Personal, Travel
comments 17

The In-between and the Up Next

reflection

There is a shift that happens when one leaves and returns, especially when that space is over the span of a year around the world. Some of the friends you missed so much still seem far away during first conversations. You become a short-lived novelty, a talking point that lasts for an intro and then it’s back to the latest local gossip or next best thing on Netflix. The clothes that hang in your closet remain there and when you try to find an outfit in the new abundance of options, you end up falling back on the familiar clothes from your trip. In my case, I even found that my shoes no longer fit, as if somehow walking new cities every day for a year stretched me out of my old form. Like through metamorphosis, I had shed my prior skin and now the new me slid her way into life back home. Except home had changed or maybe just the person viewing it had, making it seem like a foreign place to learn all over again.

reflection

I spent the summer not in reflection, but in the growing pains of starting a new business. I spent weekends hauling my travel photos, now in large canvas form, to art fairs.  My booth was always full and I enjoyed the conversations my photos inspired, yet I could not live on compliments alone and struggled to make ends meet. I started an online etsy store, did portrait sessions for friends and began selling off my wardrobe that no longer fit to pay my bills. I’m still working on purging my material items in order to remove the clutter from my life and add meaning in other ways. From time to time, I reflect not on my trip but what the meaning of success is and what the magic token is that will make my life feel fulfilled at the end of it. For some it is holding their first child in their arms, for others it’s having a great love in their life. There are also those that yearn to create something new to share with the world whether it be a craft, business or volunteering their time to those in need. While travel certainly filled a lot of what was missing in my life, I still yearn for more.

Globe Photo

When looking at my life in financial terms right now, success is far from achieved. Yet, I am not tethered to society’s norm. I don’t wake to an alarm clock and trudge off to a job I don’t enjoy. I no longer sit in a drab cubicle and complete projects that have little meaning. I went on a job interview and for the first time, walked into it carefree and with no nervousness. The end result didn’t matter to me because I was happy where I was. I’ve explored parts of Michigan I have never seen, have a sense of accomplishment and joy from the the photography work I do and still feel a connection to the readers on my blog that sometimes write me. In many ways I am free, and as a friend put it, no longer plugged into the Matrix.

Tunnel of Trees

Coming home and exploring the wonderful state I live in made me appreciate how truly special it is. I traveled to the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan during the hot summer days and gazed at stars during the nights. Camping under the familiar constellations, kayaking around lighthouses, hiking cliff-lined trails and driving through tunnels of trees all filled me with a great sense of connection to this place I call home. After a splurge of summer scenery and a reset of my inner travel clock, I’m setting off once more this winter.

Bike Path

Up next is a trip starting in Nepal, traversing the country of Bhutan and ending in India. It will be a much smaller journey in regards to time, but I think one of the biggest trips in regards to what I will take away from it. Another change on this new adventure is that I will not be traveling solo this time. It will be great to finally be able to share my experiences with someone along the path and also provide my mother with a bit of relief as I go to these far off destinations with someone by my side. While my family wishes for me to travel to “normal” places or to just stay home for good, they weren’t surprised by the news of a new trip so soon. The world is a big place and I’ve only scratched the surface. As long as I’m able to there will always be a new place to explore, a new culture to experience and a place in me willing to grow along this journey called life.

Bhutan

Photo of Bhutan by amivitale/Pinterest.

17 Comments

  1. Celeste Roe says

    Very thoughtful post Sheri. It’s good to hear how you’ve been doing, and that you’ve got another trip planned.
    You are.still on a new path. Keep the faith and enjoy!
    Love
    Celeste

  2. Feroz says

    Hi Sheri,

    I love your photos and thought they would sell like hot cakes. I was going to have my own art exhibit at the Troy Art show. Good thing I didn’t. No one buys art these days.

    I think you will have wonderful pictures from Nepal, Bhutan and India. When people ask me where are you from I often tell them, 17 miles from the southwest corner of Nepal in a city called Pilibhit, in the foothills of the Himalayas. There has been a lot of change in my life too, from Pilibhit, India, to Hyderabad, Pakistan to Troy, MI. I am happiest here surrounded by my children and grand children.

    We were supposed to get together for coffee but it never happened. If you are ever in the metro Detroit area, send me a note.

    Take care Sheri and have a wonderful life. You deserve it.

  3. Dawn Campbell says

    Sharing your adventures gives the rest of us a little more incentive to follow our own path. Those of us with an autonomous nature can find fulfillment in exploring what this life offers us, with or without someone along for validation. Seeing and experiencing all these places is priceless, you have your whole life to ascertain financial stability.

  4. Leo Kennedy says

    Thank you for that Sheri, I know what you mean.
    Best of luck in Nepal etc.
    Leo

  5. Irene says

    So happy to hear from you with all your beautiful words and pictures. You are amazing Sheri and you are also blessed with a wonderful Mom and Dad and family . Most exciting to hear that you will get to share your next trip with someone that sound to be special 🙂 I’m so happy I met you and got to be a part to your travels and your words.

    for me I am with your friend Feroz..happiest with my spouse and kids and grandkids…isn’t life grand. love you

  6. Sheri — this is a beautiful and thought-provoking post. (I will never understand why you think you are not a great writer, because you truly are.) I would love to get together with you before you go and catch up….I am excited to hear that you are also not traveling alone anymore — either oversees or here at home. 🙂 Miss you.

  7. Phyllis Hartwick says

    Hi Sheri. You have an amazing spirit. You enthrall me with your words. I too will worry less, that you are not traveling alone. God bless you on your travels. Keep us poated as it is truly an education for us all🤗 Phyllis

  8. Janel Briggs says

    You’ve well and truly got the travel bug! I cannot wait to see your pictures from Nepal and India!! Lovely seeing what you’ve been up to. Thank you for filling my office walls with beautiful imagery. Your etsy shop is awesome Xo

  9. Sheri…I’ve read this post about 6 times…literally…read this to Kemuel as well and we couldn’t agree more with your renewed mindset. The life we live is so short and short lived – void of fullness to the point where we believe with strong conviction that the latest invention, gadget, person, place will fill this void of curiosity and being ‘present’. I am so elated to read your posts and spinning with internal excitement with this one…as we are preparing for our ‘great transitional adventures’ as well. May you be encouraged to know you are not alone. May you have open doors and arms to shelter you.
    & May the stars and your heart always guide you to your true home.

    Much Love!

    Kemuel & Emily
    P.S. We WILL be in touch! Our international journeys may just cross cobble stone paths. xo

    • Aww. Thanks Em! So nice to hear from you and so excited you are going on a journey as well. I look forward to hearing about it!

  10. JUNE HUCHINGSON says

    THIS IS THE TRIP, SHERI! THIS IS THE LIFE CHANGING ONE.
    WELL, ACTUALLY, THEY ALL ARE.
    BUT, THIS ONE … THIS ONE WILL BE VERY SPECIAL.
    CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOUR PHOTOS AND
    READ YOUR DESCRIPTIONS OF BOTH YOUR INNER WORLDS AND OUTER.
    LOVE TO YOU,
    JUNE

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