My heart is so happy that I got to go surfing while I was visiting home. And I got to go twice!

In a previous post from Madagascar, I mentioned how even though surfing is epic fun, I’m not incredibly good and it gives me loads of anxiety. But despite that, I still do it every time I get the chance and it’s actually paying off.

I can gladly say this last time I caught more waves than I usually get and the nerves weren’t there so much. I didn’t worry about shark attacks or crashing face-first into the sand or getting pummeled by a monster wave or looking like an idiot. And, woah, not spending all my energy worrying meant I had enough to actually catch waves! It also helped that the water was super glassy and the waves were superb that day.






About Returning to the Beginning

I am sitting on an exceptionally cushy couch in the living room of the house I grew up in. I feel comfortable, though pensive and disquieted.

I’m watching television for the first time in a year. I’m driving the car I drove in college. I’m eating full meals compliments of my parents. I’m sleeping in my room full of stuff I left behind when I moved to a different state six years ago.

I’m only here for two weeks. It’s wonderful to see my parents and my brother and my friend and the beach.

After letting the world wash over me and feeling it change me, it’s good to come back to my origin and remember what made me. It’s good to remember things I already knew. It’s like a ship righting itself after being pushed toward the surface by a wave. But, before traveling I wasn’t righted either. I was lying lazily on my side, off-kilter and weighed down by my staleness and mundanity.

I feel balance.

But nagging thoughts are making their way to the shallows of my mind. I feel a tension in my skull return that had untangled itself while I roamed.

I am afraid I cannot do this. I’m afraid of not being constantly on the move. I’m afraid I can’t do this whole full-time-job thing. I’m afraid the courage and the wonder and the joy I found will fade fast. I’m afraid I’ll sink into another couch and not want to go out into the world again. I’m afraid the way that I feel different will retreat like a nap-time dream.

Is internal change something you need to white-knuckle hold onto? Or is change real and biding?

The beaches back home.

Last Stop

Tonight is my last night at the last hostel I’m staying at on this journey.

Bon Paul and Sharky’s Hostel in Asheville, North Carolina

While I was having a pint of cider at the taproom next door to my hostel, two words surfaced, uncoaxed, from my thoughts: “I’m OK.” 

You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear myself say that. The word “OK” has always been significant to me. In the midst of deep internal trouble I would say over and over to myself, “I just want to be Ok.” Today I felt like I was. Perhaps, I’ve felt like it for a while now, but the words just now materialized in my mind, a place constantly ravaged with negativity.

Thinking about the last year and two months,  a few minutes later – again, uncoaxed – I said to myself,  “I did well.” Surprising myself again with positive affirmation, I started to get all emotional in the taproom, clasping my glass, hearing partiers at my back and starring out into the dark street.

I’m not cured. I’m not foolish enough to think that. But I got a taste of wellness because I took a journey that was hard but good. And now I know better what to aim for.

Water and Sweat

I’m in the South for the first time! At least I think so…

I came to the east coast when I was in middle school, but I don’t remember exactly where I went besides New York and Washington D.C.

It’s hotter than blazes here and as humid as a tea kettle. (I haven’t been able to have a cuppa here because it’s too dang hot.) But Charleston, South Carolina is quite charming nonetheless.

I spent the day at the aquarium. Best choice ever. I’m obsessed with aquariums. I sat in front of the albino alligator for almost an hour. I spent almost as long looking at the giant tank.

Aquariums fill me with a specific kind of wonder and inspiration. It has the perfect calmness for pondering. I love to walk around with my journal and write down fun facts that I read. Want to hear one?:

Catfish have taste buds all over their bodies.

What? Catfish, what is it like to be you?

I like the chaos in this picture of the giant fish tank.

Home Country

Well, I’m back in the United States: home of giant milkshakes and ice water. (Goodness, did I miss ice water.) It’s awkward that this is an after-the-fact food picture. I demolished this Speculoos Cookie Butter milkshake before I could photograph it.

I’m in Orlando visiting my best friend I haven’t seen in two years. It’s a fantastic reunion! But holy moly is Orlando hot! I miss the cool breeze of Ireland, its people, the pubs, the forest and not seeing alligator warning signs everywhere.

Here’s us at Disneyworld meeting Sadness, my spirit animal.