Transitions: My Passion Pit

Me in Jericoacoara, Brazil

Welcome to the official relaunch of Hello, Meet World which was converted from Rapidweaver to WordPress by Simon Fairbairn an awesome web designer over at Line In Web Design. Hello, Meet World will serve as my individual travel blog from now on.

I wrote my first travel blog yesterday after over 7 months of traveling. Pretty pathetic huh? Oh well! Welcome back to the travel blog world Jenneil!

I realized while writing the post last night that I feel like I just started traveling. Let me explain…

While on the road the past seven months, I lost myself in my head. I had stuff stolen, had a significant computer crash, realized I couldn’t keep up with Nomad Courier on the road, & couldn’t even file my taxes due to the computer crash. As a result, I felt so overwhelmed with being behind, I gave up since there was no hope of catching up while trying to enjoy the daily experiences of world travel.

I imagine every traveler either loves or loathes Eat, Pray, Love. I originally watched Eat, Pray, Love in 3 installments because I couldn’t really get into it. I finished my third installment last month while on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand on a rainy day. What better to do right? But, watching a movie over the course of a year really doesn’t lend itself to understanding the message of a film, now does it?

When I was on my way back to Koh Phi Phi Sunday, I had a 12 hour layover. Yuck, right… So, with 12 hours to kill, I decided to watch the entire thing from start to finish. In the end, I just had to know what happened between Liz & Felipe. So I ran upstairs and immediately bought both books, Eat, Pray, Love and Committed: A Love Story. I dove immediately into Committed of course. Yeah, do it in reverse Jenneil. Why not? You’ve done much of this trip in reverse anyway…

After purchasing the books, I was walking through BKK in the wee hours of the morning with my iPod buds in my ears as Chasing Pavements by Adele began playing. I suddenly felt alive again. Mind you, this was also the first time I listened to my iPod music since I started traveling. It felt like I was in a movie and the song was a soundtrack in the background. It was as if the music was echoing off the high ceilings and distant walls. At that moment, I finally understood why people walk/run everywhere with music strapped to their heads, it’s as if they are constantly in their own movie. I guess that is what life is really about – living out our own movies, our own dreams.

Tonsai Bay – Koh Phi Phi

Today, on the ferry back to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, I decided a background soundtrack was again in order for the journey. And, since I quickly destroyed Committed yesterday at the airport, I pulled out Eat, Pray, Love. With tunes in my head & words in my eyes, I was in heaven. While reading Eat, Pray, Love, I was moved when Elizabeth Gilbert said:

“…travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me though. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love

And, originally, travel did barf all over me in many ways, but volunteering in Cambodia awoke within me a feeling of peace I cannot describe. Helping others in Cambodia healed my psyche I guess. Something clicked… I found my self-confidence again. Mix that with the uncanny ability I have had lately to make friends with nearly everyone I meet. And, all it took was making a conscious effort to wear a smile everyday no matter how much my heart or my head hurt.

Traffic Jam in Pang Na

One day, while riding to the village of Pang Na, it was like euphoria smacked me in the face. Everything made me smile. So much so that my cheeks hurt after the 2 hour ride. I would look at a palm tree & smile. I would look at the family of five on a moto & smile. I would look at the green rice fields & smile… I felt them all smiling back at me and I said to myself life is good… My life is actually pretty damned good.

One would think I would have felt that way when I departed on this world trip in February. One would think I felt I deserved this trip after 2 hard long years of saving and planning. But, I didn’t!

Instead, I’d see pain and poverty as I traveled around the world and think to myself “I don’t deserve more than these people.” And, “What did I do to deserve this ability to travel so much?” All these hard working people, especially those in Cambodia haunted by memories of genocide & continued corruption, deserve this more than I do. It wasn’t until I lived in the village of Pang Na, Cambodia and saw how happy they were each and every day of their lives that things began to click within my heart and soul.

Fresh water well we funded for the 6 kids being raised by their elderly grandparents

In the end, I realized if I wasn’t here, 30 kids wouldn’t learn English this school year, 3 fresh water wells would not have been built providing for about 15 families. For me, giving back everything I possibly could, finally made me OK with splurging a bit and traveling the world. So, for me this trip has really just started.

As the ferry pulled into Tonsai Harbor on Koh Phi Phi today a song by Passion Pit began to play on my iPod. I found it very suiting. Phi Phi is my passion pit! Phi Phi inspires me to write, live, and love. So, stay tuned…

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