January 15, 2009

A Decade

10 years ago today I left on a flight out of Detroit Metro Airport that substantially altered the course of my life.

It's so hard to believe that it's been 10 years since I left for Nepal. On one hand it seems like just yesterday, but yet it seems so long ago as well. My memories are starting to fade like the pages in an old novel.

Backpacker magazine had a really great spread on hiking Nepal's Annapurna Circuit in their recent issue (March 2009 -- "The Perfect Circle"). As I read through the pages on Monday night the words swam before me, blurring the text into black swirls. I could hear the clamor in the teahouses at meal times, smell the passing herds of yaks on the trail and feel the cotton threads of prayer flags between my fingers.

For the first time, I cried mainly because of the things I couldn't remember. I spent the better part of Monday night trying to piece together our trekking trip -- trying to recreate our route by leafing through journal entries and staring at maps. But there are holes. Gaps of information that I can't fill anymore. It's bittersweet.

I was so busy living that I didn't take the time to write it all down. I figured that I'd never forget. Yeah, I kept a journal when I was there but it wasn't detailed about day to day activities. I didn't write down exactly what I did, where I went, what we ate. It talked about what I thought was important -- how I was changing as a person, things that I missed from home and how the trip was compared to what I thought it would be.

I suppose that the best memories will always be ingrained in my mind and my heart. I can use what I have written to help fill in the gaps, but I'll have to deal with the holes. Such is life.

If you're interested in reading more about the trip (in case you haven't been following along for long), you can read excerpts here, here, here, here and here.