I’ve thought about writing a book about my travels since before I even left England to go on them. I thought what a brilliant way to fund my future travels; I’ll write everything down, become a best selling author and continue writing and travelling until I don’t want to anymore.
While travelling I found no time to write except for quick updates and photo uploading on my social media page; this was frequent and detailed. I didn’t sit down alone and write my biography while I was out there because, in all frankness, I had better things to do.
I talked, listened, explored, experienced everything I could where I was while I was able; and I repeated this each and every day I was out there.
It only occurred to me today, as I have still yet to write about that life I lived, that my thoughts behind the desire to write about my travels hadn’t been motivational enough for me.
I don’t care about money. I only care that I have enough to do what I want in that day, whether it is to fly somewhere or grab a coffee while exploring.
I don’t care about labels. I refuse to pigeonhole my whole self and I know my successes without a best seller or an academy award as acknowledgment of that.
I don’t care about what anyone may think of the girl they saw two years ago and before. That girl even I didn’t know. I look at old photos and think back to not too old memories and don’t recognise the person I was walking around as.
What I do care about is the person I became when unleashed. When set free. I followed only my heart and grew into myself.
I had joked before I left that I was leaving to find myself. The cliche of travelling being very real to someone that hadn’t travelled, like myself. What I thought would happen would be that I was hit with a sudden and drastic epiphany that would awaken and reveal the real me after a long and intense journey of some sorts while in a desert or log cabin somewhere. But life isn’t a movie, and it’s not a book.
I didn’t go to a log cabin and I only passed through deserted areas. Instead it took more than a year of awakenings to realise I was living my epiphany without consciously being aware of the fact.
When I originally planned the penning of my book it was filled with dreams and ideals, and entirely about me. What I realised while travelling was that I became less interested in my story as I lived my days with the people around me.
I was still, of course, interested and curious in my own story but I was becoming more aware of the impact we place in each others’ lives simply by living our lives with one another.
I wanted to tell that story.
I realised that I couldn’t believe these people I was meeting would be completely unknown, forgotten even, to so many when they where so incredible.
Unless I tell the story of Kathleen Glass, a South Carolina woman I met on the greyhound to Charleston last July, a woman who sat on the seat at the other window across from me and pointed out the points of interest around us while we rode through South Carolina and told stories about all of them until I fell asleep from being up almost 24 hours. When I woke up on that Greyhound bus, my first Greyhound trip and having heard so many horror stories about the people that ride the Greyhound, I found a stamped and addressed envelope, a postcard and a note on the seat next to me. Kathleen had written her address on the envelope, she had asked me to write to her about my travels so she could show her daughter to go out and live just as I was, and the postcard contained a list of websites for South Carolina tourism along with a small note to please make sure I visit South Carolina again. On the front of the postcard, that she had carried around with her as a personal reminder, was a quote; “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” And she was gone.
I was in America for 149 days; I knew Kathleen Glass for 3 hours. And I will never forget her.
My book began as an Eat, Pray, Love knockoff, but I didn’t live Elizabeth Gilbert’s life. I finally lived mine. And I was never alone.
Writing for them.