Where did the year go?

Historically for myself, this time of year has been filled with the traditions of North America. The glut of food. Black Friday deals for things you absolutely do not need. Christmas parties. Joyous times in cozy bars. Decorations. The smell of wood burning stoves. The hustle and bustle of present buying. First snow flakes. Visiting family. Sneaking away on vacations for some rest before the chaos of the next year is thrust upon us. All of this translating into wrapping our body, mind and soul in the love of others.

This year however… I don’t even know where to begin. My heart is screaming for more time on Remote Year with the people who have become my best of friends, emotional rocks and most important of all: my family.

Last night I clinked glasses once last time in celebration with a remote who is leaving to pursue a new job opportunity. Since being in Asia each time I have had to do so with a person whom I have shared a trip around the world with causes an explosion in my chest. Undoubtedly I have grown particularly close to my Remote Year group. As the final chapters begin, emotional chaos is unfolding.

A Proper Send Off in Prague

The fact that Thanksgiving just happened and Christmas is approaching rapidly is not even on my radar. We just moved to Cambodia and I don’t think they celebrate ‘the holidays’ here. It might as well be mid August in my book. What is happening everywhere else in the world is far far away from my thoughts with the only thing relevant to my emotional state of mind are my fellow remotes.

This means that cocktails in a back alley bar are just as much in order as: washing an elephant, getting $15,000 dollars stolen out of your bank account, buying a case of beer and balancing it on your scooter home, getting surgery, having a rat run across your feet while you are on a conference call, being mugged, magic mushroom shakes, falling through your bathtub (literally), eating the best food in your life, shitting your pants from food poisoning, going in for medical tests, quitting your job, getting a new job, being fired, trying to blend in during an American flag burning, falling in love, having your heart broken or being extorted by police to name a few things. Before you ask, yes, all of these things have happened to one person or more in our group.

Weekend Afternoon, Paris

The list of experiences our group has encountered is what has brought us together in the unique way that defines our group Battuta. As a result, a support system has evolved and we spring to action when shit goes down or when a celebration is in order. I wouldn’t trade these people or experiences for the world.

Needless to say, it is a strange time for us. We are sharing a city with the Magellan group and there is a huge glut of staff here. Remote Year just received a bunch of funding and is on the up and up. The enthusiasm of the staff and other group is warm and welcome. It’s also a little bittersweet because we are declining while all of this amazing positive stuff surrounds us we soon will no longer be participating in.

A Birthday Celebration, Croatia

Being in month seven, I look at the Magellans who are in their prime with envy. If only I could rewind a few months for more precious moments in Prague, Split, Belgrade or the formative months back in South America. Nothing right now seems more important than spending as much time as possible with these people in my life right now.

Alongside the slow atrophy of our group, since my personality leans more towards the introverted side, my mind is spiralling out of control. What do I want to do next? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to do it with? I don’t want to go home. Should I go home? Where the fuck is home? Some face time with (insert person in the U.S.) would be good, but I’m happy here. This is my life, and I love it. I should stay here. I should go back to Europe. What am I going to do without my RY family physically in my life on a daily basis? Fuck the internet, it is no replacement. Arrrrrrggggggggggggggg!

Thanksgiving, Island Life, Thailand

The stone wall of emotions that we propped up in months 9 and 10 is beginning to show cracks. Tears are beginning to flow at a steady rate as each person departs and the signals within the group are becoming clear: The end is near.

Every day is a constant reminder to soak up as much time with the people you love before the next chapter begins for you or someone else.

Some are more ready than others, but for a vast majority of us, we are not ready for our year to be over. At all. The coming days are going to be fucking hard as shit.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

To learn more about this crazy journey, follow along on my blog at: https://beardandboots.wordpress.com/