For quite a while now I’ve been intending to draft up some detailed description of my trip to Washington and Montana this past August. I feel comfortable now admitting that that might not ever come to be, but trust me: it was perspective shifting. Instead, I’m going to go all sentimental on you and gush about how truly grateful I’m feeling these days - a lot of which has resulted from that trip.
It’s been a tumultuous year, and in particular a really difficult summer. I knew transitioning back to life in America after 2+ years of Peace Corps would be turbulent - but I had no idea the level that it would, well, level me. Honestly, life here has been pretty jarring, disorienting, and generally overwhelming. I’ve been in the middle of trying to figure out what’s going to come next for many months now, and back in July I decided that a trip could prove to be both restorative and enlightening.
I had booked my plane tickets sort of on impulse - it was a period of ten days or so during which flights were the cheapest - my flights were in and out of Seattle. I stayed with a friend on Vashon Island for the first few days - soaked up farm life, went swimming in the Sound every afternoon, and had restorative conversations with friends both old and new.
Before leaving Minneapolis for Seattle I tried to come up with some ways to fill the second half of my trip - I was planning to visit some state parks in WA to have some restoration and reflection time. As I didn’t have a car I was limited to public transportation. Wallace Falls State Park is easily accessible by public transit and hiking, so I added it to my itinerary.
Still having some days to fill I posted a question on Ask MetaFilter, a phenomenal resource for those of you who haven’t heard of it. Balonious responded to my question with the (generally deemed crazy) advice of: take the Amtrak overnight from Seattle to Glacier, hike for a day, then take the Amtrak back to Seattle to catch my flight to Minneapolis. He had suggested it for a quick weekend trip, but I had a few more days to fill so I extended it to 4.5 days in Glacier itself during which I would both camp and hike.
My Glacier trip changed me, in a way. And more than in just the way that expanding your world by seeing new places does. It truly broadened me and my mind, healed my heart and helped it believe that it, too, would be able to expand again someday soon. I met some truly inspiring people on that trip, and saw some of the wildest and most beautiful vistas of my life.
And all because I posted a question on an internet forum on a whim!
Earlier in July I had the same experience with the MN Runblrs - I came across a post about a 5K that I had registered for at the last minute, and met up with Heather, Katie, and Jason. Later we had a full meet-up and I met Bob, Sheila, Jordan, Melinda, and Dale. Since then I’ve been so inspired by the sense of community and camaraderie that exists - and all on this funny little blogging site! It’s kept me accountable for getting miles in, and has kept me transparent and humble about my splits. More than anything it’s driven home this point: community is out there, it’s not too difficult to find, and with it comes support, motivation, and inspiration.
I didn’t expect that two simple internet posts would turn into these things, both of which have shaped this summer for me in different ways. Thanks for the experiences! I have nothing but gratitude for how all of this has grown.