Throw Off The Bowlines!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

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How To Come Home By ALEX BRUECKNER

Homecoming. It’s something that so many of us look forward to, especially when we’ve been away for an extended period of time. But how do we come home to a place that has inevitably changed while we were gone? How do we come home when we’re no longer the person we were when we left?

I came home to Pittsburgh for two weeks this year after having been away for 512 days. And it wasn’t until I threw myself in the arms of my best friend at the airport, relieved sobs wracking my body, that I realized just how much that time, both in terms of the number of actual days and the magnitude of the separation, had affected me. For some people, a year and a half away may be nothing. I thought I was like that. My tears proved me wrong.

Though I was happy beyond belief to be home again, it soon became apparent just how much things had changed. It’s amazing the tiny little details you forget, when once they’d been things you’d known so well that you didn’t even think of them. You forget that you have to give the front door an extra nudge so that the bolt fully catches when you lock it. You forget the security code to open the garage door. You forget the way the speakers in the car don’t handle bass so well, so your music is constantly a bit fuzzy.

And then there are things that are just as jarring, because they haven’t changed at all. The kids you went to high school with, no matter where they are now, go to the same bars when they’re home. The blemish on the kitchen table from the time you spilled nail polish remover is still there. Your dad still wears the same sweaters, even when your mum has tried to throw them away half a dozen times.

Even if the changes and the constants don’t affect you, coming home always makes you feel a little off. You feel like you’ve been “out of the loop” or while you might speak the same language as everyone, the dialect you use is just a little bit off. Because I live abroad, I’d largely been living under a rock when it came to American pop culture, especially when it comes to music. (My go-to example for this: I’ve never heard “Call Me Maybe.” Make of that what you will.) Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, and Of Monsters and Men had been playing through my headphones for months, and I’d honestly thought I’d been ahead of the curve in my affinity for them. The first times I heard “It’s Time,” “Ho Hey,” and “Little Talks” on the radio were a bit of a rude awakening. And it went the other way, too. I lost count of the number of times a song would come on the radio and I’d stare blankly at my sisters as they sang along. I felt a bit like those stereotypical out-of-touch parents you see in sitcoms. “Is this that ‘dancing in the moonlight’ song?” I’d ask whenever “Domino” came on. And any time I did know a song, I felt likeCaptain America in The Avengers, surprised that I’d actually known something. (One thing I hadn’t missed about American music, though? The repetitiveness. By the time I left, my Pavlovian response to hearing the opening bars of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” was to lunge desperately for the radio to change the station.)

When you’ve been away, your timeline gets fuzzy. You can’t remember if the neighbors next to your grandparents cut down the tree in their front yard two years ago or ten years ago. You ask friends, “Are ______ and _______ still together?” only to be told that they broke up during senior year in college. Events that once stood out starkly from each other are now lumped together into one big, messy past that’s difficult to pick through.

You can’t help but reference your time away. At first, people are interested and happy to hear about your new, different life. But as time passes, you start to see their annoyance or exasperation from the constant comparisons you can’t help but make. You see a twinge of hurt when you refer to that new place of residence as “home,” rather than where you are currently.

To come home from another home is a weird feeling, because people expect you to be the person you were when you left, and that’s impossible. You expect things to be exactly the same as when you left, and that’s impossible. Maybe it’s impossible to even truly come home once you’ve gone away because of those changes. Coming home is strange, because now that place is just a tiny bit less of a home. TC mark

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Most of our inspirations come to us when we are traveling or doing new things. When we shift our environments and our daily patterns, our brain begins to find ways to adapt. This process causes us to think more creatively.
(via psych-facts)

(via psych-facts)

5,369 notes

To come home from another home is a weird feeling, because people expect you to be the person you were when you left, and that’s impossible. You expect things to be exactly the same as when you left, and that’s impossible. Maybe it’s impossible to even truly come home once you’ve gone away because of those changes. Coming home is strange, because now that place is just a tiny bit less of a home.
Alex Brueckner, How To Come Home  (via thatkindofwoman)

(Source: larmoyante, via thatkindofwoman)

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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson  (via vineetkaur)

(Source: travelapps, via goodtimesroll)

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You may feel comfortable bobbing around in the little lake that you’re used to, but if you don’t stretch your comfort zone and venture out into the adjoining waterways, you’ll never discover the beauty and immensity of the ocean – you will never even know it exists. Holding on to what’s comfortable may be the very reason you often feel like something is missing in your life. Remember, just because you venture out into the world doesn’t mean you can’t return home whenever you want to. It’s okay to come back to where you started, but it’s not okay to never leave.
Marc and Angel
(via the59thstreetbridge)

(Source: internal-acceptance-movement, via the59thstreetbridge)

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It’s Been A Month Now - February 6th, 2013

You know that feeling that time is moving by so damn slow in the moment, but then you look back and it is 2013?!? I absolutely cannot believe that time goes by so quickly. 

I figured I should do a bit of an update - you know talk about my transition and all - because I miss writing on here and I feel like it. So there. 

My flight home from New Zealand was December 5th, 2012 and after working at a local toy store at home for awhile, catching up with a few friends and doing all the obligatory family holiday stuff, I returned to Santa Cruz at the beginning of January 2013 to start my second to last quarter of school. 

Having been gone a whole year from this lovely city, I was excited to see friends I hadn’t seen/even talked to in way too long, be hugged by the sea and mountains at the same time, and make these surroundings familiar again.

But I was also really scared. I was scared that everything was going to be different, that people I once considered my friends were going to be strange and unfamiliar. I was scared to look for a job in a city that felt so  new all of a sudden. I was scared to come back as this “changed” being to somewhere I once felt comfortable. Would things still look the same? Would my friends still love me? Can I re-assimilate after being away for so long?

And as I take the time to transition through this process, I am finding I was right to be scared. Because things are different. But in the best possible way. 

Santa Cruz itself has changed. Stores have closed and opened, they cancelled a few bus routes up to school and the city of Santa Cruz now has a basketball team! The student body is now mostly younger than I am, and I see fewer faces that I recognize on campus. 

Some of the people I once surrounded myself with have graduated, moved on from Santa Cruz and are no longer a phone call away from going to dinner or being ready for grand adventures. But I am making friends everyday - in classes, on the bus, at the climbing gym. I am perpetually grateful to be surrounded by such a kind and open community.

My own friends also have new friends - people they have made connections with while I was away - and now our circle of love is bigger and more expansive than ever. And I couldn’t be happier.

It is also wonderful to be living with three guys - guys who have a more permanent life here with a group of their own lovely friends that I also have the privilege to share : )  They introduced the tradition of Sunday Dinner into my life, one that I excitedly brought and shared with loved ones in New Zealand, and I have them to thank for those moments, as well as the happiness that they continue to bring into my life once a week : ) 

At the moment, I am sitting in our garden, eating breakfast, serenaded by some birds close by, breathing in the soft air inundated with the fragrance of the sea, and already had the pleasure of saying good morning to a hummingbird that happened to flutter into our blueberry bush. 

I have been climbing at least 4 times a week, slacklining my heart out at the beach - not to mention sharing the art with eager friends, and am experiencing my current existence in the best ways I know how. 

Needless to say, I am more than elated with my current situation and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting, a more amazing group of lovely spirits to embrace me, and all in time for my 22nd birthday! 

I send my love to you all and my gratefulness that you still reading this ol’ thing. I really appreciate all the love from family and friends who have helped and cared about me through this period of instability and transition. 

I love you all, 

Michelle

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Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave university? You aren’t legally required to have a degree, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.
Wunderkammer: Did You Know    (via pitchblackglow)

(via desertflume)

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At its core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and an open mind…By definition, adventure has an unknown outcome. If something has a predetermined outcome, it’s not an adventure but a packaged experience or an amusement ride.

Your summits await.

Matt Walker. (via potentialitea)

(via desertflume)

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‎You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.

You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.

Cheryl Strayed  (via bluishtigers)

(Source: poco-cocoa, via desertflume)

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The best advice I can come up with is this: Keep your living expenses LOW. The smaller you live (materially-speaking), the bigger you can live (creatively-speaking). This way the stakes aren’t so high…you aren’t demanding of your passion that it keeps you living a rich life. Then you can stretch and grow with the most possible freedom. This was my strategy in my 20’s, and it’s the reason I worked really hard to avoid all debts, and to keep my lifestyle really manageable. If I’d been saddled with a big life, I don’t think I ever could have found my way forward to the freedom I have now.
Elizabeth Gilbert (via thegoldeneternity)

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My sister and I. I am back up at school and I already miss her so much. The first picture is from our New Year’s Card this year and the other was taken when we went on a windy sunset beach adventure to find a spot to slackline. 

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Don’t buy the lie that the “real” world is all about staying safe and secure, accumulating money, piling up possessions. The real world — the world we love — is a green, living world, full of real dangers and stunning beauty and breathtaking surprises … The teachers don’t always look like the professors in the classroom. I’ve found my teachers sometimes have fur and scales or hooves and tusks. One of the best had a curly tail and a flexible nose disk.
Sy Montgomery
Naturalist, author
, 2011 commencement speech, Franklin Pierce University (via erosboros)

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