My alarm coaxes me out of sleep gently. It’s early and still dark out. However, I must go. My purse and valuables are next to the wall by my head, flip flops at the bottom of the bunkbed ladder, my toiletry bag hanging from the bed post. In the last 92 days, I have slept in 67 different beds, had 67 different bathrooms, had 67 different pillows and 67 different shower pressures.
I complete my morning routine amidst the twenty slumbering people in the room around me. Being cautious to be quiet; praying for the plastic bag that house my tennis shoes to quiet down. My backpack has become my home. I pack under the dim light of my dying headlamp; everything with its place. The sleep sheet in the bottom, my clothing bag next, glasses in the side pocket and then to top everything off with the toiletry bag.
For many, this sounds like a miserable scene. However, this scene has allowed me to live the last three months of my life more fully than I ever have. My joy has come from the possibility of new encounters, new experiences and the happiness felt with an endlessly changing horizon. Each morning a different sun and many nights searching for new locations of old, familiar constellations. I realized that allowing myself to lose monotony has brought on unimaginable, fulfilling meaning and stellar beauty.
I tiptoe out of the room, strapping my backpack around my waist and chest. The sky has lightened and starts to reflect on the canal before me where gentle rain starts to ripple the stillness. At the bottom of the stairs, without thinking, I turn right. I pull the collar of my raincoat up around my ears and smile as I walk on without an inkling of a plan for the day.