As I chatted with a friend in the US yesterday over GoogleVoice, she asked me to share something about our journey so far. Something that was too embarrassing to have made it on the blog.
It made me think. Is there anything that has happened I’ve been too embarrassed to mention? I mean, I wrote about getting violently ill from black beans, didn’t I?
But then it came to me: we though about quitting.
It lasted all of 10 minutes, but we did discuss it. In the throes of our stomach horror, wrapped in blankets to protect us from the frigid temperatures, having spent too much time in planes, airports and taxi cabs – we thought about quitting.
I took those fleeting moments to indulge in imagining what would happen if we returned back to the States immediately. Maybe I’d reconnect with my yoga clients, find an apartment in a familiar area, and settle back into the same life we left just four months ago. We’d get to pet our kitty, enjoy the comforts of indoor climate control, and drink water straight from the tap. It could have seemed like a dream come true. But it really didn’t.
Not just because I didn’t want to be a quitter (though trust me, that instinct was definitely there), but also because it simply wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to see Machu Picchu, eat authentic Thai food, and ride an elephant in Nepal. I wanted to learn how to live in different countries without suffering. I wanted to continue on this adventure, even if turning back seemed easier.
During our stint volunteering at summer camp, the staff often stressed the different zones campers could be in – comfort zone, stretch zone, and panic zone. We were in our panic zone when we thought about quitting (between bouts of vomiting, mind you.) We were only 2.5 weeks into our international adventure – of course it felt like a panic zone. We’d already been through three countries, were constantly on the move, and had no idea if this plan we had for the year would pan out at all. Now that we’ve settled in and found our stride, I can hardly believe the thought crossed our minds.
But know that it did. Not everything is roses on the road. Most of the time we’ve been hanging out in our stretch zone, but sometimes something pushes us one step too far. Now I know that I can get through the panic zone, and next time hopefully I’ll do so with a little more grace. (There will of course be a next time.)
So I was initially a little embarrassed to say that we thought about quitting, but not anymore. Instead, I’m proud to say that we moved passed our doubts and are now reaping the rewards of sticking with it.
Travel really speeds up those life lessons, man. I tell ya.