I've shared a lot of stories with you readers here. You were there when a friend of mine was killed, when I had to say goodbye to a boyfriend, when I said hello to a new boyfriend, when I traveled, when I fought off alligators, and said hello to chipmunks. I rang in two New Years on this blog and a few Easters. You all know what my favorite shoe is and the person I kayak with the most; you know how hard it is for me to get up in the morning and why I do what I do. You know my struggles, my fears, and my loves. You know my friends have some of the weirdest last names and you know how important family is to me. You know where my cousin sleeps when he comes over to my house and what my version of a Go-Pro is called. You know a lot. However, there are a lot of memories that never made it to the blog. You'll never know about the time when six of us sat out on the water, crooning to Sam Smith; or the time a beach disappeared and Logan and I had a picnic on a patch of grass; or the first time I went and I got lost; or the time we got called out by the border patrol; some things are just for me, and I am sorry those stories will never be shared.
When I suggested to my mom that I quit the blog, she said, "Jillianne, you never finish anything. Everything you do is always so short-lived." That may be true. But right now, in my life, I'm in between a lot of things. I'm not the same person I was when I started this blog, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I have changed in a lot of ways, but I have kept a lot of my old habits at the same time. I am grateful for what this blog did for me; it gave me a creative outlet when I needed someone to talk to, gave me a God to believe in when I wanted it, and always made for an interesting ice breaker. It made it across 17 countries and was shared with over 6000 people - which is more than I ever would have dreamed. I just know I am starting to go in different directions and I want this blog to stay true to what it is supposed to be: dedicated to kayaking. And I just can't be that person right now. I don't think it was short lived... I think it served its purpose and was successful.
I am not saying this is goodbye forever, but it is for a while. Maybe I'll come back, and tell you the tales I never told. But maybe I won't. You'll still find me out there kayaking, but maybe not writing about it afterwards. If you see me paddling by, feel free to say hello, I'm not mean.
A year ago, my family had its second reunion. At the end of the night, we all went outside to light some Chinese lanterns and set them free into the night sky. I was so excited (I had seen them do it in the Hangover and had wanted to light one ever since), I grabbed mine and was ready to make my wish. It took a little longer than I had imagined. You have to hold the lantern for a few minutes while it fills up with hot air. The trick is to wait for it to start pulling away. You can't release it too early, because then it will just crash into the ground or do a barrel roll into the ocean. Once it is ready, it will let you know and you have to let go. So that night, I felt mine tug away from my fingers; so I said a prayer for Tricia and opened my hands. The momentum had built up, so that lantern soared into the sky as if it had someone to see. I watched as it became smaller and smaller and soon enough, it had become one of the stars.
That's what I am doing here: letting go of the blog because I can feel it tugging away. It can be a beacon for others. Know what you want and go and get it, stick with it and let it shape you, and then when it's done, let it go. Maybe I will see you all again, back on the yak. But if not, know that is okay. I am out there doing well, letting dreams shape me. But for now, this is me, saying goodbye.
Thank you for everything, I love you all,