Hello everyone! Remember me? The lady who used to post to this blog constantly on everything from volunteer work to dysentery? Yes, I know the activity on our site has been slow lately, and thank you to those of you who have reached out and encouraged me to keep writing about our family’s post-journey life. I know I’ve been absent, but it’s not because our return to the U.S. hasn’t been worth writing about. Rebuilding our American life has been exciting, eye-opening, overwhelming at times, and occasionally a little depressing.
However, with there being only so many hours in the day, I’ve had to let the blog go for a while so I can commit my creative energy to another project. These last few months I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into a book about our family’s adventure. After documenting our around-the-world trip through the posts on this blog, I feel compelled to write a comprehensive, seamless story about the physical and emotional journey we took together. Rather than a series of divergent articles chronicling specific events, I’m attempting to create a tapestry of our nomadic life, weaving in the many details, stories and lessons we haven’t shared on our blog. I want this manuscript to take the reader along with us as we depart from our old life, encounter new people, triumphs and challenges around the globe, and learn the lessons that changed us forever.
This is very new territory for me. Having spent a career in business and project management, connecting to my creative side on a daily basis is a colossal vocational shift. So is not getting paid for hours and hours of hard work. Because, let’s face it, all this effort might lead to nothing. In the end, I may have a lovely narrative no one but my own kids will have any interest in reading. Despite knowing NOTHING about the world of publishing (guidance anyone?) I hope to get this book published someday, but I know the reality is that might never happen. And I have to be okay with that. It’s a humbling experience, this artistic life.
I keep moving forward, using creative means to find my way through this new chapter (pun intended). If our trip taught me anything, it’s to step out of my comfort zone as much as possible because every time I do the rewards are more extraordinary and life-changing than I ever dreamed possible. In the wise words of Dory, I’m going to “just keep swimming” through this artistic adventure. Sometimes the process of architecting passages with the right words feels monotonous and painstaking. Sometimes my research on publisher submission guidelines puts a doubtful knot in my stomach. As I encounter those hurdles, I have a trick I’ve been using to keep me motivated in this new creative endeavor. Whenever I hit writer’s block, I turn to my “writer’s rock.”
It doesn’t look like much. This tiny stone stands less than a half inch tall, possessing no extraordinary features or beauty. It’s just a small crystal of salt which found its way to me during our days at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Yet, looking at this little white stone reminds me of an important truth of life: Change is not just possible, it’s inevitable.
My little rock was once millions of molecules of sodium chloride floating around in an ancient lake. Microscopic organisms and fish swam among them until time and weather evaporated the body of water and left those molecules to bake in the sun, drying out until they were part of a salt crust spanning hundreds of square miles across the Andes mountain plateau. Thousands of years passed until one day this little crystal broke free from the earth. Eventually a curious six-year-old who loves to collect things found it sitting on the ground, and it became her prized treasure. A little while later it had turned into the girl’s forgotten treasure, stuck in a crevice of her mother’s wallet where it traveled in and out of markets and airports and countries as a stowaway. Then one day a middle-aged woman with a dream and a heavy dose of self-doubt came across it in the midst of a much-needed wallet cleaning. She pulled it out of the change compartment where it had been crammed against coins and wrinkled receipts. Wondering how it had gotten there, she was about to throw the salt crystal away when she stopped to examine it. As her eyes ran along its tiny edges and grooves, her mind rolled over the experiences and lessons of an epic adventure as well as the questions and uncertainties of the future sitting before her.
So now that rock has entered its new life as a personal token. A symbolic reminder for one woman that she will never exist in a static state. Her experiences will continue to transform her in both big ways and small, evolving her into new stages of life, developing new ideas in her mind, and teaching her new things about herself.