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The Year of the Hitchhiker
Lessons learned from a year of asking
I was standing on the side of the road with my thumb out, trying to catch my first hitchhiking ride ever. I had high hopes and no expectations. Little did I know of the revolution that was about to take place in my wandering soul.
I was about to spend the next year finding souvenirs on the side of road, covering 14,000km across 5 different countries. Apart from bones, feathers, and rocks, the souvenirs I found were slow, quiet bits of wisdom from the lands I traversed and the friends I met along the way.
My journey was about to take me through star-strewn, windswept volcanoes in Hawaii, to a boat full of vagrants off the coast of an island in Polynesia, to an alpine trek in New Zealand. I was about to fall in love with a puppeteer animating the ghost of a dead girl playing a piano in the basement of Wellington’s oldest building. I was about to learn how to live without money and discover the delectable cuisine of dumpster diving. I was about to learn how to put aside everything that makes sense and surrender myself to the scary unknown. I was about to spend 3 months as the photographer at a protest camp, helping the most passionate, loving, and hard-working ferals this world has ever seen to protect a forest, its inhabitants, aboriginal sacred grounds, and the health of our precious environment. I was about to learn that love has many textures ranging from terrifying, painful honesty to playful, rapturous passion and that each texture is valid and meaningful. I was about to meditate for a month in the Blue Mountains then wander my way through the red center of Australia, walking hand-in-hand with truck drivers, miners, mothers, fathers, aboriginal drug dealers, travelers, teachers, writers, brothers, sisters. I was about to work a 9-5 as a pearl farmer, the ocean as my office, the boat as my cubicle, and dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and humpback whales as my co-workers. I was about to sleep on park benches in Singapore on my way home to witness my brother make a promise of love and commitment to the woman he loves. I was about to confront the angry, sad, and scared child within me that I had been neglecting for far too long and put my arms around him. I was about to reconnect with the land and the people I come from by hitchhiking and train hopping my way across the golden plains and great lakes of the US. I was about to have all of the lessons I learned across the past year tested when Toronto asked me to ditch my flight home and put down some roots.
These were the answers I wrote on that test:
Trust is a currency and the more I spend the richer I become.
There is an abundance that surrounds us and can be accessed simply by asking.
No matter how far I travel, infinity exists within me and can by accessed simply by breathing.
Everybody hurts and each of us deserves respect along our journey.
Healing happens when I stop trying to feel better and instead feel all of the ups and downs as they come.
Trust, abundance, infinity, hurt, healing, questions, answers, success, and failure all depend on how I approach this present moment.
My answers are always changing and so are the questions.
Here’s to the year of hitchhiking, the year of asking.
Trust the journey.
You’ll be delighted by what you find along the way.