We returned from our epic summer journey through Russia, Mongolia, China, and Nepal with a pit-stop in South Korea late last August. I can sincerely say it was one of the more memorable experiences of my life – it was life-changing, it was path-altering, it was a three-month show of everything good that the World has to offer. I was so happy all the time, even when things were going to hell. As long as we were okay, I was happy. That’s all it took. But you and I both know words can’t really describe it, the enormity of it all, and God knows we’ve tried.
I know it’s shocking, but the trip came to an end. Since August, we’ve tried to jump back into the routine as if we were waiting to jump on a moving freight train. Our travels were just too good, our lives at home just too monotonous and comparatively boring. So why not escape? Why not go back to the times we were pining for – the times of freedom, wonder, and exploration? We successfully did this by incessantly reminiscing via every conceivable channel of communication. My personal favorite channel is the one where you are sitting across from me and there’s a bottle of wine between us.
But the sad truth is, we’ve been acting like ninety-year-olds sitting on a Midwestern front porch in three creaking rocking chairs, looking back on life and the times that have been had, smiling. Almost complacent. There’s nothing directly wrong with this, expect maybe the fact that we’re in our early twenties. Even though we’re all years ahead of our peers in terms of emotional/interpersonal, existential, and actual intelligence, would you guys mind if we just calmed the fuck down with the reminiscing? We have decades and decades of life ahead of us! Our lives have just begun! And now, Blake, you want to meet on May 15th to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the beginning of our three-month summer adventure.
If I spent my life celebrating every goddamn experience and adventure and trip that I’d ever been on, I’d be so focused on the past that the present would come and go. We have one go-around in this life, and it goes quickly. If you think I’m going to spend it living in the past, I’d say you don’t know me very well!
So I ask you, I tell you, we need to let go of the trip. Not forget it, mind you. Let go of it. It happened (I still can’t believe it), it was fucking awesome, every day of it, even the days I wanted to strangle you guys in your sleep. But it also ended. Nothing has been able to pry the memory of this trip from our white-knuckled grip. All this means is that we’re too occupied to hold on to something else, something newer and different. We go back to that summer because it’s easy, wonderful, and it feels good. But it’s also unhealthy.
I know it’s just bad right now because we’re bound by responsibilities at home. Flexibility and spontaneity is more difficult here, and our go-to outlet is scanning through photos, drinking chai, and generally daydreaming about a reality realized and now gone. For me, it was fun for a while, but now it’s just sad. I’m informing you now that I’m letting go. I have an exciting year ahead of me and I intend on seeing it, absorbing it, and living in the present, in the moment, so that maybe one day in 2013 I’ll be lucky enough to have to write a letter like this again, calling for the emotional liberation of epic experiences that weigh you down in direct comparison to present realities. I feel fortunate to even be in the position of writing this; it means something so epic, something so loved occurred in our lives, we should feel lucky to consider it lost.
When a loved one dies, you don’t forget them. You shouldn’t forget them. But you should let go of them. It’s the difference of living in the past and accepting that it’s gone. We need to let go to make room for other memories.
If on May 15th, 2011, you were to tell me that I’d write you guys an overdramatic letter in a year’s time regarding the impact of our trip and how we should say goodbye to it, I’d call you madmen. That’s the thing, though. Craziness, unpredictability, and surprise are abound in this life. It’d be a shame if we missed it.