It is hard for me to believe that Christmas is past, that a new year has begun, and that I have been traveling for over five months. I’ve had none of the familiar indicators of passing time. I’ve jumped time zones and seasons. I’ve felt the crispness of fall, the heat of deep summer, and the promise of early spring in the same week. My internal clock has been rewound, fast-forwarded, and rewound again. If not for the watch on my left hand, I would have a hard time noting the day of the week, let alone the day of the month.
Physically, there are few changes to note. The sun has left me tanned (okay, freckled) and highlighted. An Indian hairdresser, distracted by her own description of the impending end of the world, chopped half my hair. Miles walked have calloused my feet. I can’t be bothered to wear make-up.
If I measure time internally, in my own growth and understanding, surely years have passed. Surely 2012 has lasted a decade. It has brought me from the safe confines of undergraduate life into the frenzy and beauty of the nomadic; from a class schedule to a schedule of constant improvisation; from book learning in the library to marinating in knowledge and culture. To travel is to learn. Incessantly. Unceasingly. Every day is new. Every day requires you to adapt; to figure out where you are, where you need to go, and how you need to get there.
Travel stretches the realm of “possible.” You begin to think, and to dream, bigger. You have a wider lens of understanding. You realize you see life in a new way, but you can’t really point to when this happened. Because you are constantly growing.
And you can never turn back.
And this is great.
In 2012, I began an incredible journey. I realize more and more every day how this journey is shaping my life, my future. And while it has been solo, I have by no means been alone. Friends and family have been a constant support. Strangers have become friends. They have guided me on the streets, safeguarded me on buses, welcomed me into their homes, and even nursed me back to health. 2012 has given me a new faith in humanity, in the goodness of people. For this, I feel blessed beyond reason.
To all those who have been a part of my 2012, I thank you, a million times over.
Let the adventures continue.
Bring on Twenty Thirteen.