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Seagulls flying over.

The sun glistening upon each of the small waves crashing down in the bay.

Some boats approach.

Some depart.

Perched high above the old city of Istanbul on a terrace in a white plastic chair.

No one with me but the wind and the sound of tourists exploring below.

Smells in the air as dinner time approaches

As I stair in awe of the Blue Mosque from the roof, my pen touches paper and begins to tell a story.

A story that will last the life of the paper.

As the colors of an Arabian sunset warm the entire environment before my eyes,

the Muslim call to prayer begins its daily dialogue echoing through the urban spaces of both old and new

As it flows throughout the city I find it soothes my traveling heart.

Realizing from whence I came and yet where I sit now,

Tears form in my eyes and begin to roll down my cheek.

My heart began to fill with light, love, and happiness.

I was born again in that moment.

I was touched by a culture I was told to fear.

Exactly one year ago today I left all I knew behind to seek out what the world had to offer. I was terrified and honestly not sure if I would ever be back, but I wanted to see who I really was and how I could change myself for the better.

I traveled over 27,665 miles to 5 countries & 24 cities in around 130 days. To achieve those miles, I was explored on 4 trains, 7 buses, 9 flights, 3 off-road jeeps, 1 camel, 1 motorcycle, one white-water raft, some zip lining, tons of taxi cabs, many bicycles and countless rickshaws / tuk tuks. I witnessed the beauty of foreign cows, dogs, cats, slugs, camels, monkeys, spiders, snakes, elephants, crocodiles, rhinos, and birds.

The most important things I learned amongst the craziness is that life is so enormous and we are so tiny. Make sure that you are continuously immersing yourself in new places with new faces. I gained a perspective that I both wake up and go to sleep with. I’m humbled by how lucky we are to live and travel whenever and wherever we want. I’m so happy to be part of this life.

When I look back, I smile. When I look forward I get goosebumps. The most important is that I live in the moment with passion, love, and kindness for all.

Thanks so much for being a part of my life and I can’t wait for the next year and the adventures it holds. Below are some of the images taking along the way.

(Photo credits to David Joshua Jennings and myself)

As I sit at work with tension in my neck and shoulders so tense you would think they were made of concrete, paranoia sits in. I wonder constantly to myself.. What will people think, when will I tell them, the end of this chapter of my life is hanging heavy over my head like the weight of a thousand moons.

The clock seems to move backward .. Tick…tock..tick..and stopping at some points through the day……… the end has finally come and I leave another day at the office with my tail between my legs. Disappointing the ones on my team that have dedicated their lives to their work.

I hurry home listening to music and call my mother and my sister for some emotional support as only they are the ones that know about the trip I can trust, but no one picks up. Once home I scarf down a cheeseburger as though I hadn't eaten in weeks and get the urge to throw on my pack and gather my fishing gear.

With the gear loaded up I tear out for the lake in the heat of the day beginning to end. Rolling the windows down to acclimate myself to the outdoors and free myself from the 10 hours of work related stress . Once parked I fumigate myself with bug repellent and sunscreen then strap on the pack and grab the poles.

As I walk people look at me like I'm either homeless, crazy or just weird as hell.. Good for me I don't give a shit. I walk with my legs and back sore as this is my 3rd 4 mile walk in a row this week but the thought of catching a fish keeps me going and I know that when I travel I will be tired and I need to work through it.

As I approach the dock I'm filled with joy because I am alone with nature. I break out the fishing gear and assemble my new fly rod for it's first use. I feel one with nature as I'm poetically swaying the rod back and forth as the fly and line glide through the air. It takes a few casts but the fly rod and I finally mend together and time seems to be nonexistent, I'm living within the current moment.

I don't catch anything but the experience I had was worth the effort and energy spent.

As I'm walking back to the truck, I see a dark figure swimming towards the reeds so I slowly sneak up on it to see what it is. A friendly and very hungry beaver emerges from the water and begins to devour some plants. At one point we make eye contact but I think he/she sees that I am kind so he/she continues. As the beaver submerges beneath the black glassy water, I walk off with a smile from ear to ear.. dreaming of what other beautiful experiences I will have on my journey the next year.

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