Unplanned but fortuitous: I dined and reunited this evening with Team Grupo Do-It. This Seattle gathering was comprised of the majority of the 2010 Costa Rica crew, so named for a mammoth hardware & construction store we passed on a weekend outing. Yes, the store was called “Grupo Do-It.” How could we not be inspired?
One year ago today I landed in Seattle after 160 days traveling Latin America and 173 days away from Seattle. Happy Returniversary, Carlos. Thanks, Drew.
Good then, appropriate, that I saw Grupo Do-It. (I am endlessly drawn into the circular and cyclical.) Our fearless leader, Eric, was not in attendance tonight: he moved to Palo Alto with Carla last week. I settled in Seattle, eventually, and Eric and Carla left. Who'd have guessed?
One year ago today I had just finished a funny week in Ecuador with Eric. Funny in that the weather and surf were poor and in that Montañita was a weird and unhealthy little beach town. One week was sufficient—I wanted to be done traveling. I wrote End of the Line in Montañita, just prior to my return. Still, I had no idea, then, that I would I stay in Seattle. What did I expect? What did I want?
My personal journal entries from June 13th, 2010 reveal much, but not all. I tried to predict how I would feel in my return, how people would view me, how I would adjust. I reiterated some bit of philosophy constructed in the course of travel:
The world is larger and more complex and wondrous than I can ever hope to understand or experience fully, but I can find love and beauty and connection anywhere, all the same.
I always repeat words in my head; I construct fantastical conversations and act out improbable situations. A phrase can become an ephemeral mantra, unforgettable in some period but then lost completely if not inscribed. So was my consideration of complexity and wonder and so attached to the process and result of my tattoo in Chile. Sometimes I cannot lose a lyric. (Every day I see my dream.)
Lately I twist no philosophy but write poems about carrots, the original never sent to its inspiration but instead lost and deconstructed. Once, “earthbound dreaming ... of the fully bounty of summer.” Now, “chop chop chop chop, fuck you.” Oh, silly me.
For the first time, in this very moment, I realized that I know I will be in Seattle one year from today. Yes, yes, no one ever truly knows anything. And maybe I'll be out of town at a wedding or Taiwanese dog convention. But I want to be living in Seattle in a year, no matter the status of any carrots or the sunshine in Costa Rica. My dog likes it here. I like it here.
Team Grupo Do-It asked me, over our delicious Ethiopian cuisine, whether I preferred these last twelves months or those prior. I didn't pause too long in consideration. No matter the lack of grand adventure and passport stamps, I preferred the last year. I have been happier; I have had less emotional upheaval. I believe—I hope—that my life bends toward a more peaceful and tenable happiness. I could find happiness anywhere, perhaps, but I would like to build happiness here.
Welcome home, Carlos. Many happy returns, Drew.