Stepping Stones

Path of Life

Stepping Stones

Every single person we come in contact with has a purpose in our lives. It isn’t always easy to recognize, but they are stepping stones helping us along our journey and path throughout life. Some offer challenges that we must rise above, while others are there to support us when we fall. Some stay for a long time, while others are only in our world for a few minutes, hours, weeks, months, or years. But, no matter how long they stay, or when and where we meet them, there is a reason for our encounters.

Of the billion people who live on planet Earth, there is no way for us to meet each one, so the people we do meet are meant to be there, regardless of whether we want them to be or not, and whether we are ready for them to leave us or not.

This has always been a concept I have struggled with, and many times in my life, I have suffered from separation anxiety. For someone who likes change so much, I have a hard time saying good-bye to the people I love. Unfortunately, with travel, there are a lot of good-byes to be had.

Eventually, the good-byes become easier, especially depending on the length of time spent together. I always cry, but I have realized that reconnecting is a possibility, and social media makes keeping in touch a lot easier. Still, the longer people are in my life, the harder they are to part with, especially when it’s not a farewell I would like to happen.

Everything becomes much more difficult when it is not my choice, and often in life, we have no control over how long people will stay in our lives. But, this idea of thinking of each person as a stepping stone helping us get to our final goal or destination is beginning to make it easier.

By thinking of each person as someone who has helped me along my journey, whether the impact is big or small, is the ideal way to look at it. Some serve a larger purpose, while others don’t stay as long as I would like them to, but in the end, there is something I have learned from each one. This makes regret and resentment virtually non-existent; if we have learned a lesson from each person, than that is a person we should be grateful for, whether that lesson was positive or negative. Either way, we have been brought along the path we were meant to take.

For my birthday, my friend, Lauren, gave me a bracelet that stands for the path of life and the twists and turns we are each taken down as we travel along this strange journey. Here is what the attached card said:

Path of Life

Life is exactly what travel is, it’s a path we follow in the directions of our dreams. We just need to keep pushing forward toward whatever we want, looking back only to remember the good times and offering gratitude for each person our lives have crossed paths with; they were there for a reason.

Every single person, positive and negative, has had an effect on each one of us and is essential in getting us where we are meant to be. It is just as Paulo Coelho writes in The Alchemist,

โ€œWe are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.โ€

We have this time together, but we go on beyond this. Our path of life is much larger than we know, but out of a world with billions of people, our chance encounters, or stepping stones, are how we learn and grow.

On this long and winding stretch, I am so glad that you and I have found each other, and I hope that you continue to wander with me in the new year. I promise it will be anything but boring.

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Comments (18)

  1. lola

    i knew that bracelet would be perfect for you. i wear mine every day. it has such a special meaning for me and even more so, now that you have one too. i’ll be eternally grateful our paths have crossed and that we choose to reconnect all the time and make adventures together. you are the very best thing that happened to me in 2013!! here’s to 2014.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I am grateful our paths have crossed too! Aww, you are the very best part of my 2013 too. Thank goodness for you! Thanks for the bracelet and sharing adventures with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  2. Aggy

    What a lovely reflection! I believe that each person that comes into our life was there for a reason. I have struggled with goodbyes in 2013 too but I have loved each moment with the people I said goodbye with. Thanks Erin for this wonderful read.

  3. @mrsoaroundworld

    It is so nice sometimes to take some time and just reflect – it is a luxury as life just goes too quickly. I am a great believer in faith – things do happen for a reason. People make our lives richer and more interesting – and we will meet those that we should. I am so glad I met you, Erin!

  4. Leah

    You’re absolutely correct. People come in and out of our lives for a reason–they have a purpose. Even those that have a negative effect on you can still have a positive impact on your life. Lessons learned make us better for the future. It’s all about how you reflect on the situation. I like what you say about offering gratitude to the people in your life. That’s easy to forget, but you never know when they won’t be there anymore.

  5. Traveling Ted

    RWTBEX was one of the best parts of my 2013. Glad you were there to share it.

  6. Gemma

    What a lovely and thoughtful post. We are heading out on the road in the Spring so I’m particularly excited for that, but this has reminded me that there will be sadness too, saying goodbye to the friends we have paid over the last two years here in Canada. It’s pushed me to enjoy the last few months we have here to the fullest, rather than wishing it away so we can be travelling again.

  7. Francesca

    Well stated, and my sentiments exactly. I’m a firm believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason – and that goes for the people that happen in our lives. Even the negative experiences — we stand to only learn from them.

    PS – I love the bracelet!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Love the way you worded that, Francesca. Yes, hard to see sometimes at first. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!!

  8. Lance | Trips By Lance

    The people in our lives big and small all play a role in who we are just like the moments and experiences. It just shows how awesome this world is. This Christmas season is an especially important time to remember the powerfulness of life and the importance of people placed in our paths.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, they do. Crazy to think about, isn’t it?

  9. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    The end of the year is a nice time to reflect about what has been and what is possible in the new year! Merry Christmas!

  10. Eileen้ปƒๆ„›็Žฒ

    That’s a great outlook, honestly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Deep

    Good to know the passport/visa row is now settled. Good to know you’re planning again. Good that you’ll out traveling again. Good luck.

  12. Brian

    Loved this so much! Doesn’t get any deeper, and I totally understand. I just finished reading The Alchemist 2 months ago and that definitely left an impression on me. I gave it to my dad and he read it in a few days then my mom did the same. There’s a lot more I can say, but I’ll stop. Thanks for confirming many of the thoughts I’ve kept to myself. I will probably express my thoughts on this too at some point. Even though we’ve never met Love & Respect.

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