Skydiving

So I did some math this morning and realized that I have exactly one month until I’m back home. That’s right, kids — if all goes well, which is to say disregarding the possibility of my expiring somewhere on the Inca Trail or perishing in the midst of the predicted apocalypse, I’ll be landing at JFK sometime around 6 a.m. on December 21st. I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind about that reality — for all the talk going on amongst my friends and I lately about our first meals back in America, or all my efforts to ignore everyone’s Facebook updates about undoubtedly delicious Thanksgiving dinners, or my occasional annoyance that none of the emails I receive about events are ever relevant to me, I can’t figure out how to analyze the math in a way where the fact that I’ve been here for almost 11 months makes any sense. Sure, everyone always says “It feels like just yesterday that…” I won’t go so far as to say that it feels like yesterday, but it does feel like a whole bunch of yesterdays. It doesn’t feel like almost a year. It doesn’t feel like I’ve turned 24 here. And it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s time to go.

I always know when I need to move, because I do this thing where I start staring obsessively at every airplane overhead, wondering where they’re going, who’s aboard, why I’m not on that flight right now. It happened to me at home in Boston, it happened in Buenos Aires, it happened in Chicago. Even though I miss some of those places desperately (I still harbor a Charlie Brown-esque unrequited and unconsummated love for the Windy City that’s going to have to be remedied one of these days), the only recent time I can remember glancing at an airplane that I wasn’t about to board was one day where Bogotá was smothered in absolutely spectacular clouds and I couldn’t help watching the lights slice through the darkness. I’m just not ready to leave yet.

Of course, I’m ready to go home for the holidays. I miss my family, my friends, American football, Trader Joe’s, Harvard Square in December, good breakfast cereal, snow… the list goes on. I miss people. I miss things. But the unfortunate truth of where I am in my life is that I’m always going to miss people, places and things. My friends are scattered across the country, some of them across the world. I will never live within two miles of all of my closest friends at any point again in my life. Everything I love can never be in one place. And traveling doesn’t make it better — it exacerbates it. I keep moving, I keep falling in love, and then I keep moving on. I would rather be in love with everything than nothing, but it’s not my favorite kind of balancing act.

All of this is to say that, despite my itchy feet, I’m not done with Bogotá yet. Whenever I think, seriously think, about getting on a plane and never coming back, I start to freak out. I want to grab everything here that I care about and cling to it. You’re going to have to drag me away, I hiss to the imaginary authorities enforcing this mandatory evacuation.

But you know what? Nobody is enforcing it. I will be thrilled to go home in December, but I’m going to be just as happy to come back in January. Because yes, I’m coming back. It’s not exactly clear right now what I’m going to be doing (or how I’m going to make sure I feed myself), but that’s something I’ll figure out in the time between now and then. I’ve always landed on my feet so far in my life, and if a man can take the risk of jumping from an aircraft perched on the edge of space, the least my scaredy-cat self can do is try to make this work and see what happens. Because lord knows I won’t be jumping from any airplanes anytime soon.

Unless that Mayan apocalypse does happen, after all. Then I may not have a choice.

How can I think about leaving this place when I just want to wrap my arms around it?

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4 thoughts on “Skydiving

  1. I so admire your bravery and your spirit. Sometimes it is so easy to let the fear of the unknown keep you grounded in one spot, but you don’t let it and I’m truly inspired by you and your story. I randomly stumbled upon your blog, but will continue to read and wish you the absolute best of luck in your journey and in your life. I am also fortunate to be one of those people that can always land on my feet. Your blog has made me wonder if I have been in the same place for too long. Maybe it is time to plan my next adventure as well. =)

    • Thanks so much, Lindsey! It’s definitely hard for most of us (especially control freaks like me) to let go of trying to manage everything, but I think it almost always pays off in the end. So glad you’re enjoying reading the blog, and best of luck with your future adventures!

  2. Love your blog! I am a rolo, a truly bogotan, and I love this city with all my heart, I’ve around a few parts of this world but I can’t find another place that I think of to stay for ever… I ‘m also a biologist and I work with some wildlife in Colombia, but If you want and if you want some adventures I can show you some of the unexplored things of this marvellous city, the natural Bogotá will amaze you, we could see the paramos and find an spectacled bear, or we could go to the Humedales to see some “pajaritos”… This is a face of Bogotá that is not shown to everybody… If u want please contact me, it will be a very good experience for your blog… My e-mail is agarcialondono@gmail.com and my celular is 3118764267.. Big hug!

    • Andres,
      Thanks so much for your kind words, and for getting in touch! I definitely do feel sometimes like I haven’t had time yet to appreciate all of the parks and other natural beauty near Bogotá, so it would be great to explore with someone who knows the territory. I have a few friends who I’m sure would be interested, too, so I’ll be in touch soon!

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