Weary to the bone. Droop-eyed. Screaming muscles. I’m walking 3+ miles/5km a day these days and “rude awakening” doesn’t begin to describe it after two years of sedentary life. It’s over 35 kilometres in 7 days. I don’t think I’ve walked that in 10 weeks before now. The travel life looms, so I consider this a dress rehearsal.*
So, no, I wasn’t planning on stopping to write for you at 10:42 on this Friday night… but, really, this is for me.
I may never again know this incredible mental and spiritual thrill — watching the final hours tick off before a life-long dream and life-changing adventure begins.
But here I am, just 72 hours from closing in on Iceland for my quick layover before landing in London, where I welcome the new phase of my life with the help of an old school friend.
A week from tonight, I will have dined on some great food, slept a little, and I might be about to wander out for a midnight snack at a wine bar, thanks to jetlag on my first night in Croatia.
I don’t know how many people ever get to feel this — the sense of being a weekend away from the beginning of a lifelong dream. Even fewer still will have come to this after nearly dying a couple times, getting a brain injury, and all the other shit that happened to me in my 30s, from living with cockroaches while my back was blown through to losing all my savings.
Well, I sure flipped the script on that. Now everything ahead of me is all “la vita è bella” — or the beautiful life, like the Italians say.
I needed to stop tonight, to take this moment in. I have spontaneously cried twice tonight. Not because I’m sad or happy, but because I’m so damned proud and grateful. I kept this goal in mind daily for 2.5 years. I never stopped fighting for it.
The week I bought my airplane tickets, at the end of April, it turned out to be five years exactly from the week I nearly lost my home after the 2010 Olympics and I didn’t have money for rent. I wound up selling some gold jewelry and one of my mom’s antiques in order to make rent. When I realized that after I had bought the tickets, I bawled. Just WOW. What a coincidence.
I don’t know how I kept my faith in those darker times, but I did, and now here I am. After weeks of being so tired I could cry, I’m almost done all the madness. Onto the adventure.
Thanks for all your support. Here’s where things get fun. I’ll give you whiplash with how slow I can go after putting my work pedal to the metal for 33 months. So slow. Europe, I’m ready for you!
*Within 4 weeks I would have walked 17km in one day. Had you told me that when I wrote this, I would have laughed at you. Travel, man…