I'm getting there. Okay. I'm getting there.
A mantra, a comfort, an encouragement. Said over and over again as I prepared to leave the country. Pretty much the entire month of March.
As I stepped out of the office on my very last day of work, I'm getting there.
As I completed all my vaccinations, I'm getting there.
As I made trip after trip dropping off bags of donations, I'm getting there.
As I saw my acupuncturist, my therapist, my chiropractor for the last times, I'm getting there.
As I confirmed flights and got my visa in the mail and worked out logistics, I'm getting there.
As I moved piece after piece of furniture down my three flights of stairs, I'm getting there.
As I slowly emptied the kitchen, the studio, the living room, my closet, I'm getting there.
As my suitcases sitting on my bedroom floor slowly filled, I'm getting there.
As I made my rounds of goodbyes to friends I wouldn't see in so long, I'm getting there.
Said with a deep breath and a big burst of a sigh, over and over again. It felt exhausting, overwhelming, yet methodical. I was doing everything right. I was checking off all the necessary boxes in order to move-to-the-other-side-of-the-world. I was getting there.
As I prepared to go, I'd often look up at the moon in the night sky, wondering if it would look any different in Vietnam. Knowing that it wouldn't, I'd revel in that comfort -- that no matter where I went, the moon would always be a constant. I'd imagine myself months from that moment, looking up at the same moon in Hanoi, wondering what I'd be feeling, seeing, doing.
The first time I saw the moon in Vietnam I almost laughed. Of course it was there.
Two days ago I arrived in Bangkok. Totally alone. And yet --
I wasn't just "getting there" anymore. I was there. Here.
I have bug bites all over my body and mega tan lines and a motor bike exhaust pipe burn on my leg to prove it.
Suddenly it dawned on me. One month ago I was landing in Hanoi, petrified of stepping out onto the street. Now here I was, landing in Thailand, getting a new currency, taking a taxi to a storage center, leaving my suitcases, finding my hostel, figuring out the train system, trekking through ancient palaces and temples with a new friend I met on a ferry boat.
Like it's nothing.
But it's so much. So much for anyone, but also for me -- quiet, shy, timid Ruth. Totally on my own. Sometimes I look around and wonder who this woman is, how I managed to harness so much freedom, so much courage, so much adventure.
I've created a wild amount of freedom in my life like I've never experienced before.
I'm still working out how long I'll be away, and I'm thinking ahead to life back in the US. My plan all along was to be gone for a year, and now that it will most likely be much shorter, I'm re-evaluating what that means.
At night I dream that I am suddenly back in America, everyone surprised and happy to see me, as I flounder in my confusion. No no, I'm going back to southeast Asia, I say, I'm not supposed to be here, this is just a quick stop, I'm going back tomorrow.
I know this means I am not ready to go back yet. I want to see the north of Thailand, take a slow boat to Laos, visit Four Thousand Islands, see Angkor Wat and the killing fields in Cambodia, finish on an island in the south of Thailand, maybe spend some time volunteering.
It's all very fluid and spontaneous and I can't really believe that I'm not freaking out. (I like a plan.)
But there's something so freeing about leaving things open to magic, to adventure, to impulse. I can literally do whatever my heart wants. (I'm manifesting volunteering in Lesbos, oh yes.)
This is radical.
I am here.
After all those months of getting myself here,
I've gotten myself here.