this year and the amount of time I have to do it, it’s time to start prioritizing.  Turkey, Russia, Ethiopia, Japan, New England, Yosemite are all on the radar this year but I only have a few weeks in which I can dedicate myself to travel due to summer classes.

I miss Planet Earth.

When I travel, I’m visiting huge cities like Paris, Rome or Buenos Aires and spend a lot of my time riding subways, taking taxis and breathing exhaust.  I long for the solitude of the forests and the thrill of climbing mountains.  There’s something special about a bear and her cub walking next to you in the wild, about getting your boots dusty and the feeling of a cool mountain river to soothe your body after a long hike.

So, while I might not be wandering around the bazaars of Istanbul or doing hand stands in Red Square this year, maybe I’ll return to my favorite place on the planet instead.

6 thoughts on “The Moments that Change Our Life

  1. Yeah, I’m really going to miss traveling with this new job. It’ll force me to take advantage of what’s in my own backyard and we’ve already got several weekend trips scheduled, but looks like I’ll have to put my big Scandanavia trip on the back burner for awhile!

    • The thing with my situation isn’t exactly that I *couldn’t* do all the traveling I want to, I could, but it would come at a huge cost. I’d have to visit Turkey on Spring Break, meaning I’d get all of maybe 5 days in Istanbul. With Russia I’d have two weeks, which is enough time, but that also means I wouldn’t be able to visit Yosemite or New England. Okay…maybe I DON’T have time for everything…so, I’ll just play this whole year by ear. I have such a hard time planning, I like spontaneity too much. We’ll see where the tide takes me.

      I’d love to visit Norway (since, apparently, I’m Norwegian). I think the best way to “do” Europe is in sections, Scandanavia, Western, Eastern and Southeastern. Trying to cram the entire continent into one or two trips just isn’t practical…unless you’re there for a long while.

  2. I’m in the same boat. I’m a junior in college and what I money I do get, goes to books and everything else. I want to travel Europe and especially get to Taiji!! Who knows when I’ll be able to do it…

  3. God I’m so backwards compared to “normal” people. I grew up with middle class parents that were overloaded with wanderlust. As a result, my childhood was full of travel. To the point of me begging for us to stay home once in awhile so I could go to a sleepover with school friends. No such luck. And it was cool. It probably was a huge part of what made me, me. And in my early twenties that was definitely somebody who didn’t want kids. I was a chick that didn’t even babysit when I was young. Better things to do… Long story short- fell in love, got married, a couple of years later gave birth to my first son. The golden child. That was the moment that changed my life. I realized I had a gift with young children. Loved, loved, loved hanging out and teaching them. Got my degree in early-childhood education, opened my own preschool/daycare business, and never looked back. It’s weird how life’s journey can take you down a path you never even dreamed of.

  4. I’m with you on this, Steve. I don’t even consider myself a super “outdoorsy” person, but my favorite things to visit are natural wonders. I’m not a huge fan of cities. They can be interesting, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose nature every time.

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