Another failed attempt at keeping up with this good ole’ blog? Possibly. But most of my daydreams have been making me wish I was writing so here I am. Writing. Sitting on a small pile of throw blankets I found for $3.99 in a giant home warehouse in Orlando, a throbbing heat headache (it is fucking HOT in NYC today) relentlessly poking at me and a sticky bandage around my left thumb. It’s been a little over five months since I returned from traveling, but that life couldn’t feel more distant.
This time last year I was skipping around Eastern Europe.
Where was I?
I think this must have been around the time I was finishing up with a road trip through the Balkans and making my way to Romania.
That couldn’t BE farther from my current reality (tell me you got the FRIENDS reference!). I didn’t know what to expect when I moved back to NYC, but somehow my life has evolved into something truly spectacular. Seriously — I should let folks rub my belly for good luck because I’m CHOCK full of the stuff. And also because it would make me giggle.
I spend most of my days going about my business, living my new life — which has been a tricky transition — but every so often my mind wanders to my travels.
Side note — I wrote a bunch of summaries about my travels.
A general summary of where I went.
My favorite moments.
My favorite meals from the year abroad.
The other day I was leaving one of my Muay Thai classes and heading to the office — oh, did I mention I get to teach a fitness Muay Thai class now? Like, WHO AM I? I was walking towards the metro which seems to have developed a brand new level of horrifying odors when the blanket of stars popped into my head — I like to think this was my body’s mechanism to blocking out the smell.
The sunrise of all sunrises: Poon Hill and the Himalayan trek into the stars.
The night of the blanket of stars was insane. Nepal. The Himalayas. We’d been trekking for several days at that point and had plans for a morning hike to watch the sunrise on Poon Hill. Waking up was tough. It was 3.45 AM and freezing. Like, cold – cold. You know? I’d pretty much given up on getting out of bed, but luckily my roommate would hear none of it. She dragged me out. THANK THE FUCKING ROOMMATE GODS. I quickly put on everything I owned — which by the way wasn’t much seeing as how I never planned to go to Nepal in the first place — strapped on my head lamp and off we went. OKAY — I was feeling less frigid and more optimistic! Then I realized my head lamp was out. No headlamp? No light. Luckily (I did mention how lucky I am, right?) my roommate was kind enough to stick by my side the whole time. Which by the way she absolutely didn’t need to… Being in FAR better shape than I was she could have easily skipped past me within seconds.
But the lucky stars were with me that night. Like you wouldn’t believe.
Almost as soon as we hit the trail I was out of breath. Perhaps deciding to trek the Himalayas without so much as jogging for 10 months is not the best idea. Or maybe it was because all the huffing and puffing I did was totally worth it.
The first time it happened my knees practically buckled — luckily the 3 layers of pants I was rocking prevented them from actually bending too far.
Why the buckle?
I needed a break so we stopped, let our walking sticks rest along the rocks and that’s when it happened… We looked up.
You know when you see pictures of these magical landscapes and sceneries and think WOW that’s beautiful? It’s nothing like that in person. It’s more than just beautiful. It’s knocks-you-in-the-stomach-beautiful. You’re looking up thinking holy shit, I HAVE to be dreaming. Nothing is THIS spectacular. The sky was huge — it completely swallowed everything around us. Opaque. Pitch black with only the stars poking through the darkness. I’d never seen so many stars — then again, later on I’d get to see the Milky Way in the Saharan Desert, but in my memory this moment was even more unbelievable. It felt like we were falling into this blanket of stars. Or maybe it was falling on us. I don’t know, but it was all-encompassing. The trail — to my dismay– kept going up up up. And at the top I could see Selena’s head lamp lighting up a green canopy of trees. She looked like she was a million light years away; slowly making her way into star-y abyss.
Look, I don’t know much about life. Or anything for that matter, but I know one thing. Everything I’d ever done to help me get to that moment was 100% right. I’ve never doubted my life less than in that moment… Staring up at this massive assault on darkness. The sky was pitch black. It wanted to be dark. It was destined to be dark. And yet, there were SO many stars hole-punching their way into my eyes. Tiny sprinkles of light.
That sky is forever embedded in my memory.
But that was just the beginning, you see…
When we made it to the top my trek mates were so damn kind to share some of their layers — apparently I don’t have a very high tolerance for cold — as we found a spot on the edge facing East. The sun had yet to begin it’s upward journey. With hot coffee and tea in our hands, we wrapped ourselves into one another — huddled and completely oblivious to the beauty just moments ahead.
We sang songs, cried and sat in complete and utter awe as we watched the sun slowly make it’s way up and over the Himalayas. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe that view. I don’t have the descriptive writing skills to capture what it looked like, much less what it felt like.
I’ll tell you what though, I wasn’t cold anymore.
We watched a lot of sunrises on that trek. Most mornings, actually… But that sunrise on Poon Hill still sends shivers down my arms.
Darkness is everywhere, but if you look hard enough the light is working damn hard to peak it’s way through.
[Too woo-woo-y? I am a yoga teacher you know… Be happy I’m not talking about re-charging your chakras. 😉 ]
What is life anyway?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that sunrises are 100% worth waking up for. Even when it feels like your toes are gonna fall off. Even when you’re more or less delirious. I’ve watched a lot more sunrises since that trek, even one from the World Trade Center. And never — not once — did I regret it.
Sometimes I wonder if I expect too much from this life. And then something happens that tells me otherwise.
Right now I’m in this very strange place where I’m not really sure where I’m going and yet at the same time I know everything is as it should be.
I’ve been reading a lot — yay for train reads!
Becoming by Michelle Obama
God, I love her SO much. And the book — obviously brilliant.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
I didn’t know much about him at all. I don’t watch his show or stand up. This book is GOLD. Read it. If it’s on your list — bump it up. If it’s not — put it at the top. A fascinating dude with a fascinating story!
From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein
Didn’t love it at first, but it’s grown on me. The story-writing could be better, but her situation was way cool. She landed a random stenographer job at the White House during the Obama admin. And not gonna lie, I’m obsessed with reading anything Obama.
Next up —
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
I don’t know… Something tells me I’ll relate to this one. lol
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Two for two on relating to the material. Tho, I’m pretty sure I can write the book on this topic (filled with grammatical errors and all).
Have you read something REALLY good lately?! DO tell please!
Not sure if I’ll remember to write here next week. But I hope so. Perhaps I’ll re-live my travels this way. There are SO many other stories to tell.