January 1st, 2014, and I wake to the sound of talking. I’m still new to Australia, it’s still new to me. These days are spent maneuvering the wrong side of the road, flicking the windshield wipers on instead of the blinker, breathing in salty air. There are tents and goannas and the sound of a million cicadas at sunset.
I turn 22 in a trailer, 40° C, and knock almonds out of trees with a best friend. We bike to the river against devilish winds by day, and trace the Southern Cross at night. February tastes like plums.
Life becomes a blur of Flinders Station in the early morning, sunset bike rides, and new couchsurfing faces on the couch. Later, there’s runs in the Noosa night, three pairs of footprints in the damp sand. I paddle a kayak with a person who could become a be a good friend if we knew each other longer, but a couple of days will do. German voices sing reggaeton. In Brisbane I deconstruct a clock and set into motion something else entirely. And then its time to go again.
Like the academic years before, September is a fresh start. I’m thrown headfirst into work, with little sleep and high heels that blister. I find myself debating religion over drinks at an Ottawa pub I loved two years ago, under very different circumstances. We play dinosaur mini golf in a weird carnival show of a town. Drink coffee. Wake. Coffee. Work. Coffee. I iron more than I previously have in my entire life. It’s madness, but the good kind. The solid kind.
Once again its time to go. I overpack. I fall in love with elephant eyes and the throttle of a scooter. There’s sunrises and laughs, deep belly laughs, in death-trap trucks. There’s stray dogs littering the streets, lanterns lighting the sky. There are a cacophony of honks. Hill discoveries of graves, climbing over eggplants, a million ‘hallo!’s. There are days when the sights are so new that you feel like you need to step out of your skin just to let all the light in.
And then suddenly it’s the night before 2015. And there’s so many things that I could say about the past year, or checklists I could spell out for the next. But it’s enough to say that in 2014, I found love everywhere. Tucked behind elephant ears, driving Melbourne streets, in the heartbeat of a clock, in fevery windstorms. With bare feet on dashboards, on runs all alone, in slices of seconds cemented into memory.
Realizing that there’s all this goodness hidden in unexpected corners cracks the world wide open. There’s goals and outlines I’ve set out for myself for 2015, but mainly, when it comes down to it – I just want it to be as full as 2014 was.
I hope you have a year jam-packed with play, friends, and a rediscovered love for the little things in life.