How did I get here? I don't know. It's hard to say. Sometimes my life moves so fast that I can't keep up and when I look back at the past six months that's exactly how I feel: unable to keep up. I feel unable to find the words to describe the journey, that same journey that I need to describe to fulfill my commitment to sharing it with you.
As a writer, I try to understand not just the world around me, but also the world within me. But how can I explain to you what to me feels unexplainable?
How can I describe the landscape outside the window when my ship is going a thousand miles an hour?
Perhaps that's the challenge of all writers, to keep up with the endless flow when it arrives, to master the skill of deduction, deciding what gets shared and what gets left out, like a detective removing all possible suspects until only the best candidates remain.
This writing is evidence of my attempt to put aside for just a moment the amazingness of what has happened, to pull the emergency brake on my life and slow down just enough to get this message across to you so that I can stop looking backward for answers around how to best convey this.
I don't want to be looking backward, especially not when this thousand-mile-per-hour ship is about to get upgraded to warp-speed. I need to be looking forward, and I want to be looking forward, and sharing that forward journey with you.
All the best journeys in life are lifelong journeys, those adventures that don't really have a clear beginning and whose ending appears as a climax that does not lead to an ending but instead undergoes a metamorphosis that by some play of magic recreates a beginning where there was no ending.
This is my attempt to explain that magical recreation of a beginning without an end.
Six months ago I was a solo-traveler, not really sure of where my life was going. Today, I'm a husband to a wife, with a daughter on the way.
Yes, you heard that right. If that sounds hard to believe, trust me when I say that it's just as strange for me to write.
I met my wife Anna, also a solo-traveler, and we connected as unexpectedly as we started a family. Both of us believe the universe has a reason for everything. But that belief is equally matched, perhaps paradoxically, with a shared belief that our destinies are not pre-written, that we decide and choose our reality.
We're now learning to embrace roles that neither of us ever thought or imagined we'd need to embrace at any point in our lives. We had both accepted that such roles were simply not in the cards for us. How wrong we were. But that's okay. We're both adaptable, a trait that any solo traveler will tell you is an essential skill.
So how do two solo travelers, whose love for travel is only matched by a respect and reverence for family, start a family of their own? How do two people who feel uncomfortable using the terms 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' find a way to embrace each other as 'husband' and 'wife' and prepare themselves for spending a lifetime together? How do two independent individuals who love doing things on their own come together to share the responsibility of bringing a new life into this world?
I haven't been writing or publishing very much for the past few months because I don't like skirting around issues or hiding things. I don't like writing for the sake of writing. If I'm going to write and share something with you, it needs to be real and true, an actual representation of what I'm going through. I knew that I could not honestly do that until I announced this because nearly everything I've been thinking about over the past four months, as you might imagine, has been thought about against the backdrop of this new and incredible shift in my life.
One thing that I'm struggling with right now is figuring out where my boundaries are when it comes to writing and publishing. I don't yet know when I will announce all of this to the rest of the world (i.e., outside of this journal). In addition to you, I've only told family and a few close friends.
How much of my private life -- how much of my family life -- am I willing to put out there? On one hand I've always been very transparent about almost everything: my finances, my travel schedule, my thoughts and feelings on life. However, at the same time I'm also a very private person and I value my privacy, even if that privacy is only confined to a few thoughts in my brain.
Until now, its been easy to determine what I want to share and what I don't. But now I have two other people to think about. I'm grateful that Anna is carefree, perhaps even more so than me, so I have no doubt that whatever I choose to share she'll be okay with me sharing. However that doesn't help me figure out what, if anything, should remain private.
I'm a writer who writes about things that are close to his heart and it's important to me that I continue to write that way. I intentionally created this journal so that I would have a place to share the very things that I might not otherwise want to share, at least not immediately, with the public, and this journal was created as a place to share those things with a smaller group of people who wanted to support my work.
So, at least initially, I will start sharing a lot more here with you through the journal.
Anna and I intend to keep traveling once our daughter is a year old. We want to spend 6-8 months every year living in a different country, picking up the culture, learning a bit of the local language, and perhaps finding ways that we can contribute to the local economy. (Anna has aspirations of starting an orphanage in southeast Asia and she's finishing up her Master's degree in Non-Profit Management.)
We're both aspiring minimalists with a distaste for consumerism. We believe strongly in reusing and maintaining things over throwing out and replacing them and these are values we want to pass on to our child.
I might make it sound like we've got this all figured out, but I know that there will be many challenges along the way. We've already faced several. But like any solo-traveler, and with someone else in the middle now for whom we need to drop our stubborn individuality and think beyond ourselves, we remain adaptable.
Am I any more sure where my life is going? No, not really. But it's sure about to get a lot more real.
I'm convinced that nature has a way of signaling big changes and that if you pay attention you can read those signs and see things coming. I certainly didn't see any of this coming, but I do see the signs now when I look back. It all began when I was in Darwin, Australia, almost ten months ago.
But let me stop there. This journal entry is already getting a bit long and I need to add more wood to the fire. I'm camping with my dad in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the weekend; this was, I think, the emergency brake that I needed to articulate all these thoughts in a coherent manner and get them out into a format that I can share with you.
My dad is already asleep. The fire is getting low and the cold is creeping in. My fingers are getting stiff on the keyboard.
Now that I've made this announcement you can expect a stream of journal entries to follow. There are a few other things I've been getting interested in that I've wanted to share here but haven't because I felt a responsibility to share this first. One of those things is my growing interest in Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency that I realized is exactly what was missing back when I wrote my Income Ethics series two years ago.
Life is an adventure, and just as I was starting to feel that perhaps my adventure was missing a little something, it got a lot more interesting. I want to start sharing this journey with you and I hope that you'll join me for the ride.