Sunday, October 19, 2008

The high dive.

"This is a stupid idea and I don't want to do it anymore" is the place that I lived yesterday.

Leaving Portland was so hard. I didn't want to do it anymore. It seemed like such a bad idea all of a sudden as I hugged the people I love so much at the train station and walked away from them. That is a moment and a feeling that will live in me forever.
I cried for hours after getting on the train and all the nice people were so concerned and I couldn't even explain. Eventually red wine and whiskey and Xanax helped.
But, I am so so so glad that I chose to ride the train to LA before flying to Quito. The decompression from leaving has been so critical. The room between leaving and arriving. I can't imagine the break that would have occurred in my soul and psyche if I had gotten on a plane and landed in Quito last night. My brain and emotions would have been so fried. 36 hours on the train and a day in LA will be just about right.
I expect the next time I will feel that sense of terror and wonder at the seeming sheer stupidity of this plan will be when I put Mark and Geoff on the plane to leave me in Ecuador. Knowing that I am meeting up with them sure made it easier to keep moving and get on the train. And to not get off it in Salem. And to not get off it in Eugene. And to not get off it in Redding. It crossed my mind every stop for many hours that I could just change my mind and go home. Like when you've climbed up the ladder to the high dive and then you don't want to do it anymore and you could climb back down the ladder? It felt kind of like that. The embarrassment would have sucked so much, but it was an option. For now, I'm still walking to the edge of the board. Determined and terrified and not totally convinced that I'm not going to turn around and climb back down the ladder.
I guess that it is this scary means that it is really worth doing.
Mostly now I'm doing well. I was glad for my travel training over the last years at not being nervous to get off the train and find the subway and then find the hostel in a strange city, at night, carrying all my worldly possessions. I hid my passport and travel money pretty well, figuring that if everything else got stolen, I could still move forward. Glad I don't have to put that to the test.
whew. next year became next month became tomorrow became today. here i am. i'm doing it.


  1. You rule MJ! I have talked with so many people about the romantic notion of checking out of this "ladder climb" - even just for a time - but have not had the courage to do it myself, nor do I know anyone else who has. Always some reason to continue the status quo. You are truly one of a kind. Remarkable. We love you and miss you. Little Rowan (5 months now) says "hola". Mark and Geoff - you guys are always there, having fun, being there for friends in the best of ways. Much love to all'yall - with a tiny pinch of envy. ;) lates - E/D/R

  2. thanks ewan. geoff and i often remenisce (i don´t know how to spell that i guess and am too lazy to look it up)about costa rica. I am soooo lucky that those guys would choose to spend their money and time helping me acclimate to a new life and country. it makes it so much easier having them here. love to you all, mj.

  3. my diving queen.
    i miss you.
    i am thinking of you.
    i love you.
    i am with you.