OK! So you’re finally caught up on how I spent the month of July. Let’s do August, but we’ll do it all in one post.
One major thing to know is that during August, I circumnavigated the globe within one year yet again! And yet again, it was one hundred percent unintentional. The reason why it even happened that way was because I absolutely had to go to a Christian conference to rejuvenate my gaspingly thirsty soul, and I had to see my bestie, Emma. It was long after I had done all of my bookings and about a week before I started off on this round of journeys that I realised I was heading for circumnavigation.
Anyway, that aside, August was pretty great. It started with that Christian conference. I chose Joyce Meyer Ministries because she’s been one of my online pastors for the past few years since I became a nomad. In terms of timing, there was only one viable option for me to attend her conference this year and that was for me to go to the one in San Jose, California, in early August. This was why I left Yakutsk at 2 am on August 3 and, after travelling for about thirty-six hours, I finally arrived in San Jose at around 4:30 pm on the same day. Time zones, go figure.
It took three flights for me to get back to the west from Yakutsk and, again, I went east to do it. The first flight was from Yakutsk to Seoul and lasted for almost five hours, followed by a nine-hour transit stop. I used that time to go on a tour of Seoul. It was alright but my mind wasn’t blown or anything. The second flight was from Seoul to Los Angeles and lasted for an exhausting and sleep-deprived eleven hours. I still hadn’t found a way to sleep on long flights, and I also can’t do the usual things I like, such as reading or solving puzzles. This is why I spent the entire eleven hours from Seoul to LA watching movies and sitcoms, listening to music, and occasionally dozing fitfully when I felt like I just couldn’t keep my eyes open for one more minute. By the end of it, my butt hurt; I walked around as much as I could during the flight but I was sitting in a middle seat so getting up every time I felt like it wasn’t happening. This flight was followed by a five-hour layover in LAX, which I spent walking around as much as possible. My last flight from Los Angeles to San Jose was blessedly short, lasting just over an hour.
The whole thing from hour one to hour thirty-six (counting from when I left my flat in Yakutsk to when I arrived at my hotel in San Jose) was exhausting but it was more than worth it to be at that conference. I had no “come to Jesus” experiences but God certainly had several words in due season for me. The worship was so good that it brought me to tears at least once in each of the three sessions so mission accomplished overall, I’d say.
I left San Jose on a red eye flight in the wee hours of Sunday morning headed for Denver, Colorado because my best travel partner ever bar none – Emma, of course – and her dog Nala live there now. In just under a week, she, Nala and I took on Denver and got up to a shenanigan or two that have now joined the others in the annals of our you-had-to-be-there-but-it-was-totally-hilarious-really-it-totally-was stories. On Sunday, we did a moderate amount of shopping; Emma disagrees that it was moderate since it took over five hours but it was totally necessary so that I could replenish things that are either unavailable or too expensive in Yakutsk. On Monday, we drove south to Garden Of The Gods, a National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, where we ambled around the rock formations then ended up in a sudden hailstorm.
On Tuesday, we went to the Denver Botanical Gardens…
…followed by axe throwing in the evening. Best. Time. EVER! I didn’t know that throwing a deadly weapon could be so much fun, or that I had all that aggression in me.
On Wednesday, we hung out and didn’t do much except eat. On Thursday, we drove south again to Seven Falls, which features cascading waterfalls and a huge number of steps to get to the top of the canyon where they’re located.
That evening, we went to a Rockies baseball game and had fun acting like we knew what was happening (Emma) and belting out “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” with the rest of the crowd (me) during the seventh inning stretch.
We spent all day Friday moving Emma’s newly-arrived (after much drama) furniture into her new apartment and getting her things organised and put away. And suddenly, our trip was over. Lots of excellent coffee was drunk, lots of new restaurants were sampled – we ate out for every meal, with no restaurant repeated – and several activities were thoroughly enjoyed. We had heart-to-heart chats, comfortable silences and quality time with Nala. On Friday night, they saw me off.
My next stop was New York city, where I spent exactly thirty-nine hours. I arrived early on Saturday morning, saw my eye doctor for my annual checkup, met up with a friend from Yakutsk who was visiting New York at the same time, and dropped in on Auntie. When my thirty-nine hours were up, I boarded a plane to Jamaica.
Now, I should make a point here that may be obvious, but perhaps isn’t for newer readers. I’m from Jamaica but it’s not my home. That seems like a stupidly obvious statement because I clearly don’t live there, but I mean it in a deeper sense than just where I happen to live at the moment. Jamaica was my home for most of my life but when I broke free from it three years ago, it ceased being my home. With absolutely no disrespect meant to Jamaica, I can say in retrospect that it was never my heart home. I’m still searching for that. This was why, when someone sent me a WhatsApp message to ask me when I was “going home for the summer,” I responded by saying, “I’m going to Jamaica in a couple of weeks.” I never call it my home anymore. That’s not because I hate Jamaica or anything like that, although many Jamaicans would likely judge me as doing that because of my very neutral feelings about it. It’s the country of my birth where my family and a couple of very good friends live. It afforded me most of my education and it’s where I gained all of the corporate work experience that still serves me well today. However, it’s not a part of my heart.
To be honest, the only reason I went to Jamaica this summer was because I had my family and two friends that I wanted to visit. If not for them, I would have visited Georgia (the country, I’m pretty much over the state because of over-visiting in my previous fake life) or Kyrgyzstan instead. Maybe next year; we’ll see. So I went to Jamaica around mid-August and spent almost three weeks visiting my family and my two friends, plus a couple of others, stocking up on my hair and skin products, getting myself pampered by various aestheticians and beauticians, and getting an average of ten hours of sleep every night for the first week or so. Hey, the exhaustion from ten and a half months of non-stop work was real. I also ate lots of good Jamaican food, went to the beach twice (on two perfect beach days), and went to the mountains once.
When the time came for me to leave, I felt that I had accomplished what I went to Jamaica to do, so I bounced without a backward look. Maybe next time I’ll meet my friends some place else and spend a shorter time in Jamaica with my family.
Anyway, that’s what happened in August. I saw my family and a handful of friends who made the time to be with me, and I accomplished my second yearlong circumnavigation. Given that this was done twice within the last three years by a woman who mainly used to trample and re-trample every beaten path to America, I can say without hesitation that it feels darn good.
The Lord says, “I am making a new earth and new heavens. The events of the past will be completely forgotten.” Isaiah 65:17 (GNV)
And that’s August in a nutshell.