Where’s the Wine??

No one told Jeanne or me about the post traumatic traveling-the-world stress we’d experience when we got home–or, about the fact that we’d need therapy to get back into the swing of normal life.  Self-medication with Argentinian Malbec has seemingly done the trick for me.

Wine and chips with guac could really solve the majority of the world's problems

Wine and chips with guac could really solve the majority of the world’s problems

Of course I’m only joking….. kind of.

Last Saturday, I went for dinner and wine at Jeanne’s apartment; it was the first time we had seen one another since our tearful goodbye at the Rio airport on December 22nd, when she headed back to New York and I stayed behind in Brazil after deciding to extend my trip.  Our reunion was full of emotion; we have experienced something so unique with one another, and through the thousands of miles traveled, countless hours spent, numerous champagnes sipped and multiple half-asleep plane documentaries filmed, we developed an inexplicable bond.

Taken our final night in Rio together, before our journey together came to a close and Jeanne headed back to New York.

Taken our final night in Rio together, before our journey together came to a close and Jeanne headed back to New York.

She and I talked and chuckled about our adventures– like the day we were in transit for 35 hours, not knowing what time zone we were in and not caring, drinking wine on a Business Class Lufthansa flight as we reclined our chairs into beds and laughed at the beauty of this crazy thing called life.

Our  first toast on the flight from NYC to Rome

Our first toast on the flight from NYC to Rome

Champagne toast from Lisbon to Rio

Champagne toast from Lisbon to Rio

Sleepy travelers from Rome to Beijing

Sleepy travelers from Rome to Beijing..early morning flight but the champagne was still flowing!

Delirious travelers laughing about our "Tips" while in one of the 3 German airports that day going from Mumbai to Lisbon

Delirious travelers laughing about our “Dirty Tips” (inside joke) while in one of the 3 German airports that day going from Mumbai to Lisbon

Just flat out losing it in the midst of exhaustion and happy deliriousness.

Just flat out losing it in the midst of happy exhaustion.

After an experience such as this, it takes some time to settle back into everyday life again.  I’ve realized that I’m not even settling back into the life that existed B.T.R.G., ie, Before The Roaming Gnome.  My life has been altered.  I am in the process of figuring out this new mental and emotional reality.  Life will never be the same as before, as the way that I have seen the world and what I desire to create in it has changed.  I have changed.

I left Jeanne’s that evening in a flood of emotion and walked from 77th and 2nd Avenue all the way home near 20th St. and 8th Avenue.  If you know New York, you know that was quite a walk: 56 blocks south and crossing over half of Manhattan from East to West. Soon after I left her place I passed The Surrey Hotel, which served as the starting point of our trip around the world in New York.

Sitting in the Surrey in NYC the morning we were leaving to begin our global adventure!

Sitting in the Surrey in NYC the morning we were leaving to begin our global adventure!

Our final morning in New York before we departed to Rome, I went for a long run through Central Park.  During it, I had strong feelings of positive anticipation; I knew my life was about to change as the December chill hit my cheeks.  It was the deep knowledge that becomes familiar to the soul right before it knows it’s going to experience something of magnitude.  Just 40 days later, walking past that same hotel felt like a surreal dream.  Having been to 6 countries on 4 continents during that short period of time, it was difficult to process it all, especially now that it was over.  Completed.  Finito.  The river of life continues to flow, and what was *just* upstream was now flowing over rocks downstream, making its way out to the ocean.

I continued and walked through Times Square until I walked all the way home, thankful for this complex city to return to and for the life that I have here in New York.  I love this city.  I love that there is chaos and insanity and messiness and that it’s not predictable or orderly all of the time.  I enjoy the edginess and magnetic energy of New York and that I get to connect with all different types of people.  It felt good to walk through this place that I love so much and get to know my life here again.

Walking through Times Square

Walking through Times Square

Overcome with gratitude and thoughtful emotion on my way home

Overcome with gratitude and thoughtful emotion on my way home

The city lights danced as I continued on, and a peace washed over me as I saw how life flows together so beautifully; a journey sometimes comes full circle, simply so we can take a step back and have a moment to pause– and in doing so, receive its lessons.

Carpe Diem.

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2 Responses to Where’s the Wine??

  1. Stephanie Johnston says:

    Yeah, just so proud of you Ashley. Look what you’ve done…you’re just this sweet, young lady from little ol’ Richmond, TX, yet you’re living it up BIG! I love that you’ve had the courage and the will to make your dreams a reality. You inspire me, you really do. Thank you for that! SO happy for you.

    • Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing! Those words mean a lot to me, truly. Traveling and having new and challenging experiences bring so much inspiration to my life and heart, so knowing that my words and experiences can bring inspiration to someone else brings me joy. Thanks again- would love to see you at some point! Outside of FB, it’s been a long time!

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