I’ve been on the road for seven and a half months. 204 days. 4896 hours.

It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from home without a second family. When I lived in New Zealand, I was surrounded by good people the entire time. When I moved to Philadelphia last year, I was blessed with many meaningful friendships there.

But this time, I’m alone. And when you’re alone, you begin to reflect on all the people you’re thankful for. On those special moments that have burned a lasting impression on your mind. On the small things.

You grow very nostalgic very quickly.

I miss snowboarding with Dustin and Weston. Even if it meant waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning and battling icy roads.

I miss playing catch with my father.

I miss drinking coffee and talking about how we’re going to make a million dollars with Dave. And we will.

I miss walking the dogs with Amanda.

I miss going for breakfast with my mother. It was important to me each and every time.

I miss driving out to the farm to visit my nephews and nieces.

I miss skating with Kelsey.

I miss playing guitar with Rene.

I miss working out with Doug and Chris.

I miss playing squash with Daniel. That was way more fun than attending class.

I miss building Lego with Roopa. Lego is for adults too.

I miss climbing on top of the Highlevel Bridge with Chris. You know, the other Chris.

I miss coding for hours on end with Shaun and Andrew.

I miss drinking beer and shooting guns with Mitchell. Not necessarily in that order.

I miss playing with my mother’s dog, Abbie. And watching her as she gallops through the snow.

I miss mountain biking with Mike and Luke.

I miss drinking tea with Sean.

I miss playing Mario World with Ashley.

I miss watching Firefly with Heidy.

I miss climbing with Lee.

For the first several months of this adventure, I was filled with a pure, refined zest for life. Traveling presented such an incredible challenge, a new mountain to be conquered. Can I live out of a 6 kg backpack? Will I survive in Congo? What will I do if I have nowhere to stay? What if I can’t find food? How will I cope with not knowing the language?

I now know the answers to those questions: Yes. Yes. Sleep on a bench. Starve. Listen more. And, as a result, I know myself better than ever before.

But the challenge has waned. Traveling has grown easy. I just had to learn a simple lesson: stop planning every moment and just let life happen. Once I began to resonate with that idea, this life grew incredibly simple.

And so I’m ready for the next thing. Maybe it’s an incredibly challenging project to work on. Perhaps it’s a relationship. It could even be another trip, but of a different nature, like a motorcycle ride across America. Maybe it’s a period of just being normal.

I’m still happy.

I have no complaints about this life I’m living.

I’m just lonely.

(Make that 4897 hours.)