It is the ninth of May, two-thousand and thirteen, and what a year it has been. In the past eight months we have circumnavigated the planet, with the majority of that time being spent in the hills and valleys of Far Western Nepal. We have flown in airplanes of all sizes, traveled on open-air trains, crammed ourselves into buses, jeeps, and vans. We have been whisked along aboard ocean- and river-going boats. We have walked, swum, and climbed. We have slept in huts, houses, and hotels. We have seen lives begin, and we have watched them end.
Now that we are standing, firmly, back on home soil (insert your own definition of “home” here), it seems apt to ask what this all means.
- It means that there are things that we will never again take for granted.
- It means that we have learned to fight battles that we never knew existed.
- It means hope and ambition, tempered with sorrow and apathy.
- It means new definitions for more words than I can list.
- It means things that become newly apparent each day, not least of which is that Health–capital H Health–is something to be thankful for every day, for ourselves and for others.
The next question that seems appropriate, for this “in a nutshell” monologue, is what comes next?
For me personally, or perhaps professionally, the past year has reiterated the importance of long-term commitment and community involvement. It has solidified my determination to pursue all training necessary to provide a meaningful service to the people of whatever small town we take root in. It has reinforced the fact that one must always “think outside the box.”
In the next 10 days, not only will I be starting another graduate program, but Ryan and I will be getting married. Both of these events marking the beginnings of new and exciting adventures, not entirely unlike our around-the-world year. These adventures are sure to take us to as many exciting, bewildering, and inspiring places as all of the trains, planes, and rickety automobiles have. My thought is: “Bring it on.”
In the meantime, we’ll be roasting here in the desert of Arizona, riding bicycles and climbing on rocks.
A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been there for us along the way.