airport musings // on ripped suitcases and belongings and overpacked minds

Written in my journal on 4/10/2014:

i’m sitting on the floor of the charlotte douglas international airport all by myself at 1am. there is sand in my dready hair and bruises on my traveled limbs and a growing hole at the bottom of the old duffel bag i’ve been living out of for the past two months.

the bag is literally bursting at the seams from the marry-poppins amount of content i’ve been keeping in it. a hammock, a tent, a yoga mat, two towels, three pairs of shoes and a truly modest amount of clothing are all in fantastic danger of being strewn across america tomorrow morning, when i fly back to the heathen lands of las vegas.

i’d mourn the hammock and the tent for their growing usefulness in my life, but not the clothes so much. they smell of caribbean sand and florida sweat and ohio snow and that cold costa rican river water i last washed them in. 

i’ve worn each article of clothing so many times on my travels over the past couple years that they just don’t mean anything to me anymore. kind of like when you say a word over and over and over, until it doesn’t make any sense and sounds like gibberish. it doesn't make the word any less of a real word, but you question, "wait, what does this mean again?"

these clothes, though useful and once beautiful to me, have become redundant. these things i once spent money on because i thought they'd make me momentarily happy, or would somehow define ME and my style, have been stripped of that imaginary value and reduced to their practicality. will this be comfortable on an airplane? can i hike a mountain in these? would this be weird to hitchhike in? could i dance until sunrise and then fall asleep in these? 

you're bound to reevaluate the value of your possessions when you have to carry them on your back everywhere you go. and material things simply aren't worth so much when you're getting richer-than-a-king off of invaluable, mind-blowing experiences. 

so after carrying the weight of these things for so long, you get to a point where you're like, "yeah, whatever. i can let that awesome shirt go. i've had my way with it."

like this long, flowy tribal skirt i was given at a bar the other night in the virgin islands...

i complimented a passing girl on the skirt she was wearing, had a quick conversation with her about traveling, and five minutes later, she appeared next to me again wearing shorts, with the pretty skirt in her outstretched hand.

a random, selfless gesture, which i am wearing as i type because it's my new favorite thing/story/present-ever-received-from-a-stranger-in-a-bar. ;)

it's not everyday you compliment somebody on their clothes and then they almost immediately strip them off just to give to you... that sort of radical detachment from ego is the sort of thing i want to stand up and applaud. 

but this girl was a traveler too. and we nomads have come to know the real worth of these material possessions---skirts and shirts and boots and things---the things you don't even remember you own until you go home and find them hiding in the corner of your closet. they are only worth what you do in them. and what i really mean is, they’re meant to be worn in fantastical places on a weekly basis for months or years on end, until your perception of their worth transcends their monetary value.

because then, their value exists in the photographs of you twirling on that faraway beach with your best friends. their value exists in the memories of the things you conquered while in them. the way they made you FEEL in them, in those moments that changed the way you look at the world forever. 

once you appreciate your experiences in those physical things more than the things themselves, it’s easy to let them go. to recycle them. to give them away. to pass them on to the next wide-eyed, adoring girl, who will wear that skirt like it's brand new and give it a whole new life of badass experiences.

so for the sake of posterity, once i’ve had my fun with this skirt---once it's exhausted its worth with me---i’ll pass it on to the next appreciative girl along my journey.

just like i did with the sunglasses i found on the beach in st thomas, and then accidentally (drunkenly) lost on the beach in barcelona (and secretly hope somebody finds, cherishes, and then drunkenly loses on another beach in another awesome part of the world!).

because that’s the best thing you can do with something really useful---SHARE IT. ...discover it, try it on for size, learn from it, grow in it, and then pass it on! 

you see, it’s been two entire months on the road(/mountain/island/sea), and my brain feels just about as jam-packed as my luggage. as much as i CAN'T WAIT to unpack my dirty travel gear, wash it and put it in its place or give it away, i also CANNOT WAIIITTTT to empty the contents of my very full and scattered brain. to unpack all these lessons and revelations and manifestations. to line them up, clean them off and maybe even polish them. so that i can share. so that they can have a whole new life with someone who's never worn them before. 

as i sit here in the loud silence of this massive airport, the core of my very being feels like it could spontaneously combust from all of the loving and learning and hilarity that I've reveled in lately. i want to hug every human i know and collapse into a coma at the same time. 

it's the same way i felt when i returned from europe last summer. because traveling, and really living deliberately, doesn't afford much time to step back and look at everything i'm experiencing from an outside perspective. to put the chaos of my thoughts into an orderly peace. and to share with people who could relate to/laugh at/learn from them.

this is all to say, i am so excited to go home (or to the semblance of it anyway), and to just BE there. to once again rest my tired mind in a real bed (hallelujah!) near a real fridge (not a tent or a backpack or a friend's fridge!) where i can keep real veggies to heal my tired cells. to do yoga and meditate on a regular basis. to read and learn and digest, until i feel revived enough to share. 

ohhhh, i believe in the good things comin', comin', comin', comin'!

and, as always, i love YOU for being present in this journey, and your own! light it up!