High Altitude Tears

April 28, 2015 14 Comments »


I shut my eyes and let all the thoughts sink in. They seem to bore deep into my psyche, burrowing deeper and deeper into the parts of my brain where I push all of the positive happy ending thoughts. I can feel tears slowly form, my throat starts to feel strained, and it becomes hard to swallow. I know where this is going.

A tear wells up and slowly rolls down my cheek. I feel it pass over every bump, every facial hair until it slowly rolls off and lands on my t-shirt. I don’t even know why I’m crying.

I blame it on the plane. What is it about being 30,000 feet in the air enclosed in a little metal capsule that there is no way out that seems bring this deep dive into my emotions out? I don’t cry often – but more often than not, it’s while I’m on a plane.

I just finished watching the movie Wild – it reminds me of my own long journey, my previous hikes, and my life inside my head. Many people I have talked to and respect have said they didn’t really like it. Others love it. I am a bit indifferent – yet something is bringing me to tears. I was going to read the book but after loosing yet another Kindle on a plane (yes planes seems to eat my Kindles AND make my cry for reasons I will never understand) – I clearly wasn’t reading it anytime soon; so watching it would have to do. I had put it off, as I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to like it; when I watch movies about personal travel journeys they tend to just upset me. They upset me because I think – I could have done that. I could have Reese Witherspoon or Julia Roberts playing me in a movie of how I ‘found myself’ through travel.

Another tear slowly rolls down my face and stops right at my chin deciding whether it wants to take the journey to my tshirt and be absorbed. It decides to hang on to the precipice a little longer, before it dissipates into nothingness in cotton.

Maybe the problem is that I haven’t yet found myself  – through travel or anything else. Sometimes I feel more lost than ever in a perimenopausal mess. My life doesn’t seem to wrap up in a pretty little bow in the final chapters as it’s supposed to according to Hollywood. I don’t find the love of my life in Bali, and I don’t get married on a bridge. I don’t find love, peace, or answers. I just keep moving and experiencing the world – living. Wondering what is around the next corner, and the next year. Wondering if I’ve become too cynical to even notice what the world has to offer some days.

No one wants to see a movie or read a book without a pretty bow. At least that’s what I tell myself when people ask me when I’m going to write a book.

I really have no idea how I ended up here – 8 ½ years on the road. Being on the road living out of a suitcase can bring me immense moments of joy – the kind that you smile so hard that it hurts your cheeks. Those moments of pure joy of meeting a new person, ending up somewhere you never thought you would, realizing that you somehow inspire people to do great things. These are the moments I live for – the reasons why I keep traveling.

Then there are these moments – periods of time where you are just tired, tired of talking to people, tired of feeling that you have to be legit, tired of trying to please everyone, tired of wondering how you will make money, tired of trying to squeeze self approval and belonging out of a laptop screen and social media streams, and tired of wondering if anyone is listening to what you have to say.

We are fed the idea that as women reach their 40’s that they figure things out, that they come into their own – that they say “Fuck you” to the world and stop caring what others think. I’m 45, and I’m still waiting for that fuck you moment. I’m also still waiting for Prince charming to come rescue me in some way; isn’t that how it’s supposed to happen? But when on the ground I push those thoughts and feelings deep, deep down to the earth and just keep being and writing what I should be writing. But those thoughts seem to bubble up when I take flight – they apparently exist close to the heavens at high altitude – in the clouds. Those soft thoughts, show up in the airplane in seat 23h over the Pacific when I least expect it. They show up in tears rolling down my cheeks and onto my t-shirt.

I must apologize for the rambling.   Even though I write constantly – I seldom write for me any longer. Specifically I don’t just write for writing’s sake, to get the thoughts out of my head. Writing normally needs a point, arc, information, or story. I miss writing words that simply need to get out of my head; no story, no point, just thoughts. It’s one of the things that I miss the most in my current lifestyle.

Maybe it’s the altitude that makes me light headed, and unable to think clearly, maybe it’s the two glasses of wine, maybe it the seat belt surrounding me and giving me a sense of protection. Maybe it’s the movies with the sappy Hollywood endings. But for whatever reason planes bring me that pure time to think, ponder, and question my life.

I am not who I was when I started this journey 8 ½ years ago, however thoughts and feeling evolve each day, each plane flight; leaving me still wondering where I’m going with this fat passport and insatiable desire for new things. But I’m also not ready to tie a pretty bow and put a happy ending on traveling either – not yet.

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