So, it's been a year. Likely, one of the most distinct, important and influential years I'll ever live. Through the Drift, I've been able to chronicle my journey, and create space to openly and honestly reflect in and through my time.
My appointed mantra "The Journey is the Destination" is one that could - and should - be continued even after one "Destination" is reached. And so, I keep writing. And reflecting. And, if anyone will join me, creating an open space - a community where people are safe to probe and question and examine life in a way that, I fear, far too few do.
So, while I won't be writing on an expat's trials and travails in a foreign land, I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the themes I found in my life in Taiwan. Just, you know, not so much the Taiwanese stuff...
The last week went by in a haze. Saying Goodbyes stretched out through Saturday, and I didn't finish packing until the moment it was time to leave. Friday night was a melancholy goodbye from the Neighborhood. After we all hung out one last time, I said my farewells, gave my hugs, and walked away from the others. It hit me how fast the goodbyes were. Like peeling off a band-aid, maybe? Honestly, it felt much more like a see you later than a goodbye. I hope that it was. When I made it to my house, I sat outside on a bench to absorb the night and reflect over the people and places I would miss.
Ten minutes in the brisk, post-midnight air slip passed me before I stirred from my spot. It seemed surreal that I would be leaving soon. That these places and routines that became so familiar - the same ones that were once so foreign - would soon dim to forgotten. I reflected on what I sought to learn. Goals I set for myself that I didn't achieve moved in and out of my mind as I pushed them away realizing their unimportance in the grand scheme of things. And the only goal I had left once again became burden enough to move me from my seat. In 16 hours, I would leave for the airport. I needed to pack.
But even after I climbed the four staircases to my room, my mind hadn't wandered from reflection. I wondered about my change in lifestyle, thinking, and habits. Would they stick? As I loaded up my carry-on, I allowed myself to dwell on my biggest fear: returning home the same person I was when I left.
Too much time had past, I told myself, I've learned too much to go back. But it wasn't until I reached out, instinctively, and grabbed a pen that my fears calmed. As I slipped the pen into my carry-on, I knew that this year could never be a waste. I had learned what I come to learn, and I would carry it with me wherever I drift to next.