Forgive my recent absence, friends. I have just returned from a rather epic adventure, and while I had assumed I would be having all these amazing experiences and feel dazzlingly creative and spend a whole bunch of time writing while I was away, I found the opposite to be true. I spent most of the time just trying to absorb the experiences I was having, let alone to feel creatively inspired by them. I was happy just to be up and awake and energized enough to walk another ten miles that day. Each day I fell into bed utterly exhausted and each morning it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and do it all again. Forget about morning pages or mind maps or blog posts or even journaling about what happened each day. Just having the wherewithal to keep going felt like a triumph.
Don’t get me wrong; I had a fabulous time. I am epically grateful. Hubs and I spend three weeks roaming around Western and Eastern Europe. I celebrated my 40th birthday. We went to a friend’s wedding in Bulgaria. We made new friends in Turkey and Greece and chatted with fellow travelers in Rome. We saw ruins, we browsed museums, we ate plate after plate after plate of new and delicious food. We drank ourselves silly on raki and rakia and wine. We dipped our toes in the Black Sea and rode busses and trains and boats and planes and cars. We made the most of our precious time away from our daily routines in Los Angeles.
It was exhausting.
I have discovered, as a creative person, that it is not merely the experience itself that fuels my creative life. It is the time and space to absorb the lessons of the experience, to process my thoughts and feelings about it, to figure out the take-aways and to discover the absurdities and the funny moments. To see how it has changed me, for the better and for the worse.
I did learn that I need to lose about 20 pounds because the extra weight makes my feet swell in a very uncomfortable way.
I did learn I still don’t much care for lamb or mushrooms or anything anise-flavored.
I did learn that I have a great affinity for the cats of the world (okay, I knew that one already, it was just reinforced).
Beyond those easy things, there is much more to uncover, and I will share those thoughts and experiences in the coming days. I know that getting outside my comfort zone, no matter how exhausting it is, is one of the most important elements of personal growth. But I think it’s going to take a little time in my comfort zone to unearth that wisdom.
Until then, here are some cat pictures from my travels.