One week ago today I took a big risk. I traded emails, meetings and stress for a tiny teardrop trailer and an open itinerary with one goal in mind: letting go. My job was highly rewarding and well-paid and I felt like I was making a difference, seemingly everything I’ve worked so hard for. Yet it was also high stress, overwhelming and was taking a toll on my health. So I decided to take a different path. The path less traveled. For the last two years I have been in a process of downsizing – minimizing my living space and my footprint on the planet. This journey started when I sold my half of a large home in Fairbanks and moved into a small apartment in downtown Anchorage. Letting go of a mortgage, car payments, clutter and lots of stuff was the first step in exploring the kind of life I want to live. I’ve now sold nearly all my furniture and other belongings and put photographs, family heirlooms, books, etc. in storage. I am setting out on a journey that has no prior expectations, save that I will be driving from Anchorage to most likely the Yucatan, stopping to enjoy the amazing wild places in between.
The last two years also started an incredible journey of personal growth and exploration. Several losses within a few months, including the death of a parent and divorce, gave me the opportunity to put myself first. I was living for others for so long (I knew no other way) that my ideas for the future were being driven by long-standing expectations, both external and self-imposed. I am concerned that staying in my job, or another job in my field, is too restrictive for me to ask the important questions about who I am and what is my path. Or perhaps more accurately, I wouldn’t have the time or the space to listen for answers.
I’m letting go of old stories and old patterns. Letting go of meticulously planning each day, hour, minute. The most healing aspect of this trip is having no plan, no itinerary, no end date. To sound cliché, it’s the journey, not the destination that is important. But the destination, tropical sunshine and Caribbean blue waters, is also a reprieve for the soul after ten years in Alaska. It symbolizes putting my own needs first, the very essence of self-love and self-care.
One week in I find myself still in busy mode. I need to wake up, make breakfast, pack up camp and make it to the next destination before a certain time. Rather than enjoying the moment, I am still in the routine of keeping busy. But it’s only been one week. Every day I set the intention to slow down, let go of the outcome, and rather than doing, focus on just being.
Joining me on my adventure are Kiji, my 16-year old dog, and my partner Jason. I will be blogging on places we go, people we meet, as well as insights and lessons learned. I’m also using this road trip to sit down with climate adaptation experts along the route to jumpstart my upcoming podcast. Thank you for joining the journey with me.