My Heartbreak Adventure
What Falling in Love with Life Looks Like
I believe everybody has the desire to run away. Something is set deep inside each one of us, something which desires to leave formalities and the red tape surrounding our everyday lives in exchange for an adventure.
I had the opportunity last summer to adventure for 54 days; that same desire in each of us rose up in me and said, "go." What I did not understand is this very adventure in which I would fall in love with life would also break my heart.
Myself and 7 other strangers showed up; those strangers later became the closest friends I will ever know. 54 days is a long time to run away from real life — almost long enough to believe it is real life.
At the moment, that's all we were. Strangers. We found ourselves looking around at each other and wondering what it was we had gotten ourselves into. The answer to that question was revealed to each of us through time, and as we all found our unique answers we also began to forget we were strangers. We slept under stars together, we contemplated life's greatest questions (and never found the answers), we left behind little pieces of who we were and picked up new ones to establish who we are, and in those moments, we forgot we were strangers.
Together we climbed rocks and mountains and rafted rivers full of rapids. We watched breathtaking sunsets and suffered through some sunrises too. I watched myself and my companions fall in love with the world.
Sometimes I think the world fell in love with us, too.
There were other times when I looked around at the world, incredibly angry and confused, and still wondered what I had done to deserve such a special group of supportive and badass women to spend my time with.
I guess the concept was supposed to be simple. We were just supposed to go on an adventure and then go home with some new memories and photographs. However, something very different happened. 54 days is too long to "just go home" when time runs out. Nearly two months had gone by without sleeping in a bed, without seeing my family, without a roof over my head, without warm showers. I'm sure you can imagine how foreign my bedroom felt when I walked in. I realized the light wasn't going to turn off on its own as the once sun did for me. I realized I didn't have to wake up with or before the sun. I realized cooking and using the bathroom had just become much easier. However, I realized all of the modern life conveniences had become heartbreaking reminders I was now living in an entirely different world.
The 7 strangers and I took a risk when we first showed up on day 1. Although I don't think any of us fully realized that at the time. None of us realized how painful waking up at 2 AM to finish hiking through the Olympic Peninsula would be. We also didn't realize how painful it would be a few months later, staying up until 2 AM contemplating our newfound purposes and friendships. Those moments were the times I realized how incredibly painful adventure can be. Wanderlust is romanticized in Instagram posts, but the reality is, it's incredibly inconvenient.
I said this adventure broke my heart. This isn't saying the views, the people, the memories, the pictures, the laughs, and the crying wasn't beautiful. I'm saying there is an entire reality behind each of those things. The reality of getting "home" to an unfamiliar room, and the realization that "real life" doesn't feel real anymore, that is, among other things, one of the most painful feelings we can experience as human beings.