to walk into 26.

you know when someone fires a big rifle and consequently feels the sharp pull-back? there are those that are watching and thinking, “rad shot”, while the shooter wakes up the next morning, absolutely aching, and thinking, “holy blazes, my shoulder is broken.”

that’s what it feels like sometimes. 
pointing at a dusty marking on the map, going out on the road and after getting ten miles in, feeling all the uncomfortableness that is synonymous with traveling. feeling all that challenge all at once. staring up at the ceiling with tear-puffed eyes wondering if you have what it takes.
everyone can clap and applaud and think it’s this great idea, but standing with your head in your hands at an avis rental joint in the dodgy part of town being told how much you’ll have to pay if some illegal zimbabwean steals your car, well, not so awesome.

but it’s what you get when you apply for this. when you shoot yourself across the globe to see if you can swim.
someone pops your arm floaties,
the waves are way bigger up close,
no one told you there’s no lifeguard.

you come to learn how hard it can be, how much strength it will require, and you’ll always be baffled by the number of times you aggressively mutter the words, “what the hell am i doing? no really. what the hell am i doing?”

but this i know,
that on this very night, on the eve of my 26th birthday,

i could die happy. die content.

because i tried to listen to the tug at my pants telling me i didn’t have forever, no one has forever. you might just have what’s directly in front of you, and even that isn’t yours, so you better own up to the responsibility that life is exactly what you ask of it. the gun went off a long time ago, so go and pillage the thing.

because even though i was the girl about to cry with my head in my hands at that stupid avis, i was also the girl who, in the last couple weeks, 
got to swim and play in the indian ocean. 
had our cars trailer hitch cover eaten off by a lion. while we were in the car.
drove through a double rainbow and through the rains of mozambique. 
had a beach braii with a group of new and insane friends.
fed a couple giraffes.
watched a dolphin fly into the air and return back to the sea.
took photos of little african children showing me their one dirty little fish they caught with their flimsy sticks.
was interviewed by brazilian tv.
had my face painted by a beautiful african woman.
drove into soweto to see the bright lights coming from soccer city’s incredible calabash stadium, the sight of the opening ceremonies of the first-ever african world cup.
interviewed guys that were have been biking down from scotland since july of last year.
drove full tilt down the beach.
bartered for tomatoes at an african market.
and stayed up late playing games and laughing and staring up at the fullest moon while cat stevens sang “moonshadows” into her ears.

yes, my bank account is shot full of bullet holes, and i’ve honestly wondered if there might not be that guy out there for me, and i’m still unsure of how to use this writing passion thing.
it is what it is and everyone has their struggles. it’s beside the point, really.

if i can keep answering “yes” to the question “is this worth it?”, as i stare up at the ceiling with those tear-puffed eyes, then that’s all i need.
to go into a new age, to walk into 26, with a sack of full days and big tales and ask God for “more of these” is worth far more than a coffin full of cash.



lake chidenguele, mozambique.


6 responses to “to walk into 26.

  1. FEAR NOT! FOR I AM WITH YOU SAYS THE LORD. The sun sets and rises just a little bit differently every single day. His blessing a new everyday. Love to you on your 26th birthday. Conquer it! Mim xx

  2. My friend, I feel like I am in such a similar place. Scared to take a chance, knowing that the chance will be hard. But also at a point where you either take the chance or end up in, let’s say, a bad place. So I am inspired by your words and your incredible experience! Keep on living this adventure and loving life. Happy Birthday!

  3. Your words are so much more than inspiring, they are comforting and uplifting in such a foreign and yet familiar way. A card i read today said this;
    You are here to enable the world,
    to live more amply,
    with greater vision,
    and with a finer spirit
    of hope and achievement.
    You are here to
    enrich the world!
    -Woodrow Wilson.

    Keep living that d. And know as you go into this next year of 26…you already are 🙂

    Much love and happy birthday!

  4. Hey cuz, just found out yesterday – on the eve of your 26th – that this blog existed. I spent a long time reading through each post and catching myself up to what you’re up to these days. Just incredible.

    So I read this newest post and I see the sacrifice behind the adventure. There’s a quote from the movie Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” I love it that you’re so cool at being uncool. Please stay uncool as you sprint into 27.

    I’m looking forward to reading the continuing story! All the best to you – and happy birthday!

  5. TEARS…





  6. Danielle,
    You have courage in ways that I haven’t known yet. That fact that you dive head first into the craziest adventures means that you KNOW there will be adversity. But you will always be able to overcome it. To conquer the challenges of life and have crazy stories to tell about the experience, is like….your “thing”. haha
    Whatever life throws at you, I know, I KNOW, that you’ll get through it. You have what it takes.

    I’m proud to call you my friend.
    Happy Birthday!!

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