The typical cliché used to describe people like me who go traveling for extended periods of time is to say that, “He is finding himself.” Setting aside the belittling way that expression is generally used – as if the instinct for self-discovery is to be mocked rather than celebrated – after almost 17 months on the road I’ve found the common idea of “finding oneself” to be totally inaccurate.
In March, I visited the movie-set-turned-tourist-attraction of Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. This was the actual location used for the filming of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies.
Just over one year ago, on March 21, 2016, I began this journey. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the concept that it’s only been that long.
Wednesday night, I drove myself to a hospital in rural New Zealand, where I collapsed on the emergency room floor in intense pain.
In mid-December I opened my email and discovered a surprise: a playlist, automatically curated by Spotify, that included the 101 top songs I had listened to for the year. Curious about what might be on it, I clicked the link, and scrolled.
Where can men today learn authentic, healthy masculinity? There is an organization dedicated to answering this question: The ManKind Project.
The worst was that in looking at MY OWN image, I could see everything I sought to avoid knowing about myself. I couldn’t hide that. I had to transform it.
Today I celebrate and thank Life itself – the Great Mystery! Great Teacher! – that my saddest story has a happy ending, because I was willing to look for it, to fight for it, to never give up until I found it.