Coming Home

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As you read this, I’ll be traveling cross-country from North Carolina to California. I packed up my room that I’ve been renting for the past 1.5 years, packed up my office, loaded up my car, and started on the 4700 km trip. I’ll take 8–10 days: visit Springfield, Illinois where Abraham Lincoln was born and buried; visit dear friends in Boulder, Colorado; head to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit Nepali friends; and then arrive in Mission Viejo, California where my parents live.  

I’ve traveled cross-country a number of times, the first when I was 17 with my friend Bernard when we drove from California to New York and back in my very first car, a Ford Pinto, a gift from my grandfather. I’ve driven by myself from New York to California; with friends from California to Florida and back; with my son from Connecticut to California; and with my girlfriend Yasuyo in February 2018 from California to North Carolina.

This trip is about “coming home.” I was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college in Irvine. But I haven’t lived in California for an extended period of time since the 1980s. I did make short “pit-stops” when my mom was sick a couple of years ago, and also when I worked on a farmers’ market project for a summer. But this time is different.

I’ve been very intentional about this move and my wanting to live in California close to my elderly parents, 90 and 86, and my two children. I have a few friends in southern California and know that I will make many more. I have a job waiting for me there with a small adapted sports NGO about two hours’ drive from where my parents and children live. I’m looking forward to this new role.  This is a great opportunity for me to integrate my education, creativity, and experiences continuing to make a difference in my “think globally, act locally” world.

It hasn’t been easy to say goodbye. I’ve met a host of wonderful people in North Carolina through Self-Realization Fellowship, through an intentional community called Hart’s Mill, through the group of 50-year-old+ men who play basketball a number of times each week, and through my volunteering at the Durham Literacy Center, where I taught English to non-native speaking immigrants who live in the US. I’ve also had many good times with my adapted sports colleagues and the athletes whom I’ve come to know. I especially enjoyed working with youth athletes (and their families) who make up the PRIDE wheelchair basketball team.

The fact that I’m in my sixties with a lot of energy translates into not wanting to waste time in my work and personal lives. I want to be with people who see opportunities and have confidence in others to let them do “their thing.” I’ve had too many experiences with people who are afraid, negative, and too focused on themselves.

I resonate with what Marianne Williamson, a Democratic Presidential candidate, says in her poem, “Our Deepest Fear”:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us….And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

We are all on a unique path and we all must find our own way. I wrote this article to encourage Nepali youth to look at my example, but really to find their own way, their own home, not just by doing what their peer group or parents and relatives want, but exploring, branching out, and overcoming their own fears and those who choose to put you in a box.

So I say to you, youth of Nepal: Follow your heart, but always with an eye on helping others. This will enable you to let “your light shine and liberate others.”

Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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