I am in a unique position for a thirty year old woman. I have the freedom of being twenty, with the confidence and security of being thirty. Let me explain…
I have begun researching white privilege, systemic racism, cultural appropriation, white supremacy, the history of race in America and abroad… and pretty much anything and everything that will help me understand why the world functions like this, what my role is in it, and how I can mitigate my impact.
Why did 11 years pass before I hiked The Narrows myself? Dressed in the lime green and gray water proof suit and hiking boots I had rented from the Zion outfitters shop, I looked more like I was going to outer space than hiking. The shuttle bus on the way to the trail head was crowded. It was Spring Break after all. I stood in the center aisle clinging to overhead hand grip with one hand and my walking stick with the other. Gazing out the window I pondered my question. The answer came quickly…
When the birthday girl read about Angel’s Landing- a 5790 ft peak that can only be reached by hiking a narrow ridge with 1000 feet drop offs on either side, she was committed to doing it, with or with out the rest of us. When I’d heard about this hike in travelers’ tales, it sounded cool. But on the verge of actually hiking it, I was a little nervous.
These epiphanies aren’t a typical list of “lessons learned while traveling.” From acknowledging my privilege, to changing my diet, to letting go of who I thought I was and who I thought I wanted to be, this list digs deeper in the journey I took inward, while traveling through Southeast Asia.
Before we get into the details of my return- like how long I’ll be here, what I’ll be doing, and where I plan to go next, let me tell you a few of the things I missed about America while I was away!… (Warning: Some items on this list are basic.)
When I was 25 years old I made a sweeping declaration that I would never ride a motorcycle, dirt bike, quad, ATV, or any other two-wheeled or off road vehicle again. They scared the shit out of me… Well, four and half years later, who whoulda thunk it? I’m not only driving scooters all over Southeast Asia as a means of transportation but I drove a motorbike through the mountainous Ha Giang Loop in northern Vietnam! As cliche as the sang is, “never say never.”
When you have knowledge but don’t put it into action, an internal struggle between what you should be doing and what you are doing develops. In 2018 I was reminded over and over again the importance of self-discipline and eating right, yet I chose to remain inactive. Not only inactive, but I often went directly against what I knew was right. It was conflicting and frustrating. In 2019 I am turning this knowledge into action and that action into power!