12 months, 19 countries. A year of new experiences and constant stimulation. A year that could never be replicated, and never fully comprehended by anyone outside of RY3 . A year that probably seemed so luxurious on social media. But, in reality, it was just as challenging as it was rewarding. Like running a marathon.
It's been 2 weeks since I completed Remote Year and you may have noticed the radio silence on my part. The reality is, I'm recovering from the marathon!
In our very first meeting in Cordoba, Argentina, the staff played a video for us. It was an advice compilation from the original RY group that was in month 9 of 12. One of the older guys in the group said,
“RY is like a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, because a year of travel and work is really challenging.”
Being a marathoner, I took these words to heart. In the beginning of the race, I know I always feel like this:
The adrenaline is flowing and I'm so excited the race is finally here!
But, I know that the mid to late miles are tough. The initial adrenaline wears off. Fatigue sets in. I get numb. And the last few miles I'm on auto-pilot, emotionally and physically. I sometimes can't remember a lot in those late miles, because my body is in this weird state of confusion. I'm just going through the motions, and everything is a blur.
And, when I get to the finish line, I'm often not able to savor the moment. I'm just numb. I may have an emotional moment for a minute, realizing that I just completed a big race that I'd been training so hard for. But, then, it takes me a couple hours to get some feeling back.
On my Remote Year marathon, I didn’t quite realize how tough the late months would be!
It wasn't tough to visit gorgeous National Parks, UNESCO sites, and Wonders of the World. It wasn't tough to adapt to the local culture or find my way around a new city. It was not hard to get along with such a great group of people who cared for each other and treated each other like family.
But, the combination of: constant travel, sightseeing, work, time zone challenges, lack of sleep, blogging, photography, the high of forging new friendships, the lows of saying goodbye and start all over, etc, etc. It's all amazing but exhausting!
The last few months of RY were challenging. I constantly felt fatigued. Got sick a bunch of times. Wasn't sleeping much. Was pushing my mind and body to the limits, trying to see all the sights. In a lot of ways I was just going through the motions. Checkin' stuff off the list.
Oh, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Neat.
A Wonder of the World...huh. Cool.
Most people plan their whole year's vacation around some of the things that I probably took for granted. I got emotionally numb in the late miles.
And, towards the end, I just wanted to hit that finish line.
But, now, I'm getting my feeling back. :]
Looking back, I realize just how lucky I am to have been able to be a part of Remote Year. So few people on this Earth will ever have the opportunities that I've had. It was the most extraordinary journey I've ever taken. The best race I've ever run.
And, the best part about it is, I'm not numb any more! And, while I may have been fairly unemotional during certain times, I still experienced it all. And, I can look back on those experiences now and fully appreciate them. And, I've got thousands of photos and videos that I haven't even looked at.
In a marathon, sometimes I forget the mid-to-late miles.
But I will never forget one mile, one day or one month of Remote Year.