Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

One Year on the Road: A Reflection

September 17th, 2013 | Posted by Brianna in About | Celebrations

In the midst of all of our Darien Gap adventures, we failed to mention or celebrate a pretty meaningful milestone in our life – our one year travelversary. You know, a travelversary. It’s like an anniversary, except with travel. We flew from Panama to Colombia on the eve of our travelversary and woke up for the first time ever in South America exactly one year from the September morning in 2012 that we left our Raleigh home for good. We never planned such a clean organization of time and space, but it worked out quite nicely, establishing our first year on the road in North and Central America, and now sending us off to embark on our second in South America. Many of my memories feel further away than that; sometimes it feels like we just left.

The lifestyle is a good fit for us. We’re flexible, happy, and interested. We don’t miss the things. We have yet to wonder or waver on whether or not this journey was the right choice. Before we left, when struggling with how to describe the what and why of a future I didn’t understand either, I often explained the new direction by saying, “As bossy and adamant as I can seem sometimes, the truth is that I am rarely sure of anything in this world. But in the core of me I am sure about this, and there is only one other thing I’ve ever felt this sure about. That was Ian.” It sounds super cheesy, I know, but it was the most honest explanation I had. The direction we were heading felt right, and it still does. If it’s possible, we’re greeting our second year on the road with even more enthusiasm. We’re growing into our crazy dreams and becoming comfortable with their lack of shape. When we left a year ago, I didn’t know what I was going to learn or how the experience was going to change me or where I was going to go next, and now, a year later, I find myself reflecting on those very unknowns. What am I sure about now?

Well, love. And moving forward. So I guess not that much has changed.

In many ways, what has changed has not been any of the things I might have expected. I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel like I understand any better than I did before. I don’t know the answers to the questions that face our hemisphere or our generation. I can’t wrap my head around discernible causes or solutions to any problem at all. I don’t know why people behave the way they do. I do not have a better idea what I should be when I grow up or what my purpose might be. I do not know where to find the elusive gray line between right and wrong. I struggled with this at first. It was very difficult to feel more lost and more found at the same time, and in many ways, looking for those answers generated an overwhelming inner-rhetoric on my self and my center.

What I have found is an ever growing sense of awareness and an appreciation of its importance and simple sufficiency. We may never be able to solve all of the world’s problems or engage in conversations in which a single point-of-view is the absolute right one, but if we can bring even a small bit of understanding to another individual and their perspective, then we will undoubtedly move in a direction of peace. I do not know what should have happened or how they should happen in the future, but I am more aware that certain things, people, places, beliefs, events, and backgrounds exist. I am a little bit more aware than I was a year ago, and maybe I don’t need anything more definitive than that.

Love-at-first-sight-iversary 2013

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16 Responses

  • Alex Fuller says:

    Very cool and keep going!
    Travel is one of the greatest teachers of all time.
    Thx for sharing.

  • Sandi Blood says:

    It is so refreshing to read of two young people, trusting and believing in each other and willing to face the unknown every day…together. This foundation of love and respect for each other will treat you well in the many years ahead. I envy you having this so early in your life. It took me decades to get to that place! Continue to travel safely…as always, I look forward to every one of your postings.


  • Aunt Penny says:

    Brianna – I don’t often comment, but I have to say this brought me to tears. I think it is wonderful that you two are having this adventure together. I hope you will always find peace in your love for each other and in the simple things of life. Safe travels & God be with you.

  • Heather says:

    Great writing. I agree with your perspective. I had hoped for some miraculous change in my life by traveling. But it was more subtle and more profound than that. You captured it so well in this post – something I never would have been able to put in writing. Keep up the great writing and wonderful insights.

    • Brianna says:

      Yes, subtle and yet also profound are both fitting adjectives for the shift – well put. It’s really nice to hear that another traveler has felt and experienced it the same way. Sometimes defining the perspective is harder than the growth itself! Thank you so much for your comment, Heather. Are you all in Colombia yet?

  • Clark Jordan says:

    I believe these two years will define the rest of your life much more than you think. I struck out for three years in Europe, with virtually no money, when I was in my early twenties and that forever changed my way of thinking. In some ways, I have never finished that journey. Life is uncertain. That is a wonderful and exciting thing. In the end, you are as free mentally, physically, and philosophically as you choose to be. I wish I could tell you after 40 years of this journey that I have some of the answers to your grand questions, but I don’t. Not all questions have answers. That in no way makes the search less noble. Your journey makes you realize you are a part of a wider world. That can only be a good thing. I am enjoying traveling your road with you vicariously through your journal. I am so glad me met along the way. Have fun and remember the journey doesn’t end when you get home. Un abrazote!

  • Rhonda says:

    Lovely post and congratulations on your 1 year travelversary! I think we are, perhaps, not meant to understand all around us..but as long as you are happy and fulfilled, then you are doing it right. Enjoy South america & beyond.

  • Emily Slater says:

    Well said…beautiful post!

  • Judy Robinson says:

    We are very happy you made it safely to Columbia, even it it was with a lot of paperwork and patience. Enjoying your blogs very much as well. I have to agree with what Penny wrote and since she wrote it much better than I could I just second her comments. We love you both very much and hope your second year is as interesting and thrilling as the first has been. Stay safe. Love, Grandma

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