Goodbyes are hard. I usually try to replace them with see you laters and until next times. But sometimes they linger in the shadows until you have no choice but to pull the trigger. To say that single word that rips you apart from the inside out as you open your mouth to articulate that final thought. These past few weeks I’ve said a lot of goodbyes. Each one of them dug deep at my heart; the memories, the life lessons and the love. All gone in the blink of an eye.

Goodbye to a lover, of whom I thought I’d marry. 

Goodbye to a town that inspired me and sheltered me. 

Goodbye to friends that I will likely never see again.  

Goodbye to a house that gave me the best views Ashland had to offer. 

Goodbye to an era of my life that shaped me at the core. 

A part of me is sad, really painfully sad. It takes every ounce of strength I have to not spend my days listening to melodramatic acoustic music while flipping through old photos. I long to bask in the rolling hills of Ashland for all of eternity. I want to wake up in the morning with a warm loving body, his body, by my side. I want to drink beer and sing disney songs with my friends from college. But I can’t because I’ve said that THAT word. Goodbye. But those things aren’t gone. They are with me all the time. Little pieces of the people who meant so much to me, the places that I’ve loved and the experiences that I’ve cherished; they are a part of me now. And that’s what keeps me going.

I’m at a pivotal point of my existence because this is the first time in my entire life that I have been bound to nothing. No school, no bills, no house, no belongings, no boyfriend, no plans. No responsibilities other than pursuing my own happiness. It’s liberating and empowering. All I have are my hopes and dreams. I’ve wrote about the conundrum of freedom before, but I haven’t had real freedom until now. And let me tell you, it tastes great. Sure, it’s a bit overwhelming to have no idea where I will be in a year, but how exciting?! I could be anywhere, doing anything. As badly as my recent goodbyes hurt, I’m starting to acknowledge that I now have an abundance of room for new hellos.

Hello to independence and self-love.

Hello to new mountains and rivers and sunsets.

Hello to new nourishing friendships.

Hello to sleeping under the stars.

Hello to a new era of omnipotence and resilience. 

Each experience, relationship and adventure are a part of my story. They form my foundation and are permanently engrained in my being. And I’m aware, now more than ever before, that openness to change and the unknown is the greatest gift I can give myself. The world is my classroom now. Every place that I live, each new friendship I make and every lover that I kiss will be a new chapter added to my book- providing depth and meaning to this crazy life.

I’m embracing this next stage of my 20’s and can’t wait to see how it unfolds. We all know I hate plans, but I’ve got some pretty sweet ideas for this next year. After the commercial rafting season, I will be heading down to the Grand Canyon to raft the Colorado for 23 days. I’ve then got 3 months before my best friends wedding in Mexico. My plan for those 3 months is to focus entirely on self-growth and health. This will likely pan out by returning to Seattle to live with my parents (save some buckaroos), meditating daily, working on the business side of my travel blog, pursuing outdoor endeavors and making some serious human connections. After Kelsie’s wedding, I will be using Mexico as a jumping off point for a Central American adventure. Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua are all on the list. I’ll make my way through these countries in search of rivers, mountains and oceans; seeking raw cultural interactions and the best food that latin america has to offer. I’ve got no plans of when I will return and I like it that way.

Yes, goodbyes are hard. But the adventures that await are more powerful than we could possibly know!

“…then, she began to breathe, and live, and every moment took her to a place where goodbyes were hard to come by. She was in love, but not in love with someone or something, she was in love with her life. And for the first time, in a long time, everything was inspiring.” R. M. Drake


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