Have you ever thought about how much of your life you spend living, without really being alive? Granted, this is somewhat of a depressing contemplation, but stick with me. My mom has always told me that if you can count the number of great, irreplaceable, be-there-for-you-through-anything friends that you have in life on one hand, you’re extremely lucky. These are “Finger Friends”, and I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that she was right; they are few and far between. I think that those being alive instances can also fall under the same mindset: “Finger Moments”, if you will. As the commencement of my journey nears, my mind has begun wandering with increasing frequency. Sure, there’s a lot to do (in case you didn’t gather that from my novel of a RTW planning post ;)), but I also find myself getting lost in the day-dream of it all. My first night in a hostel in Auckland; the sprawling wineries I will walk up to in Australia, keeping my fingers crossed that they will need some extra help for harvest. There will be the first bite of Thai street food that will hit my lips with searing authenticity, the vibrant spice markets of Dubai and sweet glasses of sangria in Spain. Austria, Argentina, Peru…all of these places fill my mind and my heart with an energy that is so prevalent it is practically tangible. I am alive with it all, but this is not one of those “Finger Moments”. Not yet.
Thinking back on my life, I know instantly the times where a spot on my hand was permanently reserved. If you’d like to share, I’d love to hear yours as well!
When I was 16, I was a foreign exchange student for seven months in Austria. I arrived into Linz in January 2004, stepped off the train and was immediately engulfed into the arms of my host sister, Kathi, and my host mom, Susi. We piled ourselves into their little green car and began the drive up to the tiny town that was to be my new home: Pfarrkirchen. It was the dead of winter in Austria, and everything was covered in white, pillowy piles of snow. As I sat in my new puff jacket and took in the scenery from the backseat (which I shared with their dog, Maxi), I felt like I had waited my whole life to be at that exact place, at that exact time. Then Susi turned around to me and sang out “The trees look like they are covered with powdered sugar!” In German. And I understood. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face; my first Finger Moment.
My family and I climbed Mt. Rainier this past July with a small group guided by International Mountain Guides. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, as well as the most physically challenging. The below was taken after we had reached our camp on the second day. I had wandered off to take it all in…the beauty, excitement and sheer joy of it all was overwhelming. The emotions brought on by the climb came at the perfect time in my life: only 3 weeks before that I had read about RTW tickets for the first time. The below Finger Moment was captured by one of my fellow climbers. It was at this time, standing there alone on what felt to be the simultaneous end and beginning of the world, that I made up my mind to absolutely take the trip that I begin in March. I wanted to hold my breath to keep how alive I felt contained forever.