Saturday, June 7, 2014
In the end, we underestimated how special the journey would be. We have cried tears of wonder and tears of pain. We have stood in absolute awe before some of the greatest sights on earth. We have felt the earth tremble as glaciers rumbled across its face. We have watched volcanoes smolder and have seen the footprints of invisible snow leopards in fresh Himalayan snow. We have gazed across salt flats and tundra plateaus possessing unearthly beauty. As we drifted through the darkness deep within the earth, Glowworms lit our way as did the stars of the milky way on the top of Chilean mountains. We stood below the rooftop of earth, not once, but twice, gazing into the
We are both smaller and larger than we were when we left our jobs, our friends, our family, and all that was comfortable and familiar. While we have learned much about the world, we learned the most about ourselves and each other....and we are not ready to stop learning. In fact, we hunger for greater lessons and new opportunities to grow. The first will come as we seek to help others realize their dreams. We did not know where we would "land" after we sold our house and most of our possessions and began this journey two years ago. Interestingly, we have come full circle and will return to our professional passions and to our community in Gunnison, Colorado, the place we call home.
For six months a year we have been given an amazing opportunity to participate and teach within a new community of learners. This summer, Western State Colorado University opens its doors and hearts to an inaugural group of graduate students seeking a masters in environmental management. As we have traveled the world, we have seen so many needs and have realized there is little time for humanity to change its path of global annihilation. We grew up in the nuclear age, ducking and covering, afraid of weapons of mass destruction. What we did not know to fear were the consequences of the daily cumulative actions of seven billion people. A stunning percentage of the planet is stripped of its resources, laid bare to the ravages of changing climate, with little local life remaining on the land beyond the poor who have no other place to go. Everywhere we travel, including in our own "backyard" we see environmental challenges that must be met. We are humbled beyond all measure to have a chance to help educate those who are stepping forward to meet these challenges with new voices, important projects, and increasingly sophisticated ideas about how to address our past mistakes and create new futures. For six months of each year, we will be face-to-face with this emerging community and for half a year we will continue to travel, connected to our newest community and building bridges to additional ones in distant lands.
We named this blog "One hundred stories" and hoped to write at least that many during our two year adventure. We have written only sixty so far. It is not that there was a dearth of stories; each day was typically filled with several. We simply found that we were often consumed with living the stories rather than writing them. We hope to continue this blog and plan on finishing a blog posting about travel tips soon! This adventure has finished, but the next one has already begun.
Posted in Los Angeles, California. Images are of a Nepalese woman telling Sally about her woes, the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia, and of a poor family trying to catch small fish in Cambodia.