Down the rabbit hole we go.
“Cheshire Puss,” [Alice] began . . . “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
These are a few of my favorite things:
People (kind ones), food (sustainable), travel (anywhere), t-shirts (soft cotton), headstands (outdoors), discomfort (non-life-threatening), love (falling in) and adventure (all sorts).
Current geographical location:
Northern Italy, about as far as you can go, three months into an unplanned year of all of the above.
Privileged upbringing, excellent education, law degree, high-flying corporate job, endless comfort and great friends and teaching yoga on weekends and nights. My life was perfect, and yet a strange phenomenon—this: have it all and want none of it. I read this elephant journal article and knew.
In the depths of my racing heart I received the message. I had to leave.
That while everyone in the world was worrying about job security and mortgage repayments and minimizing risk (or, in other parts, how to feed the children), I was craving the opposite: to risk something, everything.
For once in my life, I had to go my own way, on my own, to escape security and comfort and predictability. This endless merry-go-round where the desperately cheerful music, the nauseating up and down motion, and a thousand mirrors blinded me from the undiscovered reality of whatever was beyond the carnival walls.
So I got off the merry-go-round.
I took a 12 month leave of absence from my job (“So you can go back if you need to,” everyone said. I’m not telling them that it is the very last thing I will need).
Sold my car. I gave my surfboard to a friend. Meant to sell my bicycle, but left it to its fate with my cousin instead. Said cousin also took over my room. I gave things away, sent things home, threw out the rest.
Packed a backpack (of too much, and already left half of it behind. Did I really need those iPod speakers?)
Put backpack on.
Said goodbye (cried terrified tears).
Vague unfinished plans. Europe, India. It’s been too long—maybe 12 or 13 years, since I’ve seen my grandparents in England. So I went there first.
Also in England, I met a boy with kind eyes, soft hands, and a heart that races with desire for something (to be, to have, to do) even faster than mine. Oh, and a voice that made everything else in the world seem small and cold.
Then, a question mark. Secure in wise Cheshire Cat knowledge that I am sure to get somewhere.
A year is a long time to walk.
For all those who have walked before me, or long to walk after me, I invite you to walk with me. I have not much money, but much hope and a (slowly opening) heart. Also, a certain amount of ingenuity. I will teach yoga for food (sustainable, remember). I go with open eyes and a burning desire to see.
An adventure? The one my whole short life I have been waiting for starts, now. The world awaits. And from what I have already seen, it will not fail to take my breath away. So this journal that I plan to share with you (and the only thing I can promise you is everything I have: honesty) is for all those wish to breathe. Because I know that I only ever appreciate something once it has been taken away.
Life is short.
Live your dreams.
F*ck the risks.
Sent from space…
Bess Prescott is a reformed corporate insolvency lawyer and itinerant yoga teacher on a twelve month adventure to see the world (usually upside down from a headstand), get uncomfortable, meet cool people, walk edges with them, go skinny dipping, be afraid (and do it anyway) and learn a bit more about this yoga thing. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: ShaMecha Simms
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