Last week I wrote about what it’s been like to about to reenter to the United States this year after my summer of experiencing life in far flung places. This week I thought it would be good to go back to the beginning the journey and reflect on the days leading up to my departure and what I learned from the process of preparing to launch myself into the hands of the good people in the world.
And speaking of trusting one’s safety and well-being over to the people of world: the act of traveling is a huge act of trust in humanity. It isn’t lost on me and this kind of realization makes me never want to leave my house, get in a car, or any other endeavor that requires me to interact with other humans. We the people of the world are living in a crucible of shifting times. World news is a constant feed of horrific stories of terror attacks, mass shootings, powerful and deadly natural disasters, and ego maniac leaders with nuclear codes threatening each other on Twitter. And yet, we must listen to our own inner drum beats telling us what we must do to move forward a midst this chaos. Otherwise we will stay small and go no where, literally and figuratively. My little internal percussion section has told me for as long as I can remember: “Go and experience the world. Learn other languages and learn how other people live. See how others do life on this planet. Do your best to get to know people. While you are there, let the other humans know that they are seen and honored and cherished.” So onward I go into the world each time with a spiritual request: “Please let me navigate the world safely. I’d like to go meet people and learn things that are beyond my scope of understanding from my beloved home environment.” There are no guarantees, so this is my little ritual. Followed up with a “Thank you so much for bringing me home safely” when I get home safely.
I am always surprised how challenging transitioning from home life to life without the comforts of home. The mental chatter is loud, relentless, and full of details such as: “remember to call and put bills on hold, don’t forget to pack this, make sure to call / text so-and-so back, eat all of the food in your fridge so you can unplug it, get a haircut”, and on and on it goes. Travel for me is almost always paired with end of the academic term or year tasks which add their own brand of intensity to an already tumultuous time.
Beyond breathing, making lists, practicing yoga so as to stay present and try not to lose my mind in all that, he most important part of the pre-departure to do list is seeing my people. Because while I do desire to go in the world and meet new people, I desire so much to squeeze in time with my beloved homies before journeys, and this year the adventures were exceptional and filled with outdoor pursuits, dressing up and drinks, and sunshine. Behold:
Pictured above: running with my ladies in the sunshine, SUP at Waldo and Crescent Lakes, yoga at the vineyard, dressing up in our finery for a cocktail night at my favorite kombucha shop, and twinning Speakeasy Travel Scarves (they have a hidden pocket!) with my mom. Heaven. I am the luckiest woman to have these women in my tribe.
The first leg of my travel journey from Eugene > Portland > Atlanta > Madrid began with a 5:15 AM flight from Eugene to Portland. I was excited and figured this would be the only time in the next 24 hours that I would look well put-together and I was right.
Flights from EUG to PDX on Alaska Air are in my favorite dinky Q400 propeller planes which usually require an outdoor deplaning and walking to the airport terminal and this one was no exception. When I opened the door to the PDX terminal, in my blurry-eyed early morning haze, I recognized a woman but I didn’t know exactly why. Then I recognized some well-dressed and tall gentleman in suits (a rare site in Portland) standing near her. Then it hit me: I was walking towards Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown!
I did a few double takes and walked past her in a star-struck state. The masculine (logical) and feminine (feelings) parts of my me immediately broke into discussion about what to do next:
Feminine: “OMG I should go introduce myself to Governor Brown!”
Masculine: “Naw, I bet she’s really busy. Let’s just let the woman be. I bet she gets harassed in public all the time.”
Feminine: “We’re not harassing her. We’re going to… gush about her. And say nice things. Tell her how much we appreciate her work.”
Masculine: “Let’s not. It’s early.”
Feminine: “Screw that. We’re going to go meet her.”
On and on this went for almost a minute in real chronological time near as I can tell. In the end, we did backtrack and decide to go meet her.
And so we did.
I opened with: “Governor Brown, my name is Rachel, and I just want to say thank you for everything that you’ve done for our state” while trying not to succumb to star-struckness which would ruin my ability to put words together coherently. Governor Brown is such a gracious, well-spoken, and articulate woman which isn’t surprising since she’s the Governor of Oregon, but let’s remember that the clock had not yet struck 6:00 AM yet. Governor Brown acted as if being approached in a friendly way at 5:50 AM were the most normal thing in the world for her. She asked me where I was traveling to and when I told her Madrid, she said that she was born in Spain on a military base near Madrid. I learned something new about my state’s top elected official! She obliged my request for a selfie and one of the members of her well-dressed male entourage even volunteered to take the photo for us. She told me about her travels to California that day, wished me safe journeys, and we parted ways in terminal A.
I walked away from this experience thinking it to be a very lucky and positively auspicious way to begin my travels away from Oregon for the summer: getting a lovely send off from my female tribe members at home and the the female Governor of my beloved home state. The most important part was that I didn’t let the voice of doubt talk me out of an opportunity to tell a top politician and fellow female how grateful I am for the work that she does.
With that chance encounter fully experienced, I went forward and onward to my journey into my summer travels. And met up with my dear gentleman in Atlanta:
So onward I went into my first of three continents in summer 2017. I am still in awe of how fortunate I am to have experienced such a summer.
May you all listen to that little drum beat in your heart and let it guide you into the life and experiences that you most desire.
Forward we move!