Travel Light

"He would travel happily must travel light." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It is almost the end of 2012.  My aim for 2013 is to travel light.

I have always wondered why the last quote of the week, "Not all those who wander are lost," struck me. After a week of reflection, I've realized I've been wandering with a heavy heart-  physically, spiritually, and emotionally, not knowing what to find.  There are days when I feel lost, trying my utmost to glide through the unpredictable wind, taking me to a particular destination. Homeward bound. I allowed myself to accept each emotion that surfaces, good or bad.   

We often hear this phrase, "There's a purpose for everything." The pain and anger of this truth sometimes make me want to scream, "Seriously?"

In my attempt to find my true vocation, this trip deemed necessary.  Whenever I stop to think about how one situation lead to another, it amazes me how our choices and decisions shape our path.   Life orchestrated events to happen - from the day I found out my youngest sister was getting married, the call to go home to face and confront the love and (often) hate relationship with my mother, reuniting with my brother and sisters whom I love so dearly, visiting grandparents, and visiting my father's tombstone after a decade. Yet, we always have a choice whether to give in to fear by avoiding or seizing the moment.

If I have to summarize this trip, beyond the adventures that I have featured here,  my year-end journey was about making peace with the past.  Clearing baggage. 

I have carried this weight unconsciously for years, affecting my decisions and the way I viewed life.  

Throughout the years, I have come to understand what made my father leave us. It wasn't me. I worked  tirelessly transforming into an overachiever, thinking I wasn't enough and for some period I thought perhaps, I didn't deserve love unless I prove myself worthy, measured by my self-imposed level of perfection.  With an epiphany, I saw he simply had his own issues, separate from myself. Sadly, he passed away before we even had a chance to really get to know him.  For years, I struggled with that, with grief and anger, reflected on my uneasiness with authority. It took years with God's grace for me to heal and finally let go.  

One sunny day before my sister's wedding, I visited his grave, brought him flowers,and lit a candle. I imagined him there. I wholeheartedly accepted and understood.  I have reached forgiveness. I welcomed peace.

Releasing myself from bitterness allows me to transform
I also had the opportunity to finally face and talk to my mother during Christmas Eve, after all that's said and done. I've come to accept that despite her imperfections, she still is my mother. I will never be who I am now, if it weren't for how she was. When shadows of the past stir up anger in my heart, I think about how these situations have molded me to become stronger and aware. These life experiences allow me to choose to be different. Everything that happened was for a reason. My Mother and I have reached an understanding. She prefers to keep her distance.  At least, we all celebrated Christmas together as a family, complete, after many years, for that I'm grateful.

I am proud of what my brother and sisters have turned out to be.  I took on my father's role when he passed away and had glimpses of them growing up. Now, my brother has courageously stepped up to continue this role, as head of the family.

I am fortunate to have a very strong bond with my siblings. We all drew strengths from each other when we were little and motivated each other to become our best selves despite difficult situations.  We have always been united.

Being with them this month, made me realize how much I've missed, living abroad, and that we're now headed in different directions.  I'm happy for them and sad at the same time.  I never realized it was the same feeling they felt, watching me leave the nest a decade ago to pursue my dreams. May they all find their happiness and calling. May we always be united wherever we go.

I've realized I'm blessed with true friends that I've known for years.  Despite the distance, they're always there during highs and lows. For that, I'm forever grateful.

I explored my country, like a tourist and I've come to appreciate it, its beauty, its ruggedness and strength.  Despite the number of trials that have come its way marked by typhoons, poverty and disasters (I was fortunate to have escaped one), the smiles beyond adversity and child-like appreciation for all things simple are remarkable. 

Today, I'm traveling back to Dubai.  My aim is to start 2013 with a clean slate.  Leaving the heavy luggage of the past, disappointments, broken expectations,  the should-haves behind. I have no regrets. I've made great memories during this trip. I'm taking with me the love of family, friends and a renewed relationship with my country.

Is there something you wish to let go and leave behind in 2012?

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!
To those who seek, may you find what you're looking for.
To the ones who crave for a break, I wish you all a lot of new adventures for 2013.
Wishing you all good health, many many blessings, happiness and love.

Bonne année!

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  1. Happy New Year Arni! Wishing you all the best for the new year.
    Love the quote and I'm glad you have made peace with your past. My relationship with my dad wasn't good. We tolerated each other..more like strangers but the past 2-3 years I have gotten to know him a bit more and understand the person that he is. We've become really close now which I'm glad.

  2. Happy 2013 to you too Arni!

    That's a really beautiful post to read and I'm happy that you've learnt and experienced so much in this trip. Sometimes distance helps us to see things from a new angle and we come to understand other's circumstances and motivations.

    I hope that this new year will be at least equally good to you and that you keep on travelling and pursuing your dreams.

    Hugs, Irene

  3. This is definitely something I need to work on as well, I need to let go - particularly of 2012 because it doesn't serve me any more!

    Here's to traveling light.

  4. Happy New Year Arni! Fingers crossed that 2013 is a wonderful year for you…baggage free! Your posts always resonate with me and I find myself blinking and thinking, wow, that is soooo me! It’s amazing that 2 women from completely opposite ends of the world can be on such similar journeys. It’s fantastic to hear that you have made peace with your past, I guess this has sort of prompted me to start looking into doing the same!

  5. Arni, I commend you for writing this brave post. Cheers to another new beginning.

    I'm a big believer in traveling light.

    After publishing my first novel, I realize I need to let go of my literary baby and let it make its way into the world organically. Yes, I need to build the foundation...but after that it is out of my hands.


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