Moments from the road

“To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed (excerpt from Wild)

It’s strange, that passing feeling you get while traveling, the amount of different types of people you meet on a daily basis, the deep or not so deep connections you can make with people in the matter of a few days. It’s one of the many reasons why I love traveling.

It’s the people I meet on my travels that keep me trekking on and grounded when I feel lost, disillusioned with what I find in certain places. A chance connection on a night bus with a Welsh guy, having an enlightening conversation at midnight about our lives on the opposite sides of the world we grew up on. A friendly English girl who became our roommate in Chiang Mai. The fun groups of guys we met at the Full Moon Party. And of course my travel companion and partner in crime who has been with me since the beginning of Asia.

I’ve come to the point in my travels where I feel exhausted at times, I’ve been on the road for so long now, or at least it seems. I’m fortunate to be on this journey, but I would be lying if I didn’t say some days are harder than others. Thailand has been more challenging than I thought it would be, from having my money stolen to the unfriendliness we’ve been met with in more than a few instances. Of course, it probably comes down to moving too fast. For when you move too fast in any capacity, it’s hard to appreciate the little things that make life so worth it.

Although I love spontaneity, I’m a creature of habit to my core. I love having a relaxed routine, a local coffee shop that considers me a regular, my favorite market, rituals of sorts that bring me comfort. In San Diego, it was a place called Black’s Cliffs. I would go there at least once a month if not more, just to look out at the ocean, listen to music and write lyrics.

The gentle give and take of the waves reminds me that life is the same, always taking things away but also bringing in new beginnings. No matter what happens, the waves will continue their cycle, life moves on, everything moves on with time whether you like it or not. It’s the place I always ended up, because it reminds me that this feeling will pass whether bad or good, that everything is fleeting in the scheme of things, and that’s why you should never take anything for granted.

I have a little more than a couple weeks in Asia, and then I’ll be heading back to Australia. I’ve gone back and forth so many times over where I’ll be going back to exactly, I am quite the nomad these days. For the last 6 months I’ve been thinking it would be Melbourne, it seemed to fit perfectly with my personality, and it would definitely be the easiest place to return to with the roots I’ve made there in the last four months.

Yet, I’ve somehow made the executive decision that I’ll be buying a one way Greyhound ticket to Sydney after a week back in Melbourne, and seeing where life takes me from there. I guess I’ve never been one to take the easy road anyway.

Maybe it’s due to my need for a constant sense of adventure, maybe it’s simply something new to focus on, maybe I just have a good feeling about it. Maybe it doesn’t really matter the reasons why, just that I’m moving forward and letting it be.

And there’s always Brisbane if Sydney and I don’t work out…

Whatever happens I always remember one of my favorite lyrics, “What we found down these roads that wander as lost as the heart is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start.”

How wild it is to just let it be.

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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  1. I think you are getting the best education anyone can ever get! What courage it must take to travel the world on your own, meet so many different people all with their own lifestyles, ambitions, beliefs. I am so envious, yet I know that I would never have had the courage to undertake it! Love you, Nana

    1. It’s funny you say that, Nana, because I’ve always looked up to you as one of the strongest women in my life. I feel like a large part of my courage to tackle anything comes from you 🙂

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