Everyone told me the most common question I’d be asked when I got home was “So what’s next?” This was a question I was ready for. A question I had an answer for. Graduate School. Josef Korbel. Done. Easy.

The most common question I got though? “How is it being back home?” Each time I hear it, my heart deflates a bit. I shrink a little inside and my heart wanders overseas.

It’s hard adjusting from waking up to blank, unknown mornings. Letting new air fill your lungs, feeling your heart race and the adrenaline kick as you step out into new dirt. New people. New ideas. New thoughts. Open space. Blank slate. Wild dancing. Exasperated sighs. Smiles. So many smiles. Being scared. Terrified. Doubting yourself. Trusting yourself. Learning.

Everyday. Feeling those emotions a million times over.

“Welcome back to reality.” Is another phrase I’ve heard over and over. As if the salt water I swallowed during that night swim wasn’t real. Or the little boy that held my hand on the bus wasn’t real. That knowing your neighbors and the people you buy your food from isn’t reality. As if every emotion, realization or lesson I learned was somehow less real than the western experience in America.

How is it being home? It’s hard.

Sometimes I wake up and wonder if it was all a dream. And other days I stare at my pack wondering if I could throw my shoes inside it and take off for a week. Other days I feel so overwhelmed with guilt and frustration and want to be back reading my book by candlelight.

Today I stopped staring at my pack, and started digging through the pockets. Looking for anything. Maybe something left in a pocket. Folded into the corner.

I felt my heard sink a bit more and more as I felt around in each crevasse. Nothing. Nothing. And then. I found this.


And I remembered the feelings I felt holding that ticket in the Manila airport, about to embark on the first leg of my solo-backpacking around SE Asia. I was terrified. I was leaving the life I had created, learned from, grown with and loved for 3+ years.

I realized, in that moment, holding that ticket again, I was scared. I am terrified. I am out of my element. I’m fighting a new challenge. A new journey.

During my yoga training in India, my teacher told us “a true yogi feels home wherever they are”. At the time this really resonated with me- traveling, experiencing and exploring is easy for me. I felt at home.

What I didn’t realize is that a true and pure being is one who feels home even in the most difficult of places. Someone who allows their reactions and surroundings to act as their teacher- letting them examine themselves in the best and worst of situations. They open their heart, and finds themselves- whether it is in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India or Minnesota.

I’m incredibly thankful for my journey. But it’s time to move on to the next challenge. Below is a video I took while traveling around Asia for my cousin. 

…it has been a while…

It’s not that blogging hasn’t crossed my mind, it has.

Looking back at these past few months, I’ve realized that I have consistently updated my Instagram (http://instagram.com/brynacaroline/) , have posted status updates on Facebook, and have left my blog practically untouched. My journal pages have been soaked in pen ink, yet as far as sharing these thoughts and reflections…I’ve pretty much shied away from anything public.

A few reasons for this. A lot of personal growth, listening, understanding and dissecting has been happening. Most of these are deep, personal things that don’t quite have a place in a blog…yet. I understand that I could have just posted a few things about funny experiences, or a few favorite memories, but I wouldn’t be telling the whole story. A huge piece that makes the heart of the story would be missing- leaving it, in my mind, hollow, almost untrue.

With that being said, more stories will come through. Just not in the chronological order in which they happened. With time, I’ll share more.

TODAY however I found myself reflecting on something I had written the day before. When I was flying to India from Sri Lanka, I asked myself if this was truly the right time for my yoga teacher training. Inside of myself I knew it was time to take the next step- deepen my practice and move forward. Yet, was it the right time? Months (or well, years actually) of midnight trains, bartered fares, unknown roads and new faces have been the adrenaline that causes my heart to flutter. So much so, that I would often forget the underlying pressure, stress and exhaustion that was hiding under its surface. I could only see the good.

I feel it now.

I feel tired.

But at the same time, my heart, my soul…wants to continue this flow.

I had to ask myself- is this really what is best for you now? Or is it just what you want? Being real with myself and being aware of where I was at, and not where I wanted to be at.

So, I wandered off to the cliffs this afternoon, treated myself to a scoop of ice cream and saturated. I smelled the ocean breeze as it crashed in on the waves. I felt the intensity of the sun as it warmed the back of my head. I watched the butterflies dance around the flowers. And I became present.

Then it became clear and clearer with each breath I took in and let out.

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.


oh. and did I mention I also ate some delicious ice cream while meditating on these thoughts?


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.