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My Carry On Luggage Was Too Heavy

I've thought about how I would share my story from my Wyoming adventure a lot, because I love sharing my adventures, but also, I wanted to share it authentically. I started the story a few different times. One time, 4 paragraphs deep, my computer just shut down and nothing had saved. Another time I started writing, but decided I needed a nap after the first two sentences. And finally, I went on a run, I let my mind put the pieces together for me without pen to paper.

And I realized, with each time I started the story, I was talking about how I pack for trips. From overpacking to backpacking to road trip packing and beyond. And something became very clear to me, nobody actually cares how I pack my bright orange luggage or bright orange backpack with clothes and excess shoes. I mean, I find it to be a conversation starter, personally, but a story? Naaaahh.

However, I saw the overarching theme, which was what I was hoping to unpack when I arrived.

You see, I came with a knapsack hanging over my shoulder. It was so full of worry, grief, anxiety, sadness and stress and it was heavy, like dip in the shoulder, crick in the neck, lower back pain, dark circles under my eyes, heavy. And it was all held together by a bright orange bow, that was my façade. Orange, you see, is my favorite color, and yes, it brings me happiness. And when I showed my orange bow, it deflected the eyes from the unraveling cloth on my shoulders, which was trying to hold everything together and everything in.

By the way...I am learning in this post, I am a truly terrible speller. I digress.

So along with my knapsack, I overpacked my orange suitcase with multiple pairs of socks, yoga pants, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts (you know, for multiple seasons), vitamins, hiking boots, a brand new prescription for antianxiety medicine and my journal. Like how I snuck that Rx in? Here's the thing, I won't lie about what helps me be the best version of myself. I get Botox, I take vitamins, I see a blonde doctor and I finally asked for help to ease the aching pain in my chest and the ever so anxious mind. I also do yoga, I run, I eat healthy, I eat unhealthy, I drink electrolyte water, I treat my body like a temple that hosts the occasional tequila party. I will not apologize for living imperfectly, and I am happy to be honest about it.

But I do know, as I said last week, what my soul needs to re-center, to be set on fire, to let go, to get present with all the things and to find wholeness in uncertainty. And that, my friends, is stepping into the unknown, with the unknown.

So 5 of us boarded a plane in Houston, 2 of us knew each other a little, 2 knew each other well, and one was meeting everyone for the first time. When I started writing this in my journal, I wanted to tell you about each of them, but their stories are not mine to tell. But what I can say about them is this, each person came needing something that our lives in the humid and flat Houston were not providing at that very moment. Some of us needed adventure, some of us needed our independence, some of us needed to check off our bucket list, some of us needed to rediscover ourselves from within. And you know what was cool? In 5 days, just 5 days, each of us got a little bit of everything and some, a lot of something else. We contributed to the adventure, the discovery of strength, independence, laughter, healing and grace.

In 5 days we hiked nearly 25 miles up mountainsides and switchbacks through snow flurries to waterfalls; we rafted in the white waters of the Shoshone River; we practiced yoga in the sun room of the Chamberlin Inn and around the tree of the courtyard; we stood on our heads in the middle of Beck Lake in Cody, Wyoming on paddleboards; and we saw bison and deer and elk and a bunny, and we patiently waited for Old Faithful to show us her bountiful beauty as she erupted at 3:09PM in Yellowstone National Park. We did all of these things without hesitation nor consideration of what we may find, but curiosity of what we would see and uncover.

Of all the things we saw, the activities we did, the sounds of nature we heard, we never did see nor hear a bear. But one very important thing was found, I found my breath again. Though all the places we hiked were a pack in and pack out trails, I can tell you I left a little stress, a sprinkle of worry, a dash of anxiety and a whole lot of sadness on each trail as I walked in. And when I boarded the plane only 5 days later, I realized I left my knapsack in Wyoming, all but that little orange bow tied neatly around my soul. It holds in my grief in a safe space, right next to my joy. The best, and most efficient way I know how to pack.

And to the new friends and old that were on this journey with me, thank you for holding space not just for me, but for each other. Thank you for bringing the silly and authentic. Thank you for allowing me the space to pace ahead on the hikes, but side by side on the journey. The journey known as our Wyoming AlohAdventure!

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