Last night I learned a new acronym – DMC. Now since TFA I’ve harbored a strong aversion to shortening words, seeing as deciphering them was like learning another language, but this one has endeared me. DMC: deep meaningful conversation. I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to identify phases in my travels: going out phases, solitary phases, hyper active phases, slowed down phases, reading phases, and writing phases. The transitions happen quite naturally when I listen to what my body and my mind are suggesting to me at that time. Yet, there is one phase whose pull is often stronger than the rest; it induces both a physical and emotional sense of need. This is the need to have DMC.

Considering I am spending the majority of time around strangers or recently acquired friends, you might see this as a difficult possibility. However, I have found myself engaging in more deep meaningful conversations and sharing more intimate details of my life and thoughts I have with people I’ve just met than I should probably admit. It’s as if I’m striving to test the boundaries of trust and challenge societal notions of closeness. In conversation with one travel companion the other night we discussed politics, our life and career aspirations, and our fears. The amount of raw honesty and vulnerability was extremely refreshing.

But I wonder why DMC has become so important to me lately that I will shy away from groups and open myself up in a much deeper way with people I don’t really know. I think that is the point–I don’t know them and they don’t know me, yet we are already inherently connected by the nature of the experience of traveling. Our viewpoints may be different, and believe me I have encountered a mixed bag of those, but our intentions are aligned in ways you don’t often find in every day conversation. So many people are out here trying to find themselves and they have many experiences on that journey to share; because it’s through sharing and listening that we are also learning about ourselves. In reflection over the past half year I did not come with the intention of a sole searching journey. I was pretty confident I knew who I was and what I wanted and I was just aiming to challenge myself and fulfill the pull of wanderlust. Yet the DMCs I have experienced have allowed me to realize and develop aspects of myself I didn’t know I needed to.

So here I am waiting anxiously for the person who knows me best in the world to come visit in a matter of weeks. I’m excited to share with my best friend everything I have learned and engage in countless hours of DMC. I’m curious to see if he recognizes me, not physically but emotionally and spiritually. This will mark the end of my time in South East Asia and the start of a new journey to Central And South America. Bring it on Max, let’s create some more amazing memories and ridiculous stories!