I’m draped across my princess bed that I managed to score on airbnb, sucked into that page turner Fall On Your Knees when it dawns on me, I’ve moved residences for the third time this week.

The bigger picture is I’ve changed scenery over a dozen times in the past year. This time last June, to be exact.

What is it about anniversaries that violently birth memories or introspection?  I started this site as a personal odyssey to ‘shake and slap’ my life.

Let me explain the ‘shake and slap’.  Do you recall those stylish black and white films from the 30’s and 40’s when the only way to handle a hysterical woman was to have the hero, usually her foil, grab her, and give a vigorous shake, followed by his palm lightly meeting her cheek?  She blinks a few times, calms down and wakes the hell up.

So, did I?

Happiness

I’m not going to pull punches here; happiness is a puzzle for me.  Will continue to be for the rest of my life.  There’s no magic elixir to it.  If you are seeking a 24-hour high on happiness, watch The Secret again.

I pulled apart everything that wasn’t making me happy, reorganized it and it still remains a mystery.  I can tell you I’m happier than ever, swimming in self-content, but there are difficult days. I still question what I’m doing and is it the right thing?  No matter what you do to alter the course, it’s important to ask those questions, to check in with yourself.  Why?  To ensure you’re still alive, present to the moment.

Travel for the sake of travel runs out of steam.  As curious, intelligent beings, we need goals.  At least I do.  Right now, I have bazillions of ideas from shooting a documentary, to e-book writing or concentrating on more print work.  It’s all a mushroom cloud of questions, but I’m excited to try and answer them.

Joy

Damn straight.  Whether I was feeling cold seep through my flimsy sweater as I watched the night slip over Copenhagen or take in the vermillion sun on a marble bench in the gardens of Jag Mandir in Udaipur, I found myself glowing.  I use to ignore my surroundings, my nose always downward towards pavement, stressing about to-do lists.

Now I savor every drop of coffee or pause during a walk to watch a tree sway in the breeze.  Joy is not discovered in extravagant, splashy events, but the small pleasures.  Those tiny fragments of time that stitch a quilt of inner peace.  Travel brought me that, and I am grateful.

Stability

Outsiders have their opinions on my lifestyle.  Questioning how I can shift from place to place and lack any sense of home.  Maybe I’m certifiable, but I always knew constant motion was never the problem.  It was staying still and rotting.  Domestic life only draws me in to a degree.  I thrive on change; really need it.

One of my many joys right now is meeting everyone.  I glean so many new ideas or witness alternative ways to exist.  The act of packing can be tiresome, but once I cross the threshold of a new homestay or guesthouse, possibilities are endless.  I feel insanely stable internally, even while complete chaos is surrounding me.  Yeah, I am crazy.  But, this kind of crazy has pushed me to be better, a stronger person.  It’s not for everyone, but it works for the present.

Love

If you are sexually dysfunctional, want to cheat on your girlfriend, painfully shy, hate traveling, you are the man for me.  In fact, here’s my phone number: 1-800-always-desperate.  If you’ve followed me from the get-go, I rarely write about my romantic escapades.   See, there’s a reason.  You couldn’t make this shit up; it’s starkly true.

Sometimes I think that love only arrives once, vaguely twice for someone.  Other times, I laugh at these situations and chalk it up to more growth.  Who knows, I might write more on this subject, if you readers long to know how a solo woman traveler, who’s always on the move even sparks romance?  For now, those moments remain in my diary.  I’ve given you everything else; I’m allowed to keep this for me.

Money

The high point on money is I still have some to keep traveling.  I use to fret about money constantly.  How I would get it, if I had enough.  I reminisce on this time last year, when all my possessions were systematically packaged and sold.  I know what it feels like to take the familiar, break it down and build up again.  Procuring money frightens me less, it’s losing precious time that matters to me most.

I’m far from done this world exploration and will find ways to make it happen.  If you thought it was glamorous, think again.  It’s about shifting your monetary priorities.  Don’t be surprised if you next read me embarking on long-term volunteering, a bonafide online business or teaching English in a city with an unpronounceable name.

Finally

I saw so much, met a rainbow of people who forced me to rethink, sometimes even confirming I’m on the right track.  I had undisturbed sleep full of dreams where I re-met people I hadn’t seen in years, some of them forgave me or vice versa.  I felt 10 years of bad shoulders and chronic back pain melt away.  I enjoyed soaking in every single word of a novel again.  My heart woke to life as I intellectually sparred with that suave French banker in India.

There will always be uncertainty in this life choice.  If you’re pondering it, secretly planning your own escape, what I can promise you is fruitful change.

You won’t be bored.  Neutral.  Sick of it.  You will ripple from every jolt of that shake, sting from the impact on your cheek from that slap.

Life will never be the same again.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.