I write this on the airplane. We have about 1 hour until we land. What kind of world will I be going back to? An economy in a very bad recession, perhaps on the verge of a depression. A city that long ago stood as a kind of beacon (of all that is possible) to me, and that I have always been fond of, but one that is not exactly the easiest to choose to live in. And the climate. I have been pretty well divorced from the idea of seasons in the past couple of years, spending the majority of my time in hot and tropical climates. Seasons don’t just represent change, they also represent continuity and roots enough in a place to be in tune with them.
What will this new chapter in my life bring? Time alone will tell the story. And what am I looking for after all this? Have I put away grandiose dreams in my life for the bliss of the here and now? Maybe a bit. I know what brings me measures of peace. I know that being in touch with the present as much as possible is the way to happiness. I have goals and even dreams if you will, but I am not disappointed at all by the twists and turns on the path to them or another place. The doing is important, and maintaining perspective in our lives.
So, setting out some ambitions, regardless of what happens on the way to or away from them, is nevertheless an important exercise. But one that must be open to change and chance. If we can’t take advantage of what is in front of us, even if it doesn’t enter into the “plan”, then we have missed the incredible beauty of life’s randomness.
As I have found such great enjoyment in the blogging of the past 27 months, I will continue to keep it. I love the voice it gives me and platform for working out in my head my reactions to places, people and ideas. I will finish my book about the first part of my travels and attempt to find a publisher. I will attempt to earn a living off my writing in one form or another. These are my short, medium and long term goals.
But I am willing and able to do all manner of other things that call on my past skills in order to make a living and survive. And these things are not at all at odds with each other if I am careful and lucky enough to structure my work life in a certain way. For example, even though I have a lot of experience leading teams in the tech departments of medium sized companies, I will attempt to eschew this kind of environment in favor of freelance work, which has several advantages related to keeping me centered and present. Independent contracts keep me at arms length from companies’ internal politics, since I will not be a part of these power struggles and jockeying within an agency. With luck, I will be able to come in for short term analysis or discreet project work, perform the task at hand, and leave, keeping my emotional investment (and therefore stress) to a minimum. While in many ways I loved my last position as Director of Technology before I began traveling, it was an emotional sink hole in so many ways it should not have been. I will try not to repeat these mistakes. The other great advantage of freelancing will be the ability to schedule my time to suit my other pursuits (writing, travel) more freely than if I was chained to one company.
So let the next chapter begin. I am very excited to see what comes, and what I make of it. But equally excited to continue to share the experience with the people I meet along the way. For it is the human connection to friends (new and old), family, lovers and partners, and even strangers that makes the journey so worthwhile and rewarding. The human connection is at the center of all that makes life worth living. Without that communication, we have no way of understanding our connection to everything that is, and we are left cut off from our being. With it, we glimpse a small part of the mystery of existence, and can feel ourselves part of it.