What I Owe To Track
A recycled post from my former blog - written in Wellington, New Zealand
My teammates will tease me for how many sentences I begin with, "In hindsight...". Sometimes I feel like I'm not great at living life, perhaps I forget that none of us have done this before. I consequently enjoy opportunities to recollect and learn and take unwritten notes for future reference. I hope over the years that my character gets sanded down and shaped towards one that is mindful of the other, genuinely preferring another's ideal over mine.
We are nineteen months through our twenty-one months of travel (nicknamed 'Track') and I've found myself thinking a lot about our experience and trying to notice what I've learned and gained and given. Slightly tainted by tiredness, I find it easy to dwell on what Track has cost me, the ways I feel it has worn me down and evoked cynicism in me. As our school embarks on its final chapter ('Tour') I need to be careful that these thoughts don't steal from me the opportunity to notice what Track has given me, not simple what it has taken away.
Track has given me friendships of the highest quality. I've genuinely never built relationships with people that look like that ones I have with my teammates. They have been my classmates, my housemates, my travel companions, my company on days off and with whom I both work and play. Together we've had deadlines and needed to be productive and together we've been exhausted and found pockets of rest. For the majority of my life I've surrounded myself with people who are similar to me and who I find it incredibly easy to be around. Because of that, I never felt the need to learn how to resolve difficulties or deal with conflict in a healthy way. I'm fortunate that I find myself similar to Cat and Idun in a number of ways and I genuinely enjoy doing life this closely with them. All that to say, on Track, it hasn't been realistic to expect to upkeep healthy, outward-looking relationships without having harder talks and occasionally making each other cry before hugging and making up. Track will always be the place where I learned to love within friendships that run deeper than I'm used to.
Track will also always be the place that introduced me to countries on an around-the-world scale. Over the last six years I've enjoyed seizing every opportunity to travel overseas but most of the time it has been in one-country doses where I've left from England and returned there. On Track though I've been to eighteen countries (nineteen if you ask me in three weeks) and have enjoyed new continents and calling new places my home. I've flown completely around the world, albeit it via a weird route, from Toronto airport to India, to Thailand, to Cambodia, to Vietnam then via Japan and the States before arriving back in Toronto. Track introduced me to the Southern Hemisphere, to new constellations and allowed me to cling to summer-like weather for eleven months straight. Track taught me that my desire to travel remains steadfastly insatiable even whilst on the road and has shown me that I still dream of future trips and adventures even whilst I'm within one. Because of Track I know that I find it hard to pack lightly and that I enjoy unpacking ten times more than I enjoy packing. Fifty flights later, I find airports somewhat predictable and feel quite at home with their quirks and procedures. I've enjoyed setting up camp in various terminals, wandering around in my socks and reclining on usually about three chairs.
And so, whilst I feel easily able to type about what Track has taken away from me, I mustn't forget what it has given me, all for which I am grateful.