It was almost a year ago now that I did the craziest, most out of character thing I’d ever done in my life. I shared parts of this adventure with people I know, and also with people I didn’t know via this blog. I openly admitted the confusion I felt by not only being in my mid-twenties, but as a result of being out of my comfort zone, as a result of adventure. After a year of new- new places, new people, a new ocean- I decided to come home, to return to where the adventure started. I’ve been asked to write a post explaining why I chose to leave California, the reasoning behind the decision to drive cross-country alone, yet again, back to where I had felt so trapped and confused in the first place. Honestly, my initial reaction to this request was “This feels like homework, I don’t want to do what you tell me to”. I have this problem where when I’m told to do something, I immediately don’t want to do it. The rebellious teenager I once was is clearly still alive in me somewhere, and while her thought process may not always be beneficial I refuse to suffocate her completely.
I’ve been trying to think of what to write. What’s next to share with people, if anyone actually cares or reads what I have to say. There is not one reason I came home, nor was there one reason why I left. I never left with the intention of living in a palm tree filled skyline forever, and I definitely did not leave with the intention of becoming rich or famous. I’m not sure I left with any particular intention at all, really. I called it my leap of faith. My “Okay Universe-Sheba-EasterBunny-God-Whatever, what do you have in store for me?” I set out to have an adventure. And an adventure is exactly what I got.
My adventure taught me to be in love with not knowing where you are. To look left and right and straight ahead, fully embracing the feeling that comes along with knowing that nothing in these directions is familiar. The only thing you know is behind you, and you learn that there may be no other feeling truly as freeing as this one. That even though this place of not knowing can at first induce panic and fear, beyond these feelings is opportunity and a freedom not contained in the direction of the past.
Adventure showed me that the world is both friendly and cold. The people that only care about what you do and what you can offer them are not worth your time. The people who will listen to you, soak in your confusion and laugh at it with you are the ones you should keep talking to. The people who encourage you, even if they would never in a million years do what you’re doing. Appreciate these people. Learn from their kindness. Learn the importance of listening through being listened to.
Adventure taught me about the importance of the human connection. It taught me the reality of loneliness, and athough it is invaluable to be okay with being alone, it is also just as important to connect and develop relationships with other human beings. This connection can change your life. This connection is magic. I have come to believe that magic happens when you believe in it.
I learned, as I always seem to do, that everything happens for a reason. You meet certain people who will change your life, teach you lessons. People who will remind you of your worth and your beauty and that this adventure you are on which is causing you tears and confusion and an ever-depleting bank account balance is not all for nothing. That you are brave and that this is your story- nobody else’s.
Adventure reminded me that I will never be someone who gets their eyebrows waxed every two weeks. It taught me that Los Angeles traffic is without question the definition of a living hell. It showed me that being with people who care what’s inside of you is better than being with people who are looking at the clothes you’re wearing. It taught me to never say no to a Chinese woman when she offers you food inside of her house on the 4th of July. You will eat a delicious vegetarian meal with almost ancient Buddhist monks that speak little-to-no English. They will laugh a genuine laugh that gives you a feeling they know something you don’t the entire time you are in their presence. You will leave this house with an apricot and a grapefruit as parting gifts. (I told you- MAGIC HAPPENS.)
Adventure taught me that a sunset won’t solve all of your problems, but it sure as hell helps. Adventure is change and change is scary. Not just for you, but for the people behind you. It is constant, but it is not always welcomed. You are allowed to change. You have to change. Sometimes the way you think your adventure will turn out isn’t the way you’d thought it would, but in the wake of passing events you see that everything has happened exactly the way it was supposed to.
Your adventure will never be the same as someone else’s. You will never have the same feelings, or want the same things as another human being. But be aware of what’s happening. Certain people and places come into your life at exactly the right time- to give you courage, to help you come alive, to remind you of who you are and what you can become. Adventure comes at different times and in different ways. Mine came at the dawn of my quarter-life, and as I headed in my car back to the east coast I could feel that this was only the end of one adventure. There will be more. And if we’re going to be honest, it’s all one big adventure, right?
Adventure taught me to be okay with right now. To belong to where I am. That I do not have to be defined by what I was or what I’ve done, but also to not forget these things either. Adventure taught me that moms will always be your best friend, ramen tastes better when eaten dry, cheap Indian food is THE BOMB, and that leaving a place doesn’t always mean goodbye. Adventure rips you open and hurls you into the unknown, forcing you to find new parts of yourself. Adventure will give you a newfound confidence, and in one way or another it will give you new life. But the most important lesson I learned? Adventure is always, always worth it.
By Kaycee Snowden