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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Wowk


Spin. A piece inspired by it all.

Do you remember when you played this game as a kid - you'd take a globe and spin it really fast, and then screech it to a halt with the tip of your finger? Ooh, where did you land this time? What storied city in Europe? What exotic country in Asia? What faraway land in Africa? Do you still play that game now? Maybe on your iPhone, or Google maps? What are we looking for when we spin the globe? An escape; a change? What happens when we land somewhere we don't want to? Do we spin again? Or do we settle, walk away, turn our back and forget there is a whole world out there to explore... I think you get where I'm going with this. In real life, we can use travel for many things - to escape the everyday and explore places we've only seen in films - but it's so much more than that. By traveling, we learn just how similar we really are to others halfway across the globe, despite our differences in language, culture or cuisine. We open up our worlds, we make connections, and we come back home - changed. For the past 7 months, I've been spinning my proverbial globe, pinpointing an alluring city and screeching my own world to a halt just long enough so I could drop in and explore it. I've been overwhelmingly fortunate, I know. But sometimes the story is all in how you spin it...

Seven months ago I boarded a plane, and I set my life, in no more accurate terms, spinning. It has been a journey of highs and lows, and an extraordinary way to take a deeper look into so many things I had put off understanding - my relationships, my dreams, my fears, and especially - myself. When I think about returning to my former life, it makes my head spin. At first, I was worried about stepping back into who I was yesterday, and losing sight of the life I'd built and love in Edinburgh. After a few days (or was it weeks? - funny how time blurs) and some serious soul-searching, I finally understood just how little free will I had over this impending return physically - and how much control I had over it mentally. I reminded myself that the girl who arrived in Edinburgh was not nearly the same girl who would return. In this journey, I've had to struggle to find inner strength; experience enough pain to channel it into writing; understand my darkness to appreciate my light; and withstand turmoil to appreciate peace. I had confidence that all of these lessons, at one point or another, would help me navigate future waters. But, at the root of it all, I still feared letting the stories of my past continue to write my future. It was then that I promised myself to remove the old pen, erase the board, and resolve to be vigilant over my clean slate. The universe can only write as new a story as I'm open and ready for.

As for my return, it still won't be easy. But when I think about the most beautiful things I have in my life, they have almost always followed a bit of sheer chaos. It's not that I'm ungrateful for my good fortune, but maybe just a bit forgetful of the path I've taken to get there. It's in these moments that I need to be most grateful for beautiful little plot twists. With that, I think I've discovered one of the most important lessons of this journey: the best part about setting your world spinning, is you are the only one capable of telling it when to stop.

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