when i first took off for europe, i didn't have a plan. okay, i never really had a plan---not even when i was hitchhiking between countries. but one thing was for sure---going into the experience this summer, i thought i wanted it to last forever.
i initially planned on mostly long-term volunteering, which would've cost me nothing and therefore could've gone on for as long as i wanted. and i did volunteer, for all of ONE WEEK, because the gypsy tribe took hold of my heart and i was restless to continue exploring with them.
and that opened up a world of back-to-back serendipitous experiences everywhere i went. experiences i wouldn't take back for anything. and sure, it cost a lot more than the nothing i would have spent on a farm, but the spontaneous backpacking lead to some pretty epic realizations about the beautiful interconnectedness of this life we all share with each other.
and it's most valuable thing i've ever learned.
i'm not sure i would've learned it had i chosen to stay in one place---volunteering is a rich cultural experience... but one without risks. i needed the risks. because something about constantly putting myself at the mercy of fate week after week for three whole months made that cosmic connectedness impossible to ignore.
but all that serendipitous running around and couchsurfing and hitchhiking got REALLY exhausting. partying hard and not eating right took a toll on my body. within 3 short months, i had been sick 4 times.
so by august, i was unhealthy, low on money, and eager to get back home and put everything i'd learned to practice where it mattered most.
part of me feels a pang of disappointment for not having been smarter with my money. for not making it last longer. and for not staying put. but i just don't think i was built to stay put. and i'm glad for that. because now, more than ever, i have faith that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to.
so i'm back in the states now, piecing together and refining the things that made this experience so valuable. and gaining strength for a whole new set of travels in 2014! :)