Another Goodbye.

I'm sitting on a thin mattress, my skin sticky with sweat and my eyes stinging from exhaustion. I've arrived at my new destination: Nablus, Palestine.

I've been here for three days now, settling in, adjusting to the heat and dressing for an Islamic culture again. Five days ago, I was sitting in the basement of the house soaked in happy memories of love, puppy licks, meowing, and acceptance. I smoked on the balcony and drank tea while writing in my journal thinking occasionally to myself: this is my happy place.

I have been fortunate enough to find 'happy places' all over the world. The small pebble peach in Bol, the big red church in Neuchatel, a bench overlooking the hills of Sarajevo, the delicate swinging hammock in Ohrid..... I could go on and on. My heart has fallen harder for places than people. Not often, though, have these geographic love affairs happened within the familiar borders of Canada. But for some reason, laying on my back, looking up at the sun or stars on that balcony, my heart swelled like I was home.

I have left many variations of 'home' for international moves in my life. I have left so many times that I have pre-departure rituals, and adapters and other needed knick-knacks already hidden into the pockets of my bags. I bring ear-plugs to block out crying babies on trans-continental flights, I know how to tackle jet-lag once I arrive and I am the person you want to be behind in the security line because I am fast.

This time, though, felt different. This time felt like a choice: choose home or choose away. Choose the love, the puppy licks, the balcony...or choose the unknown, the novel, the intimidating. And for the first time in my life, it was hard for me to choose to go.

For the first time, I hated the two girls who live inside of my soul: the girl who longs for home and the girl who longs to go. Having to choose between these two identities was a struggle - and still is. I don't know how to reconcile these conflicting ideas and living with them in my head everyday drives me completely nuts. Eventually, I just decided to go. Because if I didn't, I would be ignoring the loudest truth that exists inside of me, at this point in my life.

So here I am, laying in my new bed in Palestine on this maiden-voyage to self love and to accepting the dichotomy that exsists inside of me. I need a new definition of self that doesn't revolve around latitude and longitude and I need to connect to it. I want this new definition of self to be authentic,
passionate and brave. And alive. That is why I decided to go.

I am asked way too often why I choose to go to the types of places that I do: Why war-zones? Why such poor countries? Aren't you worried you will get hurt, or worse? The answer is simple: the countries that I have fallen for the hardest are the one that celebrate life regardless of material possessions - these countries bring out the best in me. Why would anyone ever deny themselves the opportunity to be their best self? And more importantly, 'being safe' is an illusion, no matter where in the world you are. So, Palestine it is for the foreseeable future.

"Thank you for loving me."