The Baggage I Carried and Had To Check
So far, I’ve traveled to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Naples, Capri Islands, Zurich (Switzerland), and now I’m in Amsterdam! Here are a few bags I’ve had to check along the way!
1. Dreams: “… Each life unravels differently.” Shane Koycza
- “Everyone should travel!!!” I shout! Says who, exactly? Who died and told me I get to tell everyone what they “should” do. This is my dream and my road and my path… And for whatever the reason may be, it may not belong to EVERYONE. I’m responsible for letting my life and light shine and not for requesting that other paths look like mine.Yes, traveling has its perks, e.g the way I’m expanding and getting to know myself and my little quirks, meeting the world and letting the world meet me… But the truth is there are many ways to do this… And everyone doesn’t even have those “lessons” to learn on their journey.” So there! If others dream of doing it, great! If not, also great! I challenge us all to honor whatever our path is.
“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this “In order to love you, I must make you something else”. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.” Bell Hooks
2. Spiritually: “Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” C. Joybell C.
- God is a man. If you know me, you know that referring to God as “He” makes me cringe. But it’s true! In fact, I couldn’t be more sure that God is a white Italian man who wears grey khaki pants and a short sleeve dress shirt with dark brown loafers. A man of short stature and medium sized frame. An old man of 65 or 70 years with white hair both on head and face. Yes, God is a white man! He was on the platform in Naples in early September. There were a lot of people on the platform that afternoon, but I was drawn to God who was separate and a part. Near the end of the platform. Pacing. Planning. Waiting. “Hi, excuse me, can you help me?” “Ciao………” Oh no, God didn’t speak English! And I needed help! I was lost! But not to worry, God didn’t let language creat a barrier. I had an address that I showed him…. And he led me to my destination with an overflow of love and delight. He asked for absolutely nothing in return. When we parted ways, I cried. I didnt want God to go… Not sure if it was because I was scared to be by myself or because of the peace and the light and the love that felt like Heaven when he was walking with me. I’ll never again pretend that I don’t know God is a white man…. And on this journey, I met God in the form of a 34 year old Chilean woman, a 20 year old Swiss girl, a 60 year old Italian woman, two 16 year old boys, one Indian and one Swiss, an Asian man, and as flight attendants who came to my rescue during what I now know as a pant attack upon landing in Switzerland. So God is HE.. And She… And That… And It.. And you… And ME…. And ME. And you.
3. Relationships: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
- I kept thinking that I did something wrong to my friends that didn’t offer contributions on my journey. Maybe they’re mad at me for something I didn’t support of theirs. Maybe I sent too many “friendly reminder” texts. Maybe I didn’t answer their texts or calls one too many times. Up until this very day, I’ve mulled over this. What could I have done so wrong that some of my closest friends didn’t have my back. And maybe I asked for too much… $16… was the eventual request…Three/four/five months in advance… I can’t pretend I’m not hurt by this. And that it may have something to do with me.. And it may not. But whatever the reason, I get to have my feelings about it.. And then let the feelings pass, as they always do. Three months of “friendly reminders” was humiliating to me. I feel sad and angry. Especially to only get silence or “I will tonight” in return. Now, did they owe me a donation? Hell no! Does it mean they aren’t my friends or don’t love me? Of course not! Does the lack of action send a loud message to me about support and expectations. Absolutely. I can’t help but think if we don’t lift each other… Who will? And this message is vice versa, too. When my community calls, do I answer… Be it a dollar, a share, a listening ear, a resource…. We get to be a stand for each other. And know that there is room at the table for us all, if we’re willing to make space.
4. Race: “You are responsible for the energy you bring -Jill Taylor
- Friend: “Mia, have you experienced racism in travels? And is the same across the world as it is in America– ?”
- Me: “I can’t say that I have, but I’ve been hyper conscious of my difference. And I see people staring. And I know it means they don’t think I belong. They think I’m a lower class citizen.” Now how in the hell do I know what they’re thinking? I didn’t even speak to them let alone engage them in discourse. I brought that energy to the room not knowing if it was already present. This does not mean it is NOT present, but I brought my assumptions to a space rather than my being and allowing myself to encounter other beings.
5. Emotionally: “Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off.” Chris Brogan
- I am so afraid of admitting that I want to go home… Like NOW! My belief is that admitting would mean I’m a failure, I’m ungrateful, and that I gave up! “You’re supposed to be happy! And excited to have this much access to life. Stay!” I would say to myself in an attempt to motivate me to get out of that bed on the 4th floor of the Residence Living Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland where I’d laid for two days straight. Screaming (in my pillow), sad, angry, and torn! “This is the time of your life! Don’t miss it. Everyone doesn’t get to have this experience, baby girl! You owe it to the world to complete it.” I wept. I wept because maybe.. Just maybe I wasn’t doing my travel correctly. I wept because I actually felt sad and felt so fu**** guilty for being sad when so many people would love to trade places with me. Then I checked myself, “I don’t owe anyone anything.” I get to honor my life and my body. And if I’ve reached my limit, go home. And if I want to return, do. And if I don’t, don’t. Period.
6. Enough: “…Though she be but small, she is fierce!” Helena of MidSummmer’s Night Dream.
- This trip is not luck. I planned. I stepped outside my comfort zone and did things I wouldn’t have done like downsize– I moved in with my partner for three months! Quit my nearly 6 figure career with the best benefits for a “single” woman. I “borrowed” from my personal savings. And when I save, I save from a place of abundance rather than a place of “I can’t buy this, I can’t eat this…” Etc. I THEN reached out to my community for support. I don’t ever as anyone to do for me what I won’t do for myself. What I’m saying is, I’m amazing! I keep acting like traveling the globe is some small feat… But it’s not. And neither am I. As quiet as its kept, I’m A BIG DEAL, a legacy leader, A Force. When I said “I GOT NEXT!” I meant it. I might as well dance and celebrate! Abd as a celebration, the first six people to comment or share, I want send you a handwritten post card. Let’s continue to hold each other up! Each of our lights gets to burn!
- The Audacity to live a life that is our own and in that moment it changes, so can we! There are no mistakes or wrong paths! Let’s rise together… As a nation. As a people!
- #TheAudacity #ToFly #AYA