Dear Readers of Something In Her Ramblings,
As I type these words from a sun-drenched patio in California, I find myself in a moment that I’ve yearned for so often over the past three years.
When I last wrote, I bid farewell to you all to embark on a new chapter that posed a conflict of interest with keeping up my travel blog. The decision to step away from blogging is one that I will never regret. The past three years have been filled with immense professional and personal growth as I worked as a Public Relations manager in the tourism industry, a role which turned out to be my favorite of my career. I had the privilege of crafting communications strategies to tell the story of a city I love dearly and hosted journalists from around the world, connecting deeply to share in the California dream.
My career move also gave me more travel opportunities than I ever could have imagined as I collaborated with global teams to execute publicity campaigns across Europe, Australia and even China. This breadth of international work felt like the culmination of a journey I started 10 years ago when I first made the decision to step off the beaten path and participate in a journalism exchange program in Melbourne. There were many moments along the way that I broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the blessings my journey delivered.
Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.
And yet, despite the glories of business class flights, a corner of my heart always missed this blog. From the Great Wall of China to misty mountain tops in Peru, I found myself in many settings where my heart stung, knowing that I was not able to share my observations of the world here. Through it all part of me always longed for the day I’d be able to write again.
That day when I’m finally able to return to Something In Her Ramblings has arrived, and yet this day is nothing like I envisioned it to be.
We find ourselves in late 2020, a chapter of great difficulty and deep pain for so many. The global pandemic has flipped over nearly every aspect of our lives and collectively we as a species are reeling from loss, be it the death of loved ones from disease, unemployment and a collapsed economy, a sense of community due to social distancing, a stable learning experience with schools closed, uncertainty in our jobs as we work from home or the unraveling of human decency and our very identity as a democracy.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge that this chapter has been filled with even deeper pain for black Americans. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others have brought renewed focus to the truths black Americans have lived for 400 plus years. For some of us the narrative around racial justice is broadening as we learn that racism is not confined to prejudiced thoughts, statements and actions, but a system of laws and policies that run deep, undermining equality since before our nation’s founding.
The purpose of this blog is to share stories of travel, but travel has been nearly ground to a halt, evaporating seemingly overnight, with the U.S. Travel Association estimating a $7 billion loss for the U.S. economy alone due to canceled travel plans. With all the heaviness in the world and safety concerns around travel, I find myself starting a new job and able to return to travel blogging at a moment where travel blogging is rendered useless.
I’ve floundered the past two months, wondering if there’s any value in my returning to my ramblings. I’m troubled by the trends of nationalism and tribalism that we are seeing around the world. Prior to coronavirus these trends were growing, but at the very least we had the ability to travel and connect with other cultures for ourselves. As we find ourselves stuck at home the media narrative is hyper focused around public health and politics. It becomes easy to forget that there’s a larger world out there filled with people whose differences are outweighed by all we share in common.
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg has affected me deeply and I’ve been reflecting on her legacy and what it means for my life. One of her quotes that has struck a particular chord with me is, “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”
When I think of my talents, one simple notion rises to the top, my ability to listen. Though travel may be the veneer of this blog, my core goal of Something in Her Ramblings has always been to share the stories of the people I meet and the lessons they’ve taught me.
Added to the losses we’ve experienced in this pandemic are stories of the other. Our social interactions shrink and xenophobic rhetoric increases with phrases like “China virus” entering our consciousness, designed to make us fear “the other.”
When I’ve heard about China these past few months I’ve tried to tune out the hate by conjuring one moment in particular from my time in the country. One morning in the green and mountainous region of Chengdu (home of the giant pandas), I went for a lake-front jog. As I rounded a bend in the path I encountered a small group of local women practicing Tai Chi. Their intent in this moment was the same as mine – to use the early hour of the day to move their bodies. Upon seeing me the women stopped their practice and waved at me, grinning with large smiles that radiated sincere love and peace. Their warmth truly touched my soul and I carried a smile on my own face the rest of the day.
While I may not have blogged for three years, there’s been no shortage of writing. I’ve gathered the 11 journals I’ve filled since my last post and return to Something In Her Ramblings with a vow to tell stories of the way the world was before the disruptions of coronavirus. To in some small way bring light to the darkness with stories of happier days. To help us remember that people are not their political leaders. To share with you the wisdom and lessons I’ve learned from my interactions with “the other.” To hopefully use my words to make you feel the compassion and warmth I felt in the smiles of those women in China.
Welcome back to Something In Her Ramblings. I sure have missed you.
With Love and Light,