me + my backpack + some other stuff.

Yesterday I enjoyed one of my last yoga classes in the dome. It's basically a yurt-style "tent" a few kilometers outside of town, with brilliant views of Última Esperanza Fjord. It's built to withstand the gales and near hurricane-force winds. (And let's just say this full moon kicked up some glass-breaking twisters and house-rattling gusts.) Practicing yoga in the dome--warmed by a wood burning stove and sheltered from the gales beyond it--is noisy. The loudness of lashings never really bothers me when I'm inside, but our yoga maestra kept reminding us to let the wind sweep away what we no longer need. Let go our heavy baggage so to speak.

About four years ago, I shouldered a blue backpack and set out to travel around South America. I had a plan (which included returning in two months), but I found it difficult to explain to others what exactly I was doing. Friends wished me farewell, saying: I hope you find what you're looking for. I had no idea what that meant or what I might be looking for.

{on the way to paso oggioni, torres del paine}

My backpack has climbed glaciers and volcanoes peaking 6,000 meters, soaked in the mists of Machu Picchu, weighed down my broken toe traversing the Bolivian altiplano, wobbled on donkeys and boarded canoes in the Amazon. It's froze beneath the snow of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It's explored Turkey and survived rickety trains throughout Eastern Europe. I heard its sighs of relief when--too heavy for me to daintily swing onto my back--S has picked it up and held it out for me to put on, as if it was anything as light as a coat. It's been nibbled by mice and manhandled by airport conveyors. It's been my home for months at a time and my chair at dinnertime.

{en route to paso marconi + the ice field, from el chaltén}
And most recently heavy blue has been sold. For nearly a decade, that backpack collected shells and stones, non-native pine cones, diary notes scribbled on maps, breathtaking views, and the camaraderie of other backpacks.

{almirante nieto, torres del paine}
I've collected beach glass, bird books and real feather pens, friends, transience, acceptance. I met yoga and meditation and my husband. In that order. Maybe I was looking for something. But when I stopped looking and opened my eyes, I found I already had everything. (But, of course, I still wanted to meet that special someone.) A few blinks later : enter S. Now we're moving to my California homeland, with the backwards backpack of my 7-month pregnant belly. What a long, strange trip it's been.

May the wind carry away some of your excess baggage today. 
What would you send with its next gust?

45 comments:

Dawn said...

Wonderful post.....and yes...I think have a similar backpack. I still want to use mine a tad more though. I know I have "everything" here...but selfishly I want to (see) have a bit more of this life's beauty.
Funny where our journey's take us - isn't it?
Wishing you a wonderful new journey...and day;)
dawn:)

Drew said...

What a wonderful journey you've gone on... I would love to try yoga in yurt like tent out there! Maybe one day... I wish I had saved my backpack from my two months in Europe but I didn't. (I did save the extra suitcase I had to buy to get some extra goodies I picked up back to the US of A!) :-)

rachel! said...

ohh, that sounds like such an awesome experience! good jobb. impressive.

Hollie said...

why are you so amazing?! Isn't it funny how when we stop searching for things they magicall appear? Bye bye, blue back! Hello, baby back pack!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Funy- I met my husband right after I started practicing Yoga and meditation daily- I think I had managed to get myself into the perfect spot-

Anna Walker said...

Super great post! :)
That yoga class sounded so lovely! You're so adventurous!

Jude said...

Sigh, another wonderful post! I love where your journey has taken you, and also the journey along the way. I recently kissed goodbye to many things too and am excited for your new chapter, your new day and journey! Please don't stop writing these :)

Claire Kiefer said...

This was a good post for me to read today. I'd let go of the emotions from past and recent relationships that I continue to cling to. Maybe I'd also let go of the needling desire to "meet that special someone," as you said, because it can really be so suffocating.

DolceDreams said...

I just love this post Heather, it is beautiful and deep...I don't care for the wind much, but the next time it is gusting, I will let it blow away any negativities!
What a journey you have been on, and what a wonderful journey you have to come...
Nathalie

drollgirl said...

what a journey! you like adventure! and maybe you are ready for some stability and a place to call home with your family. humph. but i get the feeling you will always want to travel and explore, and that you will find a way to do so. kudos to you -- i think those that get out and experience more lead richer lives than many!

Mystica said...

Glad you made the journey you wanted

a whole lotta love said...

first of all, the yoga in a yurt sounds wonderful. second, i love hearing all about your adventures. third, i'm sorry to hear you had to sell your trusty backpack. but fourth, i'm glad that you are on to a new adventure and a new family. fifth, i am thankful today for all the things i've been able to do in my life as well. i don't know if you've been over to my blog today, but i compiled a list of 501 things that i've been able to do. like you, as you look back on all the adventures, it makes you thankful for life in general and the experience of living. and you can take those memories with you as a sort of 'mental backpack' of wisdom to help you in the future :)

Bella said...

Wonderful post. I'd like to send some of my worry away with the next big gust.

Lady Grey said...

Beautiful.... I love the way you ended this post.
oxo

Indie.Tea said...

The yurt sounds really interesting.
And I wish that your backpack has many, many more exciting and vitalizing adventures and that its new human cares for it as much as you must have :)

MarchMusings said...

Lovely read. Imagine the stories your back pack could tell. And it'll always be a great reminder of all of them.

Nikki said...

I love that! What a lucky backpack to be your travel mate.

Yoga in a yurt sounds like heaven.

Signe said...

Aaaw, such a wonderful post! I almost teared up from this post and I don't even know why, it's not like it is sad!
Guess it is just since you are at such a crossroads in your life at the moment and you portrait it so well in your writing :)

Hugs,
Signe

Lindsey said...

Awwww. What a sweet post. The end to one adventure and the beginning of another. I'm super happy for you.

Faiza said...

i know that love and joy will accompany as you make the journey but i wanted to add my own good wishes for safe travels and adventurous arrivals.

Diana Mieczan said...

What a wonderful journey you have gone on. I've also done a fair share of moving on and finding my place. Glad you are doing well,sweetie
Happy Tuesday

Casa Très Chic said...

Wonderful adventure, you ended this post beautifully.
Tereza

Nicolette said...

Cheers to new adventures! I can't wait to see where the universe leads you next. Enjoy the ride!

Maria said...

wonderful post. stunning pics! this is it...

http://design-elements-blog.com/

Marcie said...

Awesome, that sounds like a dream. I just love reading about all your adventures! Those views are breathtaking!

xo M

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Wow, nature IS amazingly stunning in your little corner of the world! Happy hiking!! xx

desde my ventana said...

Your images are really fabulous,
Bss
Cecilia

Kristin said...

Wow does that yoga class sound crazy peaceful!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

You remind me to not be so lazy about my yoga classes...

Nicole said...

What a beautiful post. I always love reading your writing. You always have such a wonderful perspective on life and make connections that most people fail to recognize! Thanks for sharing, dear! I'm sure you're going to be the "cool mom" that kids brag about!

LyddieGal said...

What a wonderful journey you've had, and what amazing stories you will have to tell your little one.
I love how you and your backpack have seen the world.

Chic on the Cheap

Krystal said...

Heather, this was so beautiful. I say that about every post perhaps, but this made me happy that there are people like you in the world :)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

What a wonderful journey. I guess that backpack may be put on hold for a while but let to such wonderful things!

Becca said...

holy cow
you are such an outdoorsy-awesome person!

Pop Champagne said...

great post, and what a travel, I've always just wanted to get up and go backpacking somewhere and do the whole eat pray love thing. This is such an inspiring post for me!

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

What an amazing experience.

OneCraftyFox said...

OMGawd, you are amazing!! If I was preggers I would totally be sitting on my arse and whining, lol. No, I'm just kidding. I love doing yoga and could not live without it, and I have been doing the P90X workout for 2 weeks now. Mind you, I only do 45min to an hour 3 days a week at my own pace, but still... ;) (the vid's are 90min for 6 days straight... ai ya!!)

Looks like such an incredible journey.

Lots of love to you, my sweet friend!! xoxo

this free bird said...

Girl was it hard to say goodbye to your backpack? Only b/c it's kind of been your traveling companion and was filled w/memories? That's my thing: I attach memories to things and it makes it tougher to release them...scraps of paper much? oy

Looking fwd to hearing more when you are stateside. LOVED looking at your wedding pics, Heather. You have been on an amazing journey and I think the best is yet to come.

xoxo,
Carrie

Meg said...

what an amazing adventure, makes me want to go far, far away just because. good luck with your move and your soon-to-be California (and baby) adventure! =0)

The Breakfast Lover said...

wow! ist an icredible place!!

aizkim said...

wow what great landscape!
Am passing the "lovely blog award" to you by the way. Check out the link below. Have a great day!

Tag you're it!.

Melly Mel said...

I love that you love Yoga so much. Backpacking is the best! So glad you had a chance to enjoy yourself :)

Melly Mel said...

I love that you love Yoga so much. Backpacking is the best! So glad you had a chance to enjoy yourself :)

Croatian_Latina said...

Hi, there I have just been introduced to your blog via Lady of the Arts. what a great voyage! ohhh wow. it's inspiring to be reading your post today.

I know you are busy packing and saying goodbye (something I will be doing soon as well)...the most difficult part,the farewells.

Bettina said...

This sounds just wonderful! A few months turning in to four years. A million experiences richer, a husbond found and a baby on the way.

Huge congratulations and all the best back in California!

(And thanks for commenting in my blog!)

/Bettina

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