Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I'm documenting my volunteer work and travels through a series of letters to family and friends while on the road. I hope you can stay a while - make yourself at home. 

Mom - 4,305 miles, 165 hours

Mom - 4,305 miles, 165 hours

Dear Mom,

Sitting at the local coffee shop this morning, I find it hard to believe my time in Salt Lake City is already over. I'm thinking back on my short three and a half weeks in the city and it's packed full of so many great memories. Most of them involve being outside, and interestingly enough, most of them involve dogs. Which I'm finding to be rather appropriate given how much of a smile these memories bring to my face. 

My mind begins to wander, and I'm suddenly transported to our front yard. You and I are chasing Shane around in the grass during a beautiful sunlit afternoon. He must only be a handful of weeks old as we've only just picked him up from Tim and Terry's to take him home for the afternoon and then bring him back to be with Irish for a few more weeks. As he races in between our legs across the grass, his soft golden coat glistens in the sun. He's just a pup though so it isn't long until he's all tuckered out and wants to go to sleep. He decides to escape the grass and nuzzles himself into the dirt, tucking himself into the bend around the corner of the house where the dirt ends and the grass begins. Within a few minutes he's completely out, the three of us just lying there motionless in the yard, smiles on our face. If I remember correctly, there's some kind of photo of this somewhere - probably buried upstairs in the closet. 

Over the past few days my mind has been flooded with old memories of full joy similar to this one. I think they're coming on mainly because of all the great memories I've been able to make here in SLC, and how full those have made me feel. As you know, I knew absolutely no one when I got here, which left me pretty vulnerable. In that discomfort however, I think I was able to push myself to really try and meet new people, do new things, and be open to whatever opportunities may present themselves. 

On three different occasions in the past three weeks I found myself driving up into the mountains with groups of people I'd only just met in the last 24 hours or less. Two of those interactions involving rock climbing, in which these individuals and I put complete trust in one another to belay each other safely as we clip into bolts high above the ground. The Jonathan back in Chicago would have never done anything like this. Yes, a large part of that equation is the fact that you can't just drive out of Chicago and into the mountains, but an even bigger part of this was how many barriers I had set up around me, many without me even knowing. 

I've come to realize that making one's self vulnerable can be such a powerful thing, and can open up the opportunity for experiences well beyond anything you've ever expected. That being said I don't think I would've ever had the courage to act on these feelings if it wasn't for the amazing support I've had from you and others the past month. Communicating has been something I've been working on a lot since the start of my trip, and I just want to say thank you for calling and always being there to talk Mom. 

I can't remember the last time I've been as excited as I am to see Caroline up in Vancouver in a couple of days, and I wish you and Dad could come along for the ride as well. Thankfully, I'll see you at home just a few weeks after that! Can't wait for a few High Life's on the porch with the Chiefer. 

Love you lots - xoxo

Jonathan

Caroline - 5,138 miles, 165 hours

Caroline - 5,138 miles, 165 hours

Lydia - 4,143 miles, 149 hours

Lydia - 4,143 miles, 149 hours