It was a year ago today that we left what we knew to travel the world. Backpacks full. Spirits soaring. Hearts open and ready for adventure. Not knowing really what we were doing at all other than leaving the life we knew for the experience of a lifetime thus far…and we haven’t been disappointed!
The thing is, it’s been far different than we ever could have expected. The depth of experience. The new relationships from both close to home and afar. Meaningful and lively conversations with people who we never otherwise would have spoken to which broadened both our understanding and wonder of the world. We feel a rejuvenated childlike love for exploration which had been slowly forgotten as the adolescent years turned to adulthood filled with responsibility and accumulation.
To say this journey has changed us would be an understatement. It’s transformed us. The world as we know and understand will never be the same both literally and figuratively. And neither will we. Of course we still look the same, laugh the same, maybe even smell the same (or worse) but our perspectives about who we are in this world and what that world is to us is anything but the same.
We would like to share 3 lessons with you that we have learned over this past year of travelling.
1. You’re never really lost: We’ve had maps, GPS devices, directions and guides. Still we have managed to ‘get lost’ on multiple occasions. We started off frantically trying to get back ‘on course’ to ‘find our way’ to where we thought we needed to be. Sometimes we got there. Sometimes we got there, and missed the most beautiful parts of the journey by doing so. So we changed it up. We got lost. Intentionally. All the time. And discovered that the best things we landed upon were the completely unexpected. We found that when you’re lost in the midst of the unknown, something magical happens. The Universe transpires in your favour. It presents people, opportunities and moments that would have been missed if our heads were buried in a map or focused on where we ‘needed’ to be. Keep your head up. Stay relaxed. Enjoy the journey. “There is no foreign land; it is the traveller only that is foreign.”
2. The world is much bigger and much smaller than you think it is: Our planet is huge. For real though.We’ve travelled for a whole year and I’d be surprised if we touch 10% of 10% of 10% of 10% of it. We realize we could travel our whole lives thinking we’ve seen it all and actually see hardly a thing. Yet we have met people who know each other all over the whole. For a planet which is so large, the interconnectedness of the people who inhabit it is mind boggling. We are so connected to each other in so many ways. It’s almost like we’re family. Yes you reading this. And that person sitting next to or across from you, especially if you don’t know their name. They are family, a friend, if not to you then certainly someone you know. Which brings us to the last lesson we’ll share with you today.
3. Relationships are the most important part of life: This trip has brought the two of us closer than we ever could have imagined. Almost like we work together as one unit and we can assure you this was not the case prior to leaving. When you’re out in the world just the two of you, it becomes painfully obvious how important relationships are. We are nothing without the people who surround us each day. Nobody. We saw people living on the street in every one of the countries we visited and you know what is the saddest part about seeing the way they live? It’s that they are alone. No amount of money, cars, houses nice clothes or cell phones can buy you a relationship. They may bring companionship, but a dog would be better suited for this purpose. Intimacy isn’t a place in the bedroom. It’s the inner workings of allowing another human being to see you as you are, and communicate openly with them from that place. It’s a connection that transcends titles, borders, nationalities, races, religions or any other paradigms of who we are. Our relation to other human beings is paramount in moving us forward as a species. And enjoying our day to day lives. After all, in one way or another, on a cellular, molecular, DNA level, we are all related somehow. “There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet.”
Thank you for being a part of our journey. We write this because you read it. Well it gives us something to look back on as well sure but its purpose is better served sharing with you. We look forward to seeing you soon, wherever you are. The last photo was the beginning inspiration for our trip. Perhaps you’ll be inspired as we were to continue to follow your dreams fearlessly, especially if it means you get lost.
With Love & Light,
Justin & Kristin Butler