Last month I bought a one-way ticket to Bali. Last week I stood inside the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, at the gate, ready to board. It was 12:50AM and in eighteen hours I would be sipping fresh juice on an Indonesian beach somewhere. Minutes passed, allowing exhilaration to become something else. I became dizzy. I suddenly didn’t know why anymore. What was I even doing!? I paced the lounge. I spoke with the clerk. I meant to ask a routine a question about boarding procedures, but then I heard myself asking if it was too late to take my checked bag off the plane. It wasn’t too late. Something was wrong. They removed my bag and I didn’t get on the plane. Instead, amid boarding calls for flight 255 I turned around and walked the other way- in a zombie-like stupor.
In the month leading up to that moment I had rented out my room in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, sold my car (for much less than I’d like to admit), quit my job (that I loved), and said goodbye to some friends. I left without saying goodbye to a lot of people I love. And I hurt a few friends in my abruptness. But I did it all to accomplish the dreams I’d been talking about for years.
But when I stood at the airport, I knew it wasn’t right. So I walked away, wondering fearfully if this night was what I would remember for the rest of my life as the literal moment I walked away from my deepest aspirations.
Yes. I had big ideas of seeing the world. And this was always my dream, but this adventure now wasn’t THAT dream. It was a different one. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was running toward this adventure- in that erratic way- for the wrong reason. I lied to myself over and over about the reason I needed to travel the world right now. Truthfully, it was for someone else. Again. I’d been chasing the same boy around the world for three years. And, in the process I stopped knowing myself. This boy is someone who has given me some of the best times of my life. He is my best friend, and without him life just isn’t as good. Nothing makes sense when he’s not there, and I don’t know how I’ll forgive myself for leaving him like that. I’d rather not think about it, but I’m pretty sure that this time I’ve really lost him. He left Bali yesterday. He’s off in Europe now. And that’s all fine, because I’m done chasing.
At some unknown point I stopped thinking for myself, and I ceased to be free. So I’m here, now. In Olympia, Washington. I really never would have guessed I would walk away from that comfortably chaotic love to live here again. But here I am. Life is unexpected in that way, and that’s okay. Whether I find myself here or not, it’s a fine place to be lost. For now.