The gift of the open road

61 comments

This is the first time in six weeks that I have sat down at my laptop, opened a new Word document, and quietly begun to write. It sounds like such a simple act, and yet I have been struggling with it for all this time. The words escaped me somehow, and I have been slowly trying to carouse them back ever since.

I don’t know why I haven’t written for so long. I guess it’s just a million tiny little reasons that all slowly added up; infinite distractions and moments of bliss that sent me on another course for a while there, and I simply allowed myself to go with it, changing direction as easily as the wind.

Life here is wonderful. I think part of the reason I have shied away from writing is because it seemed so strange to say that out loud, perhaps a little boastful even. I don’t mean life is perfect though, because there have been many difficulties to face over the past couple of months, but despite this, I am living every day with a sense of joy and satisfaction I have never experienced before. I can honestly say, without reservation, that my life has never felt more right. More me.

The beginning of our new beginning has been so utterly different from what I had been imagining over the past two years. Amongst all my dreaming of living in India for several months, I never expected I would actually be living in India. I envisioned us using our house here in Goa as a base from which to explore, and that my blog would begin to fill up with beautiful photos and tales of adventure and discovery.

But India had other plans.

She has transformed me, and I feel utterly connected and disconnected at the same time, letting the days dreamily pass on by without forethought. A new normality has taken hold, and I really do feel like this is my home. I am completely in the moment.

I wake up in the morning and feed our cat and her kittens, make some tea and pad around the house while Lee tries to grab a few extra minutes of sleep before heading off to his new dream job as a canyoning assistant for Goa Jungle Adventure. With the house to myself I settle in at my desk to work on my graphic design projects, and then head to the beach for an afternoon swim.

I know all my neighbours and local business owners by name, what food is best in which restaurant, where to buy Snickers bars that are still in date (you have no idea how hard this actually is!), and have been blessed to meet an amazing group of women who have become the very bedrock of my experience here, changing me from a writer to a talker every time we are together. We live on Indian time, taking things slow and enjoying the simple things in life with an authenticity I feel rejuvenated by.

I finally feel like everything has come together; who I am, what I want to do, the way I want to live my life and the people I want to share it with. I am completely at peace. It has been India’s greatest gift to me.

Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people, and finally I did, on the open road. We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art.
– Lana Del Rey

Every day I lose myself in private moments of gratitude and beauty; picking up handfuls of sand and slowly sifting the tawny grains through my fingers, like stroking the golden locks of a lion’s mane, or standing shoulder-deep in the warmth of the Indian Ocean, closing my eyes as I lift my face towards the sun, and watching the light dance across the inside of my eyelids.

Since the day I first started Further Bound I have been on a journey, charting every step I took on my way to this new life of indefinite travel. Now that I am actually here though, the journey seems to have been less about geography and more about reaching an internal destination, one mapped out on the most personal level imaginable, like the lines of a fingerprint.

So I guess ultimately that is why I have fallen quiet; because my words were projected inward instead of out. But now I have broken the radio silence and once again reminded myself of why I chose to write in the first place.

Because I love to paint the truth with words, but ultimately because I too have finally found my people, on the open road, and right here, behind countless computer screens. So thank you for joining me on this journey. I promise to share it with you all a lot more often from now on.

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Somewhere December 17, 2012 at 13:18

Wow, what a way to break the writing drought! Beautiful my dear! Okay this is really weird that I’m commenting on your post whilst sitting right next you. Life is so surprising these days 🙂

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 16:57

Thanks honey! I’d say it to your face, but this way is more fun 🙂

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Rachel December 17, 2012 at 14:08

You’re forgiven for the silence with such a beautifully written post…..just don’t leave it as long next time. We miss you! xxxx

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 16:58

Thanks Rach, and I promise I won’t leave it so long! I miss you too, so very much. Endless love to all of you xxx

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Tyrhone December 17, 2012 at 14:10

Well written and welcome back to the tinternet.
I especially like what you said about geography not really being the key (although it helps), travelling just gives you the option to really think about life and what it means to you.

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 17:00

Thanks Tyrhone, it’s a shame you didn’t make it out here with Sarah but hopefully our paths will cross somewhere else in the not too distant future 🙂

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Jenny December 17, 2012 at 14:31

You did it! And beautiful it was too. Well done and looking forward to many more to come. xxx

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 17:03

Thank you my dear xxx

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Kim December 17, 2012 at 14:38

Hannah, such a beautiful post. It is so important to do what you need to do. Your readers will still be here when you come back. Take as long as you need. I’ve been struggling with this too, but learning to let myself be, to live, to read, to run, to walk, to talk, to do whatever I want to do and not pick up the damn computer if I don’t want to. I can’t wait to get to India and give you the biggest hug.

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 17:04

Ah thanks Kim, I can’t wait either 🙂

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Carmel December 17, 2012 at 16:18

That sounds just about perfect.

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Hannah December 17, 2012 at 17:05

Thank you Carmel 🙂

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Jonathan Welford December 17, 2012 at 18:16

Absolutely fantastic post, so great to hear your story unfolding. I feel inspired reading your blog, and although I have gone travelling for long stretches of time it makes me want to do more. Keep enjoying the moment, and make it never ending.
There is bugger all in the UK, it’s been raining what seems non stop here, the news is all about poverty, national debt and all the doom that is in the world seems to be at the forefront of the national conscience.
Keep the posts coming.

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:41

Thank you Jonathan, that really means a lot. I hope the weather picks up for you soon 🙂

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Satu VW December 17, 2012 at 20:11

Ah, you transferred me to the beach in India for a moment, away from my hectic everyday life!! Although I have to say, I feel like I have found “my people” here in Norway too. Lovely to hear that India keeps treating you guys well, I look forward to the next update from the road! Or Goa 🙂

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:42

Thank you Satu, I’m so glad you got to share a piece of India with me 🙂

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Stephen S. December 17, 2012 at 20:28

Wow great post! It’s good to see you are doing well! I feel the same, I have working on my trip so hard and so long, but in a way it seemed far off, and I cant picture myself on that path.
That quote really hit home. That is to make my life art, to reach my internal destination.
Good to see a new post up. 🙂

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:46

Thanks Stephen, I’m glad you liked the quote, I think it is so beautiful 🙂

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Phillipa Sen December 18, 2012 at 00:44

Oh my buddha! Your entry was so beautiful Hannah. I loved your description of ‘picking up handfuls of sand and slowly sifting the tawny grains through my fingers, like stroking the golden locks of a lion’s mane’. It’s like I’m really with you sometimes and can imagine exactly what you see… what you feel… I remember the feeling I got when I was there… it’s almost as if nothing else really matters… technology can take its leaps and gigantic steps towards mass destruction and all I want to do is what you’re doing… ‘BEING in the MOMENT’. I miss you best friend, but I am so thankful and happy, that after all your hard work, you are finally resting. Don’t feel bad that you don’t write… don’t feel bad that you don’t ‘DO’ anything… just ‘BE’.
Love you
P xxx

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:46

Thank you honey, I’m so glad you liked it. Miss you and love you so, so much xxx

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TammyOnTheMove December 18, 2012 at 01:56

Your posts are written so beautifully that I never want them to end. You have such gift and reading your posts is like reading poetry! Glad you got back to writing again!

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:47

Wow, what a wonderful compliment Tammy, thank you so much, that really means the world to me 🙂

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Margaret Hogan | Destination Here&Now December 18, 2012 at 04:45

Well it’s good to know you’re still alive 😉 Sounding very happy Hannah. Lovely read.

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:48

Thanks for reading Margaret 🙂

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Margaret Hogan | Destination Here&Now December 18, 2012 at 12:40

🙂

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Rhonda December 18, 2012 at 04:47

What a beautiful post Hannah! Although I didn’t go on my RTW searching for my people, I did indeed find my authentic self while experiencing the world. Thank you for putting the feeling so eloquently into words.

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 09:49

Thank you Rhonda 🙂

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Sofie December 18, 2012 at 10:25

A truly great post. I think you found something many of us are looking for and maybe few will ever truly find.

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Hannah December 18, 2012 at 13:15

Thank you so much Sofie 🙂

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Harley December 18, 2012 at 14:06

Beautiful writing! I’ve felt the same when I traveled through China a few years ago, although you have a much better way of articulating it. I was wondering what happened these past few weeks you didn’t write, but glad to see you writing again. Looking forward to reading about your rickshaw adventures in the coming weeks. 🙂

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:05

Thank you so much Harley 🙂

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Steph | DiscoveringIce.com December 18, 2012 at 17:50

So glad you’re back and with such a beautifully written post, as always! I was dying to hear an update! Your story has captivated me and like others have said, I can really feel what it is like to be there! 🙂
Love the quote from Lana del Rey! That monologue at the beginning of ‘Ride’ is so wonderful and really hits home with something inside me too!

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:07

Thanks Steph, it’s so lovely to have you following along. And yes, the ‘Ride’ video is exquisite isn’t it, so glad it resonated with you too 🙂

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Alana - Paper Planes December 19, 2012 at 08:28

Beautiful – I find that often when there is a lot going on in my life and in my head and I want to share or write about it I can’t. I soak it up the best I can, but can’t feel like I can accurately put it into words so just wait. Eventually the time comes and then the writing seems to come out just right, like this post.

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:10

Thank you so much Alana, it’s so nice to hear from other people who feel the same way.

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Edna December 19, 2012 at 10:01

I love the way you write. Glad to have you back, but also glad you had some much needed time to absorb India and everything going on — sometimes you need that before you can start to write. The words don’t always come out right if you make yourself put them down earlier than you’re ready to.

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:12

Thank you so much Edna, that is such a lovely compliment 🙂

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Jeremy or IHeartTravel December 19, 2012 at 18:26

Hannah your words are like the most beautiful poem! I’m sitting here listening to a film soundtrack and reading this, and in this very moment I can imagine your bliss!
You have found what you were searching for and you should bask in all its glory. I am so glad your back but I am equally as glad that your experience has brought you what you wanted : )

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:13

Jeremy, what a lovely thing to say, thank you!

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Hogga December 19, 2012 at 18:27

such a good post!

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:13

Thank you Lindsay, I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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Marisol December 19, 2012 at 22:11

Hi Hanna,
Finally! I was starting to get worried about you. Glad to know that your absence was due to such blissful state. I could feel so much peace through your words. I’m happy to hear that you reached your internal destination. In the end, that’s the destination that matters. Namaste!

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 11:15

Namaste right back at ya! Thanks for reading Marisol 🙂

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Therese December 20, 2012 at 16:16

Aww so good to have an update! Love you! <3

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 20:16

Love you too lady! Hope you are having a wonderful time in Thailand xxx

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Jan Goldsmith (@vacationality) December 20, 2012 at 16:45

Hi Hannah, nice post, you are so brave, have a safe trip in India 🙂

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 20:20

Thank you Jan 🙂

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Ruth (Tanama Tales) December 20, 2012 at 18:40

This post touched something deep inside me. I guess we are all looking for those things that bring us joy and peace. Hope you find tons of those on your journey.

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Hannah December 20, 2012 at 20:20

Thank you Ruth, I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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Jo (The Blond) December 21, 2012 at 15:14

Beautiful post! don’t we all want to achieve the inner peace? I wish I could find a place like that, which calms my mind down, and gives me a sense of direction.

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Hannah December 22, 2012 at 03:57

Thank you Jo 🙂

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Lauren H. of Sobremesa In Spain December 28, 2012 at 03:20

Really really beautiful Hannah. As a fellow citizen of humanity looking for my people on the open road, I’m touched and glad to know that others are finding it. It’s a wonderful reminder that when things need to happen, the right people, places and moments unfold for us.

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Hannah December 30, 2012 at 17:09

Thank you so much for your lovely comment Lauren 🙂

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Ayngelina January 3, 2013 at 15:43

I find my best and most personal posts are the ones I hand wrote in my journal than ones I wrote on my laptop. For me Word just makes things sound daunting and my voice has always been in my journal.
It sounds like you are in a great place. Don’t write unless you feel you should. My Google Reader will let me know when you’re back again.

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Hannah January 10, 2013 at 04:36

Thank you so much Ayngelina, I love the fact that I am in your Google Reader! It’s really good to hear how you work. I try to write by hand too, but always find my thoughts come out more fluidly when I type them out, and my mind seems to switch on more.

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Noortje February 5, 2013 at 10:30

What a beautiful post!
It`s really inspiring to read about someone who`s reaching her internal destination.
If your dreams are big enough and scares you from time to time but you are strong enough to dream on, then you`ll reach them one day..
Your story remember me on a video I got a couple of weeks a go from a friend of my. Have a look on YouTube – TEDxSF Louie Schwartzberg -> Gratitude. So true, isn`t it?

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Hannah February 6, 2013 at 11:32

Thank you so much Noortje, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And thank you also for the TED Talk recommendation, I will be sure to check that out 🙂

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Dariece - Goats On The Road February 15, 2013 at 14:56

Hannah, your writing is simply exquisite! This post was so honest and from the heart, I loved it. I’ve only recently found your website, but I will now be following your journey. India is the perfect country in which to “find yourself”, enjoy it.
Cheers!
Dariece

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Hannah February 15, 2013 at 15:04

Thank you so much Dariece, what a wonderful compliment! I’m so glad you found my blog, and am honoured to have you following my journey. I’ll be sure to follow yours too 🙂

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CurlyTraveller April 17, 2013 at 05:45

What a lovely post, Hannah!
I just ‘discovered’ you this morning and I’m glad that I did.
I can relate very much to what you are saying in this post, although I am at a different point myself.
I live quite a hectic life, continuously accompanying my husband on his work related travels, living here, nor there, or everywhere. It has it’s great aspects and it’s downsides. But the main thing is, I believe, to go with the flow and enjoy whatever is there and whoever is there.
Sort of a variation on what Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young once sang: “If you can’t be the one you love, love the one you’re with”. Although I totally disagree with that on a relationship level ;-), I do agree with that in terms of life: “If you cannot be where you might want to be the most, enjoy yourself wherever you find yourself.”
Not always easy, but ever so happy when I succeed in that. And I often do;-)

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Hannah April 18, 2013 at 11:37

Thank you so much, I’m so glad you ‘discovered’ me too! I’m happy you were able to relate to the sentiment, and that you have found a way to create a sense of joy and peace wherever you might find yourself. I wish you all the best with your future travels 🙂

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