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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

Road-trips, Lifetimes, and FOMO

I would never have expected a road trip to present itself as a metaphor for life. Incredibly, the cliff-side journey from Thimphu to Bumthang nudged me toward the precipice of existence and, hesitantly, I peered over the edge.

As we hurdled blindly around the corners of twisted roads I realized how little, even in this planned setting, we can anticipate about the future. In our narrow evasions of immovable rocks and equally stoic cattle I recognized the decisions and concessions necessary to survival. Through my window, the face of each person clearing landslides from the road came into view for a split second and I silently thanked these invaluable path-makers. Though strangers, they remind us of those who have been our own guides through stormy years and led us into the now.

Though incomparable to the expert dozing of the countless dogs we’ve seen across this country, we humans spend an impressive third of our lives asleep. I thought of this as our van barreled along crashing white waters and dzong-studded blue pine forests, sights more fantastical than the dreams of we snoozers inside. Struggling to keep my own eyes open, I wonder, What will make me happy? To live each step of the journey or to gather myself in hopes that when I burst through the doors marked ‘eventually’, the air will feel all the sweeter?