aerial manila.

the big question everyone has been asking me is “so why are you doing this…aerial thing?”

and each time it catches me off guard.

“…are you going to do something with it?” “Are you hoping to be a trainer?”

and then finally “Oh…so you’re just doing it for…fun.” In a tone that leaves me to feel that its worth has suddenly been lost in their mind. Oh. Just for fun. It’s accomplishment will not be noted in my resume.

I have been slowly reading (the best way to read all wonderful books) a beautiful book that has truly spoken to my experience surrounding my passions. In one of his quotes Mihaly mentions:

“While humankind collectively has increased its material powers a thousandfold, it has not advanced very far in terms of improving the content of experience.”

Yes. Just for fun. Creating joy and fulfillment outside of external circumstances and rewards. Bliss. Letting go of the pressures of the ego. Accepting your process, the evolution.

Aerial. As difficult and challenging as it is, has been a great mantra to send me forward on the rest of my travels. “…It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.”

This is step one of my process. Goodbye Manila, hello Malaysia!

tapos na.

it’s official.

I’m no longer a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer.

On September 19th, my fellow Peace Corps Albayanos and I were forced to evacuate the province due to Mayon’s impending eruption.

The process of leaving was exhausting, emotional, exciting and…I’m out of e words. It was everything and nothing I had anticipated at the same time. Each day’s anxiety and heartbreak was equally filled with gratitude and love as I hugged goodbye friends who had become family.

The speed of my heartbeat was quickly matching that of the plane’s speed as we circled around Mayon. It’s a surreal feeling to see three years of your life through tiny plane window- my little town of Sto. Domingo where I knew my Hoop Troop was running wild in the streets, the street I would ride my bike back and forth to and from work each day, the pier my friends and I would sit on staring at the full moon, the same faces I would buy food from in the market…all fading out, smaller and smaller as our plane flew away.

Which brings me here.

Moving forward.

Diving here, yoga there, aerial silk, hooping, music festivals, surf competitions. Keeping busy. Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to.

Next week I take off for some soul searching around SE Asia before heading home in mid-February. We’ll see what this next adventure brings.

before and after.

it’s a common saying among Peace Corps volunteers that the aging that service takes on is like that seen during a presidency.

of course thats not true.

its much much worse.

ant holes. mold. salt water. water pumps. no water. sun burn. sun burn. sun burn. stress. flip flops with holes. no razor. always sweating. dirt. sand. the struggle is real.

before starting my Peace Corps service, I took a oh so naive photo of me in my oh so exciting gear.

so clean.

this is what happens after three years of service.

Photo on 2014-09-14 at 22.09 #3

my backpack has become somewhat of a running joke. throughout its daily sweat filled bike ride between Legazpi and Sto. Domingo, typhoon wear, mold, thousands of miles of travel and sun baking. We now have the final product. A stinky, discolored, moldy joke.

but worse for the wear. worn out. beat in.

worth it.

wild goose.

Serendipity. Fortuitous. Whatever word you want to use.

This morning I started cleaning out my apartment. I was listening to the kids head out to school, the rice being raked across the pavement, the waves crashing, the chatter of morning conversation over coffee…all breezing in and out of my window with each gust of wind as my curtains rose and fell.

I’ve accumulated a ton of stuff throughout my time here. I didn’t realize how much of a home I had subconsciously made. Going through my drawers, cupboards, bags would uncover another gift, another sentimental item or letter that would bring back a flood of memories.

As I threw a pile of paper onto my coffee table I quickly recognized the scribbled and unique writing of kuya Bob. He had written down the lyics to a Josh Ritter song, “Wild Goose”.

All that I’ve learned
Sometimes wells run dry
It don’t matter the hour or the season

Gone, gone gone, is your wild goose
and it never leaves giving a reason

When you’re up, you’ll be up
You’ll have love, you’ll have luck
And when it goes, you won’t see it coming

Gone, gone gone, you’ll be hearing that song
As it floats back to you down the northwind

Oh what kind of law
draws the apples to the ground
And what kind of love
draws the orbits
And where, oh where went your wild goose
It made you once think you could hold it

Throughout my time here my well has felt like it’s run dry, I’ve been up, I’ve had luck, lots of love and tons of surprises. But you can’t hold on to that forever. Things keep moving. Things keep changing.

My goose is on the run again. It’s time to give thanks and start the chase.

head north.

Random notes…

“we found ourselves settled in the same moon bar that we had started in on the first night. Only this time we were surrounded by the new friends we had made during our stay. bed jumpers, sand artists, mural makers, cave guides…

The bar provided the perfect atmosphere- almost as if pages of an “I Spy” book had been the inspiration for their interior design. Littered with various items people had left- masks, notes, art, gear.

As we all sat around the table we started to writing down questions, throwing them into a hat and answering them as we drew. “what is your spirit animal?” “name a song and a memory associated with it.” The game went on and on and on until the bar turned off the lights, shut the door and turned down the music.

Last questions. “What are you most thankful for today?”

We all looked around…”

Thanks for visiting, Tanner (: love love love.