Wednesday, February 23, 2011

on going, going, going.... introspective!

You have heard it before. It's time to go; I am off once again.

Each time I enter a new phase in life, I tend to look back and write about nostalgia filling my soul, and memories fresh in my heart. I tend to dwell on what I leave behind and less on the path before me. I say my goodbyes. I give my thanks. I tip my hat to those who inspired and changed me. I usually deem it necessary to write an epitaph, if you will, of the era of my life coming to a close. Seemingly yesterday I left Moscow for Seattle; already this season has reached its end. The months fly by, whether we wish them away or not. Next week, I am off to New York. Next month, I am off to Europe. Tonight, however, I am in awe of what this year has taught me, and what each year continues to unfold within me.

I've wondered what purpose memories serve, and why they have the ability to move us so deeply. Why is it that something as simple as a song or a face can bring you back to a place you hadn't thought of in months? What is it within us that reaches out for years gone by? Nostalgia upsets me at times. What right has it to make me discontent with the present? Why does it pull at the strings of my heart? Who gave it that authority? The mind boggles, really. My mind does, at least.

Upon Nostalgia's arrival every so often, I physically ache for the past. I long for people I am missing, people with whom I have disconnected or lost touch, or entire seasons of life that are no more. Some of my greatest friendships have passed. Most of the people I've met since childhood have no bearing on who I am today. Despite the wonders of modern technology and the advent of social networking, I remain suprisingly distant from the majority of those I've encountered on my journey thusfar, at least beyond the superficial layers.

This whole arrangement strikes me as odd, really. We invest ourselves in one another, whether in relationships, intimacies, or friendships, while knowing someplace in the back of our minds that parting ways is inevitable. As dark as this sounds, what purpose does it all serve then? One definition of 'stupidity' is doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different outcome. Are we inherently stupid, or is there a reason beneath the obvious?

I think the answer - for me, at least - is this: My most prominent memories are often those where I showed my true character, rose high above, found success in lieu of defeat, and been the greatest possible version of myself. My greatest friends in life have answered my midnight calls, laughed with me in the beautiful times, held me when dreams shattered, and challenged me in the meantimes. Whether or not they are near now makes no difference - they mattered. I think perhaps memories and nostalgia exist not to give us sadness, or longing for what is gone. I think they are there to remind us that life consists of seasons. Some seasons will inspire us immensely; some will be uphill climbs. All are essential to shaping us.

Maybe moments and people resurface in our minds to bring us to a more full understanding of the here and now. Maybe we lose life's lessons if we take them out of context. No moment stands alone. Like dominoes falling one after another, the beginning ultimately begets the end result. Even if it's difficult to connect the dots, life makes those connections on its own.

It has been some time since I have written with the microscope facing my heart instead of politics, my travel plans, or any number of superficial things. That being the case, it took me three hours to get this blasted thought process from my brain and into black and white. Apologies for any nonsense, inconclusions, or improper grammar. I did my best, really, I did. All of this was to say - I am thankful to this season. I am thankful to last season. I am especially thankful for the season that awaits me... a one-way ticket across an ocean with plenty of lessons and inspirations on the other side.

In any case... onward!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our Diabolical Plan. Mission: Earth.

The die has been cast, my friends!

Notice has been given to our landlord, passports are ready, temporary jobs have been found til March, tax returns are in our bank accounts, cheap tickets have been found, and all wheels are set in motion for what is bound to be a life-changing adventure. It begins next month, when we will road trip across the states to see Kurt's family in New York. From there we will depart into the great, mysterious, unexplored realms of - you guessed it - Europe! We will boldly go into this uncharted territory, and put into motion (starts 'Jaws' theme) 'Kurt and Dayna's Diabolical Plan.' We are quitting our habit of cigarettes using Quit for Life over the next few weeks, eliminating that expense and health risk as well.

We want to start in Europe, working our way across the continent in an easterly direction toward Greece and ultimately Turkey. A flight to Southeast Asia may be in order from there, depending on many factors including who we meet along the way. We plan on a low-maintenence, no-frills experience on a mission to enrich our lives meeting as many beautiful people as possible, soaking in the local cultures and languages as we go. We will use Couchsurfing while in the cities, working on organic farms and homestays for room and board in the countryside along our way. We plan on visiting many of you that have graced our couches and lives over the last year and a half, and are so excited to see you again.

With Kurt's site-building expertise, we will soon have an amazing and aesthetically-pleasing travel weblog up and running, including photos and videos of our travels, stories from the road, photos of our hosts and host families and a map that shows where we have been and are planning to go. You can subscribe to the feed, comment using your Facebook account, see our beaming faces, or donate as little as $1 at a time to buy us our daily cup of joe if you so desire. Expect titles of my blogs to be interesting things you will enjoy and laugh at, like: 'Learning to Milk a Cow in Croatia,' 'Hooping in Hungary,' or 'Failing to Speak a Local Language While in Search of a Bathroom.'

We are excited. Stay tuned for more updates and ways we can keep you involved!
Much love.
Dayna and Kurt

ALSO, apparently diabolical means evil or relating to the devil. I thought it meant spectacularly clever. Apparently I was misinformed. This should read 'Our Spectacularly Clever and In No Way Related to Evil Plan'. Just throwing that out there.