Life seems like a dream sometimes. A big dream perhaps. In the planning stages, this trip was dream-like. Could we really do this, take a year off and adventure travel? To do what we love with the one we love? Do we deserve it? Will two people in a Subie for eight months kill each other?
There are so many things that can hold you back: The job (that you may hate), money, mortgage, friends' opinions, doubt in yourself and in your relationship. The list is long. How real are the many reasons we tell ourselves why we can't do what we're passionate about? How many are constructed? How much of our suffering is self-imposed? To what extent are we in a prison of the mind?
This trip itself seems like a dream. It's been better than I could have imagined. It's been so good that my happiness container had to expand to keep from bursting. Our relationship container has gotten bigger too. It's deeper, richer, more exciting and more fun than I ever thought possible. A friend asked me about how much could be expected from a relationship. I said that I want it all: Fun, intimacy, romance, adventure, intellectual stimulation and pleasure. The whole enchilada. Why not have it all? Fundamentally it's a choice. A choice to live fully. To live your dream. And make it real.
I feel more open now because of the trip. A trip like this is a risk. So many ways to go wrong. So many logistics, so many decisions to make. Doing that successfully opens you up to life and to doing even more.
Ice climbing makes a good analogy. It's risky. You're afraid to totally commit. You tense up when you get scared, which makes you more tired. You can get paralyzed by fear and become more likely to fail. And failing can be painful.
A lot of sharp things are involved. This is where you don't want to fail/fall onto your partner. The key is to relax in the face of fear. Each move is a decision. Make it efficiently. Assess it quickly, then commit. Over and over again. Hundreds of time per climb. Your judgment improves and you know what you can trust. After leading several climbs, you begin to relax into it. Ahhh.
And you can take on more challenging climbs.
And experience more beauty.
Enjoy new sights, like Indian Prayer Flags.
Or finding your hidie hole.
Or finding snow bridges.
And powder stashes.
Sometimes, you have to wait until the avalanche slides have cleared the mountain to climb safely. But then you have to walk past the avalanche debris to get to the climb. To hike next to a big slide, that can take a while and can be unnerving to witness that power of nature. We called this approach "tiptoeing past the carnage".
We're now headed back home, listening to the "Love and Liberation" playlist. It's even sweeter and truer than on the drive out West. "No Love without Freedom, No Freedom without Love". Thank you Dido.
A friend asked if we were sad that this leg of the trip is over after 8 months. That's an easy "No" because it's not just a trip, it's the test drive of a lifestyle. We'll keep doing this as long as we can. In shorter blocks of time probably. Time is more important than money at this point. Quality of time is the most important. Living fully now. Not waiting. Reminds me of the story by Leo Buscaglia about the farmer and his wife. Every time they went to town and walked by a women's clothing shop, she admired the red dress in the window. And every time, he said he would get it for her next year. Eventually she died. He bought the red dress and she was buried in it. Which raises the question: What are you waiting for?
This question became significant to me eight years ago when I was diagnosed with leukemia. After a bout of self-pity, I began to wake up to the choices that were right there. Maybe I was too scared to live until I knew I was dying. Leukemia gave me courage to live. Fully and right now. I barely knew Brenda when I sent her a text message from Chamonix and boldly invited her there for her vacation. Her three word reply was the best text message ever: "That could work". An hour later, she had her ticket and was packing.
She wore the red dress (to our wedding even). We now eat the whole enchilada.
We dwell in this moment right here, right now, and only occasionally ask: "So what's next?"