journaling

Swinging Forward

Our process for returning home has begun. Yes, we’re still in South America but truth be told, we’re not entirely here anymore. We’re traveling less now, and the exhilarating and terrifying idea of going home is more than merely creeping into our minds; we’re making arrangements, lists, and decisions to re-enter the US. It feels like swinging. Remember the last time you sat your grown-up butt in a good solid swing and let yourself feel the child-like sensations of swinging? I did it recently at our hostel in the tiny town of Malargüe, Argentina.

The swing-set is just to the right of our countryside Eco Hostel.

I settled into the swing, stuck my legs out straight forward, leaned my body back, and fell into that familiar pumping motion that would take me as high as I dared. I stayed there for a good while, sensing the butterflies in my tummy as I experienced a fraction of a second of weightlessness at the apex, feeling simple joy. I took in the tranquil countryside in front of me, felt the wind against my body, my hair blowing in the breeze, smiled. Ahhh…I hope I remember to give myself these simply pleasures in life more often when we return home. Eventually, I was ready to move on. I stopped pumping my legs, sat fairly still in the swing, let the momentum gradually slow, gaged when I felt comfortable to let go, and let the slower momentum of the swing propel me forward to stand on my feet. If I let go too early, there was a high probability of falling and hurting my happy 53-year old body. If I held on too long, until I stopped entirely, it would have been boring, no fun at all to step away from my delightful adventure. That’s exactly how this transition feels to me.  

Like any time of big change in my life, I recognize the familiar feelings of exhilaration and terror. I’m excited to reshape my life and, at the same time, I’m mostly afraid of the money aspect. I know from past experience that staying in touch with my feelings and gathering information will energize (rather than paralyze!) my forward momentum. Keith and I have been sharing our hopes, fears, and feelings, and to learn more about the process, we watched an online program called RELAUNCH! by Cate Brubaker. (Thanks to my friend Christine Martell for this hot, timely tip.) The fifteen presentations and interviews led us to discussions from perspectives we would have never come to on our own. My favorite parts were hearing other people’s stories about their challenges, fears, excitement, etc., working through some exercises to get a grasp on our own feelings, and the ideas for actions to make re-entry smoother.

My tried and true way of understanding my thoughts and feelings is journaling. Recently, I noticed two familiar patterns related to change showing up. I tend to get uber-focused and let all the fun slide right out of my life. Focus is a good thing, in moderation. Right? The other thing I noticed is that I tend to rush toward the next shiny thing/experience/plan and forget to be where I am now. My response to seeing these patterns is to book a wine tour and take a motorcycle ride out into the countryside of Mendoza -- ASAP!

So now, less than a month away from our departure date, we’re traveling less, giving ourselves time in Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile to prepare for our step out of travel, and into home and working. Exact answers to the question of, “What’s next?” are still evolving. So far, we have a pretty good idea that we’ll live in the Northwest and some ideas for what we’ll do to make a living. We’ll share that adventure as it unfolds. For now, we know that we’re flying ourselves and our bikes to Los Angeles on February 23, 2017. From there, it’s one baby step at a time, the same way we made it 38,000 miles away from our home in Newport, Oregon.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. Here's a snippet of our ride to Mendoza.

(To enlarge the image, click on it then hover over the bottom of the photo to see the complete description.)

Travel Tools

When we left  home just over a year ago, I did my best to pack everything I thought I'd need for two years of motorcycle travel. Some things I got right. Some things I shipped home, tossed, or gave away. And some things, I didn't realize how much I needed until I tried to live without them for several months. Strangely enough, roadside stretching, in the photo, is connected to one of those things. 

 

In this video, I talk about the tools I've discovered that make travel way more fun. Surprisingly, they're more similar than different to life at home.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Talking to Myself

New to this blog? Here's the scoop:

On August 10, 2015, my husband Keith and I took off on our motorcycles for a 2ish-year journey from Oregon to the tip of South America. During this time, I'm dedicating this blog to the inner journey that takes place as a result of our adventure.


This video was created on September 17, 2015 (day 37 on the road) and I'm sharing my continued exploration of journaling and the results of talking to myself from a curious perspective.

Imperfectly Journaling

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.
— Christina Baldwin

Taking quiet time to imperfectly journal on a regular basis provides a way for you to see, feel, and know what’s happening inside you. There are many ways to journal, which can be daunting or confusing, so I suggest doing whatever feels right for you. There are no rules. Know that you can’t do it wrong. This is, hands-down, the most powerful thing I do to connect with my inner self. 

Journaling is a lot like meditation: there are so many ways to do it, that it’s easy to get stuck in performing the technique perfectly but miss the point of the experience entirely. The most important element is for you to be 100% you. Write, draw, paint (whatever medium feels good to you) what’s on your mind and in your heart in that moment. Do it on a regular basis. This means absolutely whatever works for you: daily, 5-days a week, 2-days a week, weekly, monthly. Start somewhere. 

Journaling is the most direct connection to my inner self. It’s a peaceful, magical place where I am totally free to explore what’s in my mind, body, and heart. I keep a 6” x 9” artist sketch book and a variety of colored fine-tipped markers in a drawer, in our living room where I can easily access them. In the morning, with my first divine cup of coffee, I choose a colored pen and write one page. Sometimes I write more, sometimes less, and sometimes I doodle. The key is that I show up and write from my inner most thoughts and feelings at least 5 days a week. 

If nothing comes to mind, I ask myself some questions. “What am I feeling? What has grabbed my attention lately? Who has inspired me? What’s bothering me?” Usually these stimulate my mind and words flow onto the page. If not, I doodle. This is my sacred time to be with me, to hear my thoughts and feelings, to tinker with my ideas, troubles, confusion and solutions. Sometimes I surprise myself. 

If you'd like to experiment with journaling, here are some ideas to get started. 

Write in a journal for a set amount of time. For example, commit to journaling daily for 1 week, longer if possible. Here are some prompts to get started:

I’m feeling…

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about…

When my mind wanders or I day dream, I think about…

The thing that vexes me most right now is…

I’m really ready to…

I wish…

I feel really good about…