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On Leaving

On Leaving

Holding my one-way ticket to Bali felt markedly different than holding my one-way ticket to Latvia.

Which seems odd to think about.

Of the two, Bali actually packs the strongest punch of newness. I’d just quit my job and sold all my stuff, I bought my first-ever one-way ticket, I’d never traveled for four months straight, I'd never been to SE Asia, fear of humidity irrationally paralyzed me, I was finally becoming the digital nomad of my wildest dreams.

But Latvia still felt different.

 18 February 2016. My bags are packed...I'm ready to go...I'm leeeeaaaavin' on a jet plane. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

18 February 2016. My bags are packed...I'm ready to go...I'm leeeeaaaavin' on a jet plane. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

I knew there would be a different rawness to Latvia. Bali’s rawness was ethereal, watery, sex in the ocean raw. Latvia’s rawness felt immediate, earthy, solitary walks on the wooded hilltops raw. Bali's lesson for me was one of spiritual healing. Even standing on the airport curb before I'd boarded a single plane, my soul knew that Latvia's lesson would be one of grounding myself more deeply than I've ever been grounded.

About that moment on the airport curb...no one has perfected the art of leaving like travelers. We live our lives in a constant state of leaving somewhere, leaving someone. I've learned to never say goodbye, just "I'll see you later." I sat with thoughts of leaving for many hours on my flights around the world. I realized something.

Leaving feels like firsts and it feels like fear. 

Leaving always feels like the first time I do, think, feel, say anything, Firsts are sacred. Firsts are how I know I'm alive. Once I was on the road from Bali to Thailand to Myanmar to Costa Rica...none of it gave me a moment's pause. But that first. That first one-way ticket. That first leg of the journey. That first was sacred. Latvia feels like its own first. It feels like I'm starting my adventure all over again. In many ways I am. 

 Somewhere over Russia. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

Somewhere over Russia. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

Leaving has a vague undercurrent of fear. I know most people harbor negative associations with fear, but the gypsy in me absolutely loves it. Fear tells me where I should go. Fear tells me what’s about to change my life. Fear tells me it’s time to flip the script and rely on a bit of magic. 

I was afraid of Bali and she changed me on a cellular level. I'm afraid of Latvia. I'm afraid of tending an off-grid farmhouse in the woods in the middle of nowhere. I'm afraid of hauling water from a well three times a day. I'm afraid of chopping wood and learning to build a fire. I'm afraid of what hygiene amounts to with no plumbing.

I'm afraid in all the right ways though. And that right there is the thing. 

The very reason I wanted to fall in love with Latvia is because I’m afraid of her.

There's evolutionary fear that tells you to run away from the lion. Don't get all woo woo with that fear, just bloody run. But more often than not when we talk about fear, we're talking about excitement without the breath. 

Fear is just excitement without the breath. 

Meaning...breathe. Just breathe, baby. Transmute the fear.

The fear means you've hit a first. The fear means you're leaving something behind. Leave it. Leave. The fear means you're excited about the leaving.

Breathe breathe breathe and feel the fear melt away into excitement. 

Love + sacred firsts, 
gail

On Arriving

On Arriving

Finding my edges in Latvia.

Finding my edges in Latvia.