It is my last night on this round-the-world trip, a final hurrah, one I spend with back pressed against warm mosaic seats along the Lima coastline, sun white yellow in front of me, paraglider squeals in reach.
My throat constricts, my chest swells, the moment here, a day that once seems so far away, a pause along the continuum I sometimes yearn for, other times dread, and now, it is here.
I meditate with the sun and the earth, filament to the now, body cradled by light and heat, and I am at a loss for words, emotions, thoughts.
The past year crashes into me like a tidal wave, all encompassing, all consuming, and my memories and experiences from the world over pass by me enclosed in bubbles, me the mermaid, they the underwater breath of my mind, mes souvenirs.
I know I am lucky to feel this, for this is what it feels like to realize a dream, to dare to materialize hope and aspirations, and I feel triumphant, changed, proud, eternal, one.
I am sad, too, less about the travels coming to an end, for if I am brutally honest, I think I suffer from sensory overload, over-saturated, unable to soak in all that a place proposes the way someone thirsty for and deprived of discovery is, spirit parched and dry, ready to drink in the new, the novel, the different.
I am sad because endings are sad and because beginnings are anxious unknowns, equal measure anticipation and trepidation.
I am sad because my playground is about to change shape, and I will no longer be jumping from continent to continent, task at hand to shred this city’s logic, to see how the urban here mirrors the urban there, a spiderweb of connectivity, more similar than we care to admit.
I am sad because this globe is as big as it is small, and I will genuinely, profoundly miss the colors of the world, the people, the many places, the ability to sink my toes to the ground and connect no matter where I stand.
And, lately, I stand in a lot of places.
I am sad because I will miss the sound of the polyglot, ears vibrating to the tune of languages foreign to me, exposure the best and wisest teacher.
I am sad because there is so much beauty, so much wonder, so much to share, so much to hold with curiosity, amazement, bewilderment, and I fear no longer being able to bridge the gap between you and me, letting you borrow my eyeballs, if only virtually.
But, I am also proud, for even though it may not look like it, there are moments when survival and sanity demand that I dig to depths beyond my being, scratching innards with sharp nails for every last ounce of sustenance, knowing that I can and will do it, no matter the terror, the doubt, the panic.
I am proud because I dare to jump and listen to my heart and being, somehow, someway, crazy enough to call society’s bluff and leap off the edge of the rational into the intuitive, the essential, my truth.
I am proud because I rediscover her, my warrior self, my inner Indiana Jones, and she is alive and well, strong.
The sun dips between the mountains to be swallowed by the goddess of the sea, and although this day ends, the surfers still bob in the waves and the paragliders still ride the thermals.
For, you see, even though tonight signals a symbolic death, one I grieve whole-heartedly with the ache and joy and confusion that accompanies metamorphosis, I know, too, that with death comes rebirth, and so now, here I stand, stripped to the core, naked in the knowing of who I am, holding in curiosity what the next day, the next year, the next lifetime offers.
And, for that, my heart extends the deepest gratitude.