One thing that makes me thankful to be home: kombucha on tap! Also, delicious and healthy cafe food, like this Thai peanut shrimp lettuce wrap and black bean brownie. I dig Spokane’s food game.
No, that’s not some far-off expanse of foreign land. That’s home. That’s the prairie right outside of Spokane in Washington.
It would seem, since I’m back at home, I no longer have use for a travel blog. What does one do with a travel blog when the trip is over? My answer: Keep traveling!
I’m not going to take off on another worldwide adventure just yet. I plan to stick around this town. While being abroad, I realized how little I actually explored of Spokane and the places surrounding it.
The Northwest is an amazing place that people from all over come to see and I have some serious appreciating of it to do. Today I hopped on a bus to Seattle to go to a dear friend’s wedding and stay in the city for the weekend.
That’s just the start. Canada is just two hours above me, Idaho and Montana within arm’s reach and Oregon a short drive to the south. I strategically took a job with a schedule of four tens, so every weekend is a three day weekend!
One of the most important things I learned over the last year and two months is to live everyday like I’m traveling.
Before my trip, I got into a snooze-worthy cycle of work, relax, work, relax, work, relax (with a lot of worrying and feeling blue thrown in between). But when I was traveling, I didn’t let myself be so boring. I soaked everything in and went on adventures. Why would I not do that back at home?
The way I see it now that the lazy haze has lifted around me, there are adventures to be had, places to see, loads of people to meet and even a business venture to pursue! I want to share that with you all as well as recall some things from my trip that I didn’t get to write about and continue to talk about the struggles of anxiety and depression.
So if you want to come along on that journey, you’re more than welcome!
One of my favorite poems from Walt Whitman:
Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?”
This is how I tried to operate while I traveled.
Too often, people think they will look weird or creepy if they just talk to random strangers on the street. How often have you simply wanted to know what someone is doing or complement someone on something they’re wearing or tell the person nearest you some interesting musing that popped in your head or just say “hi” to someone that looks kind or fascinating? I don’t know about you, but for me it’s pretty often.
But more times than not I don’t say anything because I’m scared. But when I have done it or someone has done it to me, it was great.
In Bath, England a family wandered away to do something and left their dad behind on a bench. I was sitting next to him. We just started talking for no particular reason. His family returned with fudge and gave me a piece. Free fudge!
In Asheville, North Carolina I was walking around the city with my backpack on the way to the airport and a guy just walked right up to me and asked, “How long have you been traveling for?” It was a guy I had observed quizzically over the last hour as he sat near me in the market square, devouring a whole cooked chicken with his hands by himself accompanied by a full, brand-new bottle of barbecue sauce. I found out he’s a traveler, too, and an AmeriCorps volunteer. I never got an explanation for the chicken, but it was fun. Cool guy.
This is how I tried to operate while I traveled and how I want to be at home, too.
Back to the Inland Northwest. Back to pine trees. Back to sleeping close enough to the train tracks to hear the train at night. Back to the lakes. Back to having all four seasons. Back to Spokane. It feels good.
Last night wasn’t good. I was crying and I was afraid and I was incredibly sad. That hasn’t happened for at least two months, which was quite the record for me.
In the midst, I felt a ping of desperate sadness – a specific, familiar, dangerous kind, a feeling I almost thought I left behind. I had the thought: Oh no. It’s coming back. I’m becoming depressed again.
But then, a wise response came: No, Jo. You’re not “becoming depressed again.” You feel this feeling right now. That’s OK. Acknowledge it. Do what it asks of you. Cry. Be scared. Then breathe and get back to what you were doing.
Let the bad, panicked thoughts enter your head like a visitor, like a bird that accidently flies into a room. Don’t try to keep it. Treat it gently because it’s fragile. Leave all the windows open, so when it’s done flying dizzyingly to and fro, it can leave easily, back outside.