Missing Arizona. Don’t know why exactly… I miss my car, I miss the remoteness, the mountains, the bar, knowing everyone, my work, the people, my house, the horses and donkeys, the cattle, the familiarity of everything. The quiet. It’s not that I’d rather be there now than here, but I’m just missing it. My drives with Shawna, my crazy times with Whitney, messing with TJ in the kitchen, being around Heather even if we’re in separate rooms… just knowing she was there was a comfort. The freedom of it all. I miss driving around there, too. Down the seven mile dirt road and down the mountain to get anywhere. Being so close to work, which was also my home. It was all the same.
I know that if I were to go back now it wouldn’t be the same, and what I’m looking to feel and find again won’t be there anymore. But even with the knowledge that everything would be different, a part of me is longing to go back. I remember the first time I made the drive through Salt River Canyon to visit my family in Mesa. I had no idea that I was going to pass through a canyon, and all of a sudden I was driving through huge red rock formations, climbing up and down these geological wonders that had been there for hundreds of years, yet were new to me. I drove slowly that first time, taking in the massiveness and beauty of it all, each turn a new discovery. Although there was another road that lead to Mesa that was probably a bit quicker, I always drove through the canyon, being sure to play amazing music that would touch my soul equal to the scenery.
I also remember that last time I went through the canyon. I caught a ride with my friend, after we completed the CELTA in Denver, down to Arizona. After spending a few days in my old town, Whitney drove me away from Springerville, down through the canyon and into the arms of my family in Mesa. I cried that whole drive. I knew that I wouldn’t see that place for a long time, and it had already changed so much in the few months that I was gone, and it was like saying goodbye. Goodbye to my old life, goodbye to the area that was my sanctuary, goodbye to the place where I had found peace in my heart again.
Now here I am in South Korea on another journey, but it’s not the same. I knew it wouldn’t be, which is what I feared. Going out to Arizona was so needed and refreshing and free, but I knew that this trip wouldn’t be like that at all. I knew what I needed then, and I have no idea what I need now. My mind tries to grab hold of what I picture my life here should be, what I need, what I want, what I think might happen… and I come up empty every time. No answers. I know that half the journey and fun is in the discoveries and the beginning of everything, but that’s something that you can only really appreciate and understand when it’s time to look back at the beginning. When a year has passed. Then I can step back and look at this picture of South Korea as a whole and see what it all was, what it was leading up to, what it eventually produced. I’m used to having this unclear vision of my future, but it’s definitely blank right now. Where in the world will I be in a year? Will I decide to stay here? Will I move back to the U.S.? Will I move to Europe? Will I be able to do what it is that I truly want? Do I even have any idea of what I truly want? No. I don’t.
I know that I want to be a writer, but I have no idea when that will come, how that will happen, etc. I find that I’m continuously looking at alternatives to being a writer (like being a teacher maybe); however, after my time in Wisconsin this summer with my days spent writing and reading, I realize that all I want to be… is a writer. Not a teacher, not anything else, just a writer. Not saying that I hate teaching, but this isn’t my calling. It’s a job. It’s a means to support myself, pay my bills and a way to travel (it’s funny because I always put traveling as the first priority and writing the second, but now I want to travel so I can write about it). Part of me hates having a job where I do anything other than write because it takes time away from my actual writing! I want to go out and live life and have these experiences and write about it – not work a job and then be too exhausted to write when I get home, with nothing much else to say anyway that’s any different than the day before. But how to find this balance of things for now…
A thought creeps into my mind now and then… what if I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? What if all I produce is crap and I never get my story out there? I’m not saying that I’m looking for fame or recognition or anything like that, but what I want is to make enough money from small book advances and sales and little book tours to support myself and be happy and do what I love. I do know that this will happen though. Even when I have a flicker of doubt or worry, something inside of me just laughs and says: but you know it’s going to happen eventually, so why are you stressing? I can’t even really take myself seriously when I think about not becoming a writer because that doesn’t seem like an option. I’m the type of person who relies heavily on faith, my gut feeling, patience and perseverance. If there’s something that I want, truly want, I go get it. There are some things in my life that I don’t feel are up for negotiation, and being a writer is one of them. I feel like I have things to say. Advice to give. Life lessons to tell. Stories to share. So… I need to be here in Korea. This is a part of my story that is being written as we speak. A new beginning.
Maybe my book one day can bring someone to their own Arizona…