I was breathing heavy, lumbering along in the thick August air of NYC, I felt like every time my tennis shoe hit the ground it was heavy, as if I was a horse carrying a large load. And then they ran by – light, airy gazelles in the form of NYC runners. A pack of slim men and women racing by doing speed work around the Central Park Reservoir. Their bodies glistened in sweat; they were talking to each other effortlessly as they sped by me. Their feet were light, their bodies lean, and soon they were out of my sight.
I had a flash, a lightening bolt memory that struck my brain and said – “That used to be me.”
Despite the electrical charge in my brain, I kept lumbering along on the trail in Central Park. I used to run this trail daily 6 years ago when I lived and worked in New York City. My mind meandered deeper into memories – I thought of the running club I belonged to, the shape I was in, my busy sleepless NYC days/nights, how fit I was. For a moment there was a pang…a familiar tightening of my stomach, a flash memory of who I used to be. A dark, downward feeling came across me as my pace became even slower and my breathing heavier.
And then as quickly as that darkness hit me, I suddenly thought of those fast pack of runners and I wondered where they had been in the world? Had they seen what I had seen, had they experienced the vast beauty and simplicity of Mongolia, had they ridden a motorbike in Vietnam, had they lived with families in Nepal, did they have a immense net of friends from all corners of the world, did they appreciate every cent they earn and every possession they had? Sure – they could run fast and had healthy bodies, but I wondered if they were free, if they were happy , if they were healthy and joyful in the mind. Did they chose to exercise their free thought and look deep inside themselves and know what it was they loved.
I don’t know the answers – I don’t know them.
But I do know the answers for me.
I made it 3 miles…slowly…but I made it. I thought more about my past life in NYC and in Central Park. Then I remembered that I was wearing my Expedition Trips hat which has turned into my running hat over the past few months in all parts of the world. I touched my hat and thought of my adventures yet to come.
I gave up many things when I decided to leave for Kenya 6 years ago on my career break – a salary, a bed, stability, fitness, and romantic relationships – but I have gained much more when I decided to pack my bags and leave 6 years ago.
Who needs to look back when you can look forward?
Not everyone needs to be gone for 6 years – but if you’d like to learn more about how to simply break away and travel for an extended time and potentially change your life – then don’t miss the chance to learn how to go about planing and taking a career break at Meet, Plan, Go! October 16th! I’ll be in my old stomping grounds – NYC for the event – please come out and meet me – I’d love to meet you all in person!