November 30, 2012
The snow is falling once again here in Western Canada, blanketing all who dwell below and revealing a vast gentle hush amongst the masses. When the occasional sound of laughter leaving our neighbour’s front door makes us think of family and close friends, no matter how far they may be. We are reminded of how blessed we truly are as our thoughts stray from the warmth of our homes to all of those less fortunate than us. This is a beautiful time filled with reflection, wonder, hope and revisited dreams where everyone and everything seems to come together with a similar purpose – to reflect, rejoice, restore and reset.
We decided this year, as a family, to not exchange gifts or at least not in the way we are used to. This was a bold and much appreciated move for all of us. Ironically in previous years, after the filling up process of gifting and eating had been completed, we were often left feeling quite emotionally thinned out. December would roll in like a bat out of hell and somehow in the blink of an eye, it was March. It seemed to quickly become so chaotic and fleeting.
This year the idea of focusing solely on enjoying the time we all have together before Issa and I begin our 2012 journey, seemed fitting. And to stay true to our new ideals, we have been spending our time remaining purposeful within our own environment. We’ve been busy boxing and bagging up bins of old goodies to give away to local charities and shelters. And fully utilizing our networking tools to sell items we may no longer require, in preparation to show and sell the house next year. All that remains after a good day of giving and creating space is a welcome sense of peace and quiet, somehow drawing us closer to that nostalgic idea of true Christmas spirit.
Having the time to delve deeper into our planning for the upcoming year at this point is such a great privilege. Not to mention the opportunity to reflect on what we have learned from our previous trips and what we can look forward to on our next – both good and bad. I had a good chuckle to myself last week when thinking fondly about the times while we were still on the road, when my biggest concern while pondering a world adventure was how a self-proclaimed arachnophobe would cope in foreign lands. Now, after being back home for a couple of months and with everything so still beneath the winter’s big freeze, I find it is in this silence that we can truly hear our voices, our deeper truths.
The bikes are now in hibernation and the roads have been off limits for a month. The memory of our Western US ride continues to fade like a dream I once had and all of the photos we have taken are left to remind us that in fact, we did, actually do what we set out to do.
Over 9000 km is no small feat and we tend to go further every time we head out, but this, this will be different. This will be the first time we venture outward and onward, continuously, with no timeline in sight, no destination per se and no thought of heading home, not in the way we are accustomed to.
The forward motion while on the road can become almost second nature. There is a flow and comfort in the constant change that is easy to settle in to. Once you are far from family, friends and anything familiar, coping with this feeling of vulnerability fades quickly and only pushes you on as your confidence grows.
The still winter has now peeled back those wide-eyed layers and revealed a more grounded, thought-filled, simpler reality. Where the “Will I? Can I? Am I? Should I?” and inevitable “What if?” questions are left to linger between the more familiar bouts of over-anxious excitement. And the challenge begins once again – to believe, to set goals that can at first seem unattainable, to rise to the occasion, to trust in what we know, in our experiences. With so much of the unknown upon us, standing here in this place, on the outside looking in we remember what it is like to feel vulnerable.
No doubt, the closer we draw to our departure date, we will be faced more often with questions and feelings like these – where the reality of how grand this scheme is, truly resonates in every facet of our beings. “Can I remain focused? Will I have the strength to face the challenges presented to me? Am I doing enough? Should we continue on?” and more importantly, “Will we (he) be okay?”
It is difficult to over shadow these thoughts at this stage, in all of this slow change. In other situations I may have preferred to have the bandage pulled quickly off to get it over with, thinking somehow I would rather avoid having to encounter feelings like these, but the truth is that I welcome the questions and concerns. It is what keeps it… real. I want to experience all of the emotions that are prevalent when going through a life changing event like this. It’s how I learn my greatest lessons. Where you can almost watch your life play out like a movie on an old projector. The making of your own life’s “Can we?” and “Will we?” testimonial. And having the strength to allow it to all play out moment to moment.
These are my truths and they are ringing in loud and clear this holiday season while the ghosts of Decembers-past echo from a very distant land. Leaving us in all of this silence, to face unafraid, the plans that we’ve made.
A note to our readers:
In all of your own quiet or chaos remember to be good to yourselves and to others. Dream big and fear less. Be present in your own thoughts and actions. Welcome change and challenges. Make room for your inner voice.
Happy silent nights to you all and thanks for listening.