Grateful, overwhelmed, changed, full, at peace. These are all words that would accurately describe my current state of mind as I sit in the BKK Airport at a loss for words. Finally, something has shut me up. Actually, the real problem isn’t the lack of words but the inability to express my emotions to the level they’re being felt.
It is through this journey that I have learned my place in this world and the power I have to affect the people within it. Through this journey I have built upon a passion which was already great to begin with but has since soared to heights I never imagined it would. It is through this journey that I have had the opportunity to have my life profoundly altered by over one hundred individual shining stars. I’m blessed to have also taken part in a change within their lives too. I have spent time releasing and cleansing my mind of the things in my life that once seemed so trivial and intrusive and now have me wondering why I ever wasted the time to dwell. As I make my way off that plane this afternoon, I will be embodying a whole new sense of peace and relaxation. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
This, my friends, is a world full of so much splendour and even more wonderous human beings. Every sight, every personality, every laugh or hand held by a stranger has had me focusing only on the positive and marvelling at only the most beautiful. Do we really want to waste our time on Earth surrounding ourselves internally and externally with anything but pure goodness?
The World has taught me to spend my time inspiring others through words, actions and art. The three greatest forms of communication. Nothing brought me more joy than hearing a loved one say that I have shifted a piece of their heart with my photographs, stories or advice I’ve shared along the way. This only means that I’m carrying myself in the way I’ve been striving to achieve. It means that I’ve grown enough self-awareness and appreciation for who I am to successfully love and reach out to others. It also signifies the growth that has sprouted from my art. The once hesitant photographs from my first seed of passion have now flourished into work I am more than confident with. I am so sure of my style and direction with not only my photography but my writing as well. Each one of them has advanced so significantly and to see that in myself has been nothing but an excitement.
I think back now to the girl I was when I left in July. I wasn’t necessarily stuck in a rut or on the fast track to no good. In fact, I was pretty happy with who I was in that moment but that Sam was stuck in a stage of transition. She had left things she wasn’t happy with and changes both good and bad had piled up over the past year more than usual. I was aware that direction needed to be found and that change happens to even the best of us. Nobody needs to hit rock bottom to reach personal growth. I think I mentioned in my very first post about the Camino that I wasn’t sure of the changes it would bring me but the most exciting moment would be discovering them one by one as they were put into action. I know that everything I ever do and every opportunity I take or leave has me growing and changing constantly. When push comes to shove, the Universe has a special way of piecing everything together into a flawless puzzle. That’s the way we need to tackle life, by accepting every moment as a learning experience and keep nothing but hope and faith in our hearts. If there’s one thing I’ve been taught over this journey it’s that. Everything in this world keeps you moving forward if you let it.
I can’t thank the people in my life enough for the support you’ve given me while I’ve been away. Whether you’re an avid reader of my blog or you’ve taken the time to send me words of encouragement and love, I am touched by it all. I’ve felt each and every one of you with me as I’ve taken each step. I hope that through my words you felt only the same. I’ve always felt very loved and am constantly thanking my lucky stars that the people in my life are so caring and inspiring. This experience has had me over the moon thinking about how truly blessed I am. Your love was felt through every comment, email, phone call and transfer of energy. None of those feelings will ever leave my heart and I am eternally grateful.
I hope that you’ve felt inspired to travel on an adventure of your own one day. I can’t say it enough that there is beauty absolutely everywhere. You don’t need to look further than your own backyard, I promise. Look at things from a new point of view and go exploring. You won’t be disappointed as to what it will bring you. All you need is an open mind and the city you walk through every day will be transformed.
Sentimentally, I’m already looking back through my blog and gasping at everything I’ve accomplished. Over 60 cities big and small, six countries and several leaps of faith into opportunities filled with unknowns. I never want to hear the words “I can’t” escape my lips ever again. From hiking through Italian mountains, to a scuba diving adventure, to walking across an entire country and biking around an Irish peninsula, there is nothing in this life that should ever feel out of reach to me. I’ve demolished fears and challenged my body again and again never settling for anything less than everything I’ve got within me. Every single task I take on should be faced that way. With everything I have and it will. It’s a beautiful thing to realize the heights you’re capable of reaching.
To the people I’ve met along the way: you ended up being the most amazing part in this chapter of my life. I set off into the great big Universe to see its sights and ended up seeing its people. Truly seeing them. I’ve felt so many deep and soulful connections over this past little while that I would run out of fingers and toes trying to count them all. It’s as if everyone I’ve encountered is a long lost soulmate. All of you have made your mark on my journey. A piece of you will forever be with me and each memory involves the loving smile of a new friend. We’ve shared our deepest emotions, our loudest and brightest dreams and sometimes even a few tears. Whether I walked with you for over a month on the Camino de Santiago or we spent just a few short days together, sometimes even a matter of hours, the amount of time has never dictated the depth of our friendship. If I photographed you and knew you only for a few snaps of the shutter, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening up to a complete stranger and showing me your raw vulnerability. That takes big strength and I am so honoured to have captured your essence. There is something really special about having friends all over the world. Every country brings a new perspective, a new way of thinking or approach to life. I’ve adored the diversity of the people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. What can I say other than I love you. I love you all like I’ve loved you my whole life. Thank you for everything you’ve shown me.
Perhaps I should make this short and sweet. Maybe there isn’t a need to write down a mountain of words about what I’ve learned. I think the better way to let you know how this has affected me is to show you. My heart is aching with the desire to hit the soil of my beloved country. Something else that struck me time and time again was the deep love I carry for my hometown, for my country. I love where I live and no matter how far I travel and how many cultures I get to experience, there truly is no place like home.
The traveling does not stop here. My mind is already buzzing with ideas for my next big learning experience abroad but for now, I’m really looking forward to bringing my newfound perspective back into the real world. I’m sure the changes within me will never stop showing themselves as I’m faced with new challenges and opportunities every day. After all, my Camino angel Nicola was absolutely right when she told me,